Outsourcing allows you and your team to focus on other areas of your business while leaving compliance management to a third party, but it doesn’t get you off the hook. You still have to ensure that a provider is capable of keeping your business in compliance, has the information it needs and is doing its job.
Address compliance issues when you begin talks with providers and consultants. Ideally, you’ve already done some research and have an understanding of the standards that affect your industry. When meeting with a supplier, ask about compliance management:
• How many people are on its compliance team? What is their background and experience?
• How does the team monitor legal and industry changes?
• What will the third party team need from your organization?
Ultimately, you want to partner with a business whose specialists have industry expertise and who understand compliance processes. You’ll also want to work with an organization that takes an active approach to monitoring standards. This means subscribing to proprietary legislative monitoring and news databases.
Compliance personnel should also have relationships with regulators and industry leaders. These relationships are often established through face-to-face contact at industry events. If the provider has no travel budget for its team, you may wish to look elsewhere.
Speak frankly with the provider about what it will need from your organization. This is particularly true if you’re working with multiple providers who need to be able to exchange information. You may need to appoint a team member to act as compliance point person.
Outsourcing certainly isn’t for every business and can be risky. Still, it is an option worth considering, particularly if you are a startup or entering a growth spurt. Open communication with providers and consultants about your needs are crucial to developing a strong relationship with a third-party provider.
Lainie Petersen worked in compliance at Kaplan Publishing, a subsidiary of The Washington Post, for five years. Petersen has a master’s degree in library and research from Dominican University. She curates 8th & Walton’s Walmart News Now and Top 8 newsletter.