Here’s a new motto for your compliance department: It’s in the reports, or it didn’t happen.
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: If you can’t provide evidence of your compliance program with the level of detail an auditor requires, it’s about as good as no program at all. But reporting isn’t just for auditors, attorneys, and others outside your organization. You need visibility into your program’s impact in order to make decisions. I’m talking about knowing the actual results of compliance, like how and when a consumer complaint or safety issue was handled, and who handled it.
Your organization could have the world’s greatest compliance program—automated task management, a fast and responsive consumer complaint process, trained and knowledgeable employees from top to bottom—but perhaps it only spits out reports in a tedious, near-unreadable CSV format, where the information you need is hidden among thousands of data cells.
When data-wrangling feels like torture, you may not run or analyze reports often. And so, while you might “know” deep down in your bones that your team is meeting its obligations—that things are better than they were last year, or six months ago—there’s no readily accessible evidence to back up your assumptions and feelings.
These feelings and assumptions represent gaps in your compliance program. Gaps are what gets overlooked: areas of non-compliance risk, or trends that indicate the compliance program needs improvement. And in a convoluted, breakneck regulatory environment, continual reporting is the only measure that ensures gaps don’t open up like sinkholes underneath Florida beachfront property.