On Thursday 19 November, Fulcrum hosted a webinar with the Spanish Chamber of Commerce (SCC), exploring the compliance challenges faced by businesses in light of both the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit. In addition to general guidance, managing partner Pam Shearing was able to offer practical tips to help compliance professionals navigating the new compliance landscape. Here’s a round-up of the some of the key ground we covered during the webinar.
COVID-19 has presented new challenges for businesses in all sectors, forcing companies to continue to operate under heightened economic pressures in an ever changing regulatory landscape. In addition, companies are experiencing a climate of uncertainty as they prepare for the UK’s exit from the EU on 31 December 2020.
Together these factors have presented significant issues for compliance functions as they seek to manage and respond to the new and/or heightened risks that these events present for their businesses. Whilst adapting swiftly to new market conditions to safeguard business continuity, companies need to ensure that they maintain an ethical culture and strong compliance values throughout their business operations.
How can businesses ensure that compliance is not jeopardised?
The current climate presents an opportunity for companies to review the effectiveness of their existing communication methods, adapting their internal communications strategies to encompass a broader range of tools and adapting to new ways of working as company operations shift to remote working.
The use of video-conferencing technology means that compliance training can continue, albeit in a digital format, and can now reach a much larger audience than ‘in person’ training methods. It is, however, vital that organisations assess the impact that their training has on employees and how the information is received.
Tone from the top
Companies should work on delivering a robust ‘tone from the top’ compliance message, explicitly reinforcing the organisation’s culture and its compliance expectations from staff.
Culture and values
It is important that organisations ensure they maintain their moral compass, and do the right thing and adopt an ethical corporate culture, both now and in the future. Whilst there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating an ethical culture within a business, the current crisis offers a time for reflection, to consider an organisation’s corporate culture and, if needed, reset its moral compass.
Key takeaways from our session
- Conduct a compliance health check: the current climate emphasises the importance of undertaking a compliance health check of existing policies and procedures, ensuring these remain relevant to the current climate and, where necessary, are adapted to reflect new working practices, new risks, and new business operations.
- Update policies and training: companies may need to adapt their training program to focus on key risk areas and to reflect any changes in the company’s policies and procedures as a result of remote working practices.
- Monitor government announcements and guidance: companies must closely monitor new government guidance and regulations to ensure they remain up to date and aware of recent changes which may affect their business practices.
- Ensure appropriate due diligence is undertaken: given the impact COVID-19 has had on businesses generally, appropriate due diligence needs to be undertaken in respect of third parties and new business partners.
- Review communications with the business: at a time when the workforce is operating remotely, company communications may need to be adapted to reflect new working arrangements, but also to highlight the new risks faced by businesses at this time.
- Maintain ongoing monitoring and risk assessment: in an ever changing compliance landscape, it is important that companies ensure that they consistently monitor and assess their risk, and respond accordingly.
Successfully navigating the new compliance landscape is going to be vital for all businesses operating in 2020 and beyond. To see how Fulcrum might be able to help your business ensure its compliance protocols are robust enough for this new landscape, please email email@example.com.