Some business owners fail to recognize the importance of establishing rules, regulations and company standards to ensure their employees are acting ethically and in compliance with the law. This oversight can lead to legal and financial trouble, and, in worst cases, the end of the business. In the wake of some serious scandals, modern companies are emphasizing compliance and ethics, putting corporate compliance officers in high demand.
Corporate compliance officers help facilitate best business practices, minimizing risk and providing their co-workers with the safest work environment possible. It’s an ongoing job that requires constant maintenance, not only to establish rules and regulations, but to ensure that employees are aware of and adhering to them at all times. Individuals interested in preparing for this kind of role should consider earning an advanced degree in safety, security and emergency management.
What Does a Corporate Compliance Officer Do?
A corporate compliance officer’s role can be broken down into three categories:
- Policy and procedure
Policy and Procedure
Corporate compliance officers establish company policies in line with state and federal regulations and industry regulatory rules and guidelines. To ensure employees (and the business) are routinely in compliance requires regular staff training and education. Laws and regulations change, so not only do corporate compliance officers need to maintain current standards, they also must refine and revisit existing standards as the business and legal landscapes develop.
To ensure policies and standards are working as they should, corporate compliance officers need to regularly assess how their procedures are performing. Measured and complete evaluations are essential in verifying compliance throughout the company. C-suite executives will require frequent and detailed reports to ensure the company remains in compliance while also tracking the effectiveness of existing compliance strategies.
Ideally, following preventive practices means that violations won’t occur. But when they do, corporate compliance officers step in to evaluate the scenarios and provide insight and guidance on how to best manage them.
Corporate Compliance Officer Salary
The approximate median annual salary for corporate compliance officers as of May 2022 was $71,200, according to Payscale. Of course, an individual’s actual salary will reflect their experience, educational level and geographic location.
Base salaries range from $45,000 to $117,000, and many companies offer commissions or profit-sharing. Chief compliance officers (CCOs) at the executive level had a median salary of around $122, 800, according to May 2022 Payscale data..
The Skills of a Corporate Compliance Officer
To succeed as a corporate compliance officer, a few key skills and qualities are essential.
As someone who regularly assesses the ethics of others, a corporate compliance officer is expected to have unwavering integrity and moral principles.
Corporate compliance officers may be expected to communicate policies clearly and effectively, and to regularly address and discuss concerns with leadership, which means they need to work well with others cross-functionally. Establishing honest relationships with employees can promote compliance as well, as it helps employees feel comfortable bringing up questions and concerns without fear of being reprimanded.
Critical thinking skills are essential. Nuances in rules and policies are inevitable, and corporate compliance officers should be able to approach them with logic and clarity. Using facts and a strong point of view to interpret and analyze data builds confidence in the role and provides a strong foundation for any necessary investigations.
Working in compliance requires continuing to stay abreast of changes to regulations and best practices. Consider the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic imposed across industries. Compliance officers had to monitor regulations as they evolved, guiding how businesses responded to a web of city, state and federal guidelines.
Beyond reacting to global events, corporate compliance officers must keep up with industry-specific rules and regulations. This means regularly checking government announcements regarding changing standards, monitoring industry organization updates and attending training sessions and conferences. Many compliance positions also require occasional certification courses related to new policies or outdated certifications.
Certifications for Careers in Compliance
Certifications give compliance officers expertise specific to their industry and demonstrate mastery in certain areas. These are among the in-demand certifications currently available to corporate compliance professionals. Many require extensive experience and education in a specialized field.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
This globally recognized certification is for information technology professionals who are looking to demonstrate their experience and competence in information security. This would be useful for someone interested in becoming a director of cybersecurity or a network architect.
Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM)
Banks and financial institutions must abide by a number of laws and regulations, and CRCMs make sure that they do. This is the most widely recognized compliance certificate for financial institutions.
Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC)
Compliance officers in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and other healthcare facilities may pursue this certification that focuses on the legal obligations and integrity of the healthcare industry.
Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP)
A much broader certification, the CCEP is relevant across a variety of industries and is typically used to further establish the integrity of a corporation and those running their compliance programs across the entire organization.
Oversee a Safe, Sound Environment
Corporate compliance is essential for any company. It allows businesses to run smoothly and avoid damaging risks. It mitigates the potential for harm from many different angles. By proactively creating standards, policies and procedures, and consistently refining them with any updates to relevant laws, rules and regulations, businesses can create safe and compliant work environments for all involved.
The corporate compliance officer salary is competitive, the role serves a unique purpose and the field offers the potential for career advancement in a variety of industries. Eastern Kentucky University’s online Master of Science in Safety, Security and Emergency Management program offers a concentration in corporate security operations to help individuals develop the leadership and analysis skills to protect organizations in any industry.
Discover more about the pathway to becoming a corporate compliance officer through EKU’s online Master of Science in Safety, Security and Emergency Management degree.