Chief compliance officers are responsible for the finances and operations within their company. Whenever a department or division undertakes a new initiative requiring executive budget approval, the chief compliance officer must make a decision on whether to grant that permission. Chief compliance officers are also responsible for ensuring that operations within the company adhere to all applicable rules, regulations, policies, and laws. For example, chief compliance officers must ensure that procedures within their company's manufacturing plants are in line with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety standards.
A number of specific duties correspond to these broad roles. For example, chief compliance officers develop and revise all company policies and standards to outline ethical, safe, and efficient procedures. They review and revise companies’ codes of personal conduct. If there are any compliance issues, they work with the appropriate groups (such as employee services or risk management) to investigate and act upon findings. They also act as independent reviewers to investigate employee allegations of company misconduct. Chief compliance officers must constantly work to find and resolve areas of compliance risk. They also act as an informational resource regarding all of these activities for members of the board, other executives, and senior management.
At minimum, chief compliance officers hold bachelor’s degrees in business; far more commonly, they hold either master’s or doctoral degrees in auditing, regulatory affairs, accounting, or a related field. Many hold certifications as either a certified public accountant (CPA) or a certified internal auditor. Chief compliance officers generally work full time in an office environment, with frequent overtime at the end of accounting or reporting periods.
Chief Compliance Officer Tasks
- Conduct or direct the internal investigation of compliance issues.
- Oversee and monitor activities for compliance with company, state and federal regulations.
- Assess product, compliance, or operational risks and develop risk management strategies.
- Conduct periodic internal reviews or audits to ensure that compliance procedures are followed.