The plethora of laws, regulations, standards and ethical practices impacting our businesses is a minefield. The average cost of business compliance worldwide is $5.47 million. With companies having to conduct several compliance audits a year, this figure comes as little surprise.
This is why you need compliance software to help you.
Compliance software is a program, technology, or tool used to continually track, monitor, and audit your business processes. By doing this, you can decipher whether you’re meeting the compliance standards relevant to your business.
In this Fat Finger article, you’ll learn what business compliance is and why it matters, before learning about our top 6 compliance software tools for ultimate compliance management.
- What is business compliance and why does it matter?
- Compliance software as compliance audit software
- Our top 6 tools to complete your compliance software stack
Let’s get started!
What is business compliance and why does it matter?
Compliance is the ability to act according to the laws, regulations, standards, and ethical practices applicable to your business. An example would be preparing financial reports in line with standard accounting procedures. To understand what standards apply to your business, you need to consider the following elements:
- Whether you’re a public or private company.
- The sector you operate in (SaaS, healthcare, etc).
- The types of roles you employ within (marketers, managerial roles, designers, etc).
- Local laws and regulations.
- Whether you retain and use private data.
- Whether your take only local or international customers.
Once you’ve identified the applicable standards, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do the standards reflect the behavior your company wants to address?
- Will the standards benefit certain job roles in your business? If yes, in what way?
- Will your employees be able to apply what they have learned in their line of work?
- Are the standards chosen unique to your business industry?
- How will non-compliance affect your business or company?
Asking these questions will ensure the standards chosen are suitable for your organization, plus your responses given will help you strategize for compliance.
Understand why compliance matters
The main purpose of compliance is to keep businesses running smoothly and responsibly. More specifically, business compliance:
- Avoids legal liabilities: Non-compliance will damage your business credibility and reputation. This is concerning when customer trust and loyalty are of paramount importance for success especially in our digital world. Non-compliance could lead to major legal disputes and criminal charges.
- Improves employee productivity: Compliance creates strong business standards. This orchestrates a positive working environment and a healthy culture. Employees want a workplace where they feel secured and taken care of. Create this working environment with a clear model ensuring employee and client fairness and safety.
- Saves money: In 2017, Ponemon Institute LLC reported regular compliance audits saved businesses $2.86 million on average. Conducting regular audits, and investing in other cost-saving practices such as corporate training programs; in-house legal experts; integration of security and privacy functions, and having a fully functional incident response process were named the top cost-saving activities.
Compliance failure example: Titan Metals
To understand the importance of compliance, let’s consider what happens in its absence. In 2019, the company Titan Metals Corporate failed to comply with antidumping orders and faced a court case as a result.
An anti-dumping duty is a protectionist tariff that the U.S. government imposes on foreign imports believed to be priced below the fair market value.
Titan Metals did not typically import into the United States. However, in this one instance, the business imported stainless steel flanges from India without claiming antidumping duties on the entry to customs.
However, the Washington D.C., U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) determined the goods were subject to the antidumping order. In reaction, Titan Metals changed their story and stated the flanges were “American Goods Returned”. However, Titan Metals failed to provide the needed documentation to prove this claim to the CBP.
In 2019, the U.S. State found Titan Metals to be guilty of the following:
- There wasn’t the necessary documentation or evidence that the goods were in fact “American Goods Returned”.
- Titan Metals committed a negligent violation of U.S. code 1592 (penalties for fraud, gross negligence, and negligence). As a result the company owed the government $283,969.97 in penalties and $146,368.64 in antidumping duties.
A solid record-keeping program could have proved compliance and that the goods were American Goods Returned. A failure to comply, and failure to give evidence of possible legal compliance were costly mistakes for Titan Metals.
Compliance software as compliance audit software
A compliance audit is a review performed to ascertain an enterprise’s adherence to regulatory guidelines. These audits evaluate the strength and comprehensiveness of an organization’s compliance preparations, security policies, user access controls, and risk management procedures.
You need your compliance software to store audit requirements, and then assess your business operations and processes against these requirements. Common audit requirements U.S. companies have to deal with are as follows:
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): GDPR standards protect customer data in the EU, to be used by all companies with operations in the EU.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA): HIPAA standards are used to protect the health information (PHI) of clients.
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO): ISO standards are different from the above in that they represent an entire family of checks. These checks go from quality management to environmental management and financial compliance.
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS): You need to comply with PCI DSS standards when processing payment cards.
- The Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act: SOX focuses on regulating the financial practices of public companies, how they are governed, and the accountability that executives must take.
- SOC 2: SOC 2 is another set of data security compliance standards for those who use the cloud to store customer data (especially technology companies).
Going into depth over the requirements for every compliance audit out there is way beyond the scope of this article. It’s important to look up the requirements applicable to your business to then use compliance software to rigorously enforce those requirements.
Our top 6 tools to complete your compliance software stack
To help you find the compliance software to meet your business needs, we’ve compiled a list of our top 6 compliance software tools. These tools have been carefully selected to meet a broad range of compliance needs, to help you conduct compliant audits, and for effective compliance management.
Note that you’ll likely have to use more than one of these tools to meet your business compliance needs, as the specialty of each tool is unique. The different tools chosen are however complementary to each other, and using a selection will deliver optimal compliance support.
Tool #1: Qualityze
Qualiyze is a quality management solution designed to empower businesses towards quality optimization. This is done by designing modules such as business audit management, compliance management, change management, and document management.
Qualityze training modules help corporates build the knowledge and competence within their workforce for better managerial team control and compliance.
Price: Pricing starts at $20/user/month. A free trial is available.
Tool #2: Resolver
Resolver is a tool used in manufacturing, hospitality, high tech, and retail. It’s an investigative software that determines the outcome of a given business action. This is done via root cause analysis to determine failure controls and compliance breaches.
Resolver can be used in the early planning stages of risk identification, when the project objectives and regulatory requirements are still in the making.
Price: Price starts at $10,000.00 per month. No free version. No free trial.
Tool #3: StandardFusion
StandardFusion offers risk and compliance management for tech-focused small to mid-sized businesses. The application offers a single platform to record everything compliance and risk-related for your business.
StandardFusion helps organizations manage compliance for multiple standards including ISO and SOC. Tracking and monitoring identify when policies are not being followed. The software helps users monitor, document, map, test, and run audit control reports.
Price: $750.00/month. No free version. Free trial available.
Tool #4: Diligent Entities
Diligent Entities helps organizations centralize, manage, and effectively structure their corporate data to ensure compliance. The software acts as the sole source of truth for corporate records.
Diligent Entities is designed to integrate multiple business units such as tax, legal, finance, and compliance, to provide a single system of record. This information can be accessed at any time to report on governance and compliance requirements and electronically file statutory forms for global regulatory bodies.
Price: Starting from $15,000.00/year via subscription. No free trial available.
Tool #5: Fat Finger
Having some kind of business process documentation software is essential, to offer transparency and test business compliance. This helps you keep track of what standards business operations currently meet and how successful improvements are.
As we saw with Titan Metals, failure to provide the required documentation can result in fines. It’s therefore important to use compliance software that allows you to track, record, and securely store the information needed to prove compliance. You can do that with Fat Finger.
Fat Finger also allows you to create audit processes to conduct internal compliance checks. Use Fat Finger’s no-code application building platform to document your audit processes, and run these processes every time you need to conduct an audit check. Why not check out Fat Finger’s library containing pre-made compliance procedures to help you get started.
Price: Starting from $8.00 a month. Free version available. Free trial available.
Tool #6: Libryo
Libryo is an automated, cloud-based platform, inspired to help organizations know the laws applicable to their business, in every jurisdiction. Libryo makes it easy to know the law by filtering, configuring, and tracking site-specific legal registers, enabling people to quickly navigate regularity complexity with clarity and certainty.
Libryo offers a legal register that provides real-time updates on all laws and legislation to support company compliance. Training is also provided for a proactive compliance approach.
Price: Cost varies according to the complexities of operations and jurisdictions. No free version available. A free trial is available.
Use your compliance software stack to consistency and efficiently maintain business compliance
Non-compliance is non-excusable. It can damage business reputation, cause significant productivity losses, cost money and result in legal liabilities.
Compliance software is designed with you in mind. Understanding and meeting the compliance needs of your business can be an arduous task, but with compliance software, that task is made easier.
To top 6 tools given in this article will help to ensure you securely maintain compliance documentation and keep up-to-date with your compliance needs.