National Compliance Officer Day: Celebrating a Growing Career
Compliance is a burgeoning field, and it continues to grow rapidly as companies realize the importance of engaging in corporate social responsibility business ethics. To honor the all-important role that compliance officers play in keeping organizations on the straight and narrow, September 26 has been designated as the second annual National Compliance Officer Day.
What Does a Compliance Officer Do?
Deborah Sementa is a New England College of Business instructor and the interim chair of the program for business ethics and compliance. She also worked as a compliance officer for 17 years at a community bank. According to Sementa, a compliance officer often fills the role of a messenger, informing people what steps are necessary to stay within the boundaries of the law.
“They actually are the eyes and ears of the organization, to make sure that the company is compliant with the laws and regulations,” she says.
Sementa says the first thing a compliance officer should do is develop a risk assessment of where the most risks in the organization are. Once those risks have been identified, they should then develop programs to mitigate those risks. They should also be providing ongoing training to the employees of their company, encouraging ethical behavior and informing management of the steps they need to take to remain compliant.
Why Are Compliance Officers Important?
Every industry, including banking, aviation and tax, is regulated. Each of these requires a compliance officer to guide the company in ethical behavior.
“First and foremost, we need to abide by regulations and law,” says Sementa.
Sementa also believes it is important for compliance officers to form alliances with their regulators. She stresses that it’s important to have that bridge so that if an issue ever arises, there is an open line of communication.
What Makes Someone a Good Compliance Officer?
To be an effective compliance officer, Sementa says it’s important to understand human qualities. Compliance officers are tasked with influencing people to do the right thing, and to do this, they must understand how to handle people who may not be inclined to listen to them.
Compliance officers should also know how to train others, how to advise employees and how to raise awareness. And, of course, they must be ethical.
An Online Master’s Degree in Business Ethics and Compliance
To gain other skills and knowledge that are essential to being a good compliance officer, Sementa recommends enrolling in NECB’s online Master’s degree in Business Ethics and Compliance (MBEC) program.
“You have to like the law,” Sementa says. “You don’t have to be an attorney, but you should basically have a knowledge of the law, which you will learn in the MBEC.”
She lists the things students learn when they receive their business compliance degree: risk management, corporate social responsibility for organizations, compliance, and awareness of regulators and their expectations, for starters.
Sementa continues: “Through the program, a student will learn the basics and beyond of how important it is to be a compliance officer within an organization to help that organization follow the right path.”
If there is one thing Sementa wants to stress about the position of compliance officer, it’s that the position is only increasing in importance.
“It’s not going away anytime soon,” she says, “It’s just going to develop more and more as regulations are implemented.”
To learn more about NECB’s online Master’s in Business Ethics and Compliance, speak to an admissions representative today.