These days there are so many rules and regulations to comply to, you’d be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed with it all. From time to time we can all be left wondering quite what it’s all about, is it really worth all this effort, feeling like we’re being made to jump through hoops, ensuring all our data is spot on and that we can account for every action we take. The paperwork mounts up, just keeping up to date with the latest regulations can be a job in itself, when all we want to do is get on with what we’re good at, running our business.
Compliance also comes at a financial cost, the larger your business, often the greater the cost. However, the true costs of not putting your all into compliance, are far greater than any monetary bill!
The true cost of compliance (are):
Failing an audit
Firstly, not having your business in order, not having accountability when you need it, can result in a massive fine, or even a lengthy prison sentence. It simply isn’t worth it.
While audits may all seem like red tape, set up by the government to make your life more difficult, it really does make sense to be accountable, to have all your data correct so you can rely on it, and basically, know exactly what is going on in your own business.
Regulatory audits often happen when you are least prepared for it. Doing your preparations at the last moment before the audit is never a good idea. Companies invest a great deal of effort to be ready for the time the audit will happen. The consequences of failing audits are severe. You may get a hefty fine or incur restrictions on your operation and business. For many businesses this will be the make or break of their business.
To be prepared means you always have the processes and data to support your operations and conduct at any given point, you constantly monitor and improve it as part of your day to day practice.
Having this information to hand will reward your business massively. If you can’t trust your data, how can you make any decisions about where to take your business in the future? If something goes wrong, you need to be able to track down the problem, find out where and how it started, so you can prevent it from happening again. Duplicate data and lost data costs companies money and business every day.
Bad data means misinformation. Put this out into the public domain and you’ll soon lose the trust of your customers. Companies that don’t follow regulations and have a compliance practice in place often lose customers, they have a great business, and process to gain new customers but after that point they just stop thinking about existing customers, how they treat them, how much they care about data privacy issues, handling complaints and generally being open about their conduct. This leads to a good proportion of customers leaving and looking for another provider for the same service, in today’s world there is not much leeway for mistreating customers and getting away with it. As consumers we simply have too much choice and we know our rights.
Following regulations forces us to have a closer look into our processes and find all the different places we might fail or can improve our customer service.
Losing your reputation
The saying ‘All publicity is good publicity’ certainly doesn’t apply when you’re running a business! No one wants to be on the news for a bad reason, there is no reason to hurt your business by achieving bad publicity, it will only result in a loss of reputation. If you hear something bad about a company that failed an audit or their internal affairs are out of order you will be less likely to engage in business with them or to buy any services/products from them. In short, you lose trust in them. For many businesses, reputation is all they have to separate them from the rest of the market, everything else being equal. Losing reputation is a very difficult challenge to overcome and probably sees the beginning of the end. Being compliant will mean we can achieve a perfect reputation and maintain it moving forward.
So it’s time to stop seeing compliance as a necessary evil, and see it as a tool to push your business forward, doing things the right way, so you build trust and reliability into the foundations of your company.