Why CFOs Need to Spend More Time with the Compliance Department

May 3, 2016 Greg Miller

Let’s face it — compliancy isn’t what it used to be. With mounting pressure for companies to embrace innovative technologies to maintain competitive edge, the compliance landscape has become extraordinarily complex, and compliance leaders aren’t the only ones stressing about it. In a recent Robert Half Management Resources survey, more than 2,200 CFOs in the United States admitted that meeting regulatory compliance mandates is their second biggest stressor, right behind staying current with technology.

Confidential information is more susceptible to data breaches and hackers than ever before, and customers are demanding safer domains in which to conduct business. To answer that demand, new global regulations are rapidly emerging to increase cyber security. As a result, compliance leaders are navigating through an ever-changing environment where audits are more stressful, there’s more potential for compliance gaps, and certifications are crucial to building and maintaining reputation and customer trust. It’s become too convoluted to manage alone, and attestation and compliance service providers are becoming an essential part of preparing companies for audits and certifications like ISO and CSA STAR.

The problem is, compliance leaders don't always know how to illustrate the value of attestation and compliance services to CFOs.

The CFO’s Catch-22

A CFO’s ultimate goal is to help foster company growth through financial prosperity, but growth also means more responsibility. Today’s financial officers are stretched thin, and may be pushing back on compliance funding because they don’t fully understand what compliance leaders are up against.

Without proper insight, it’s nearly impossible for a CFO to weigh benefits against cost and, as it relates to compliance, this can pose a major problem for everyone involved, especially if an underqualified attestation and compliance service provider is hired as a cost-savings attempt.

For this reason, CFOs need to spend more time with their compliance department.

Part of the CFO’s job is to scrutinize every financial decision so that it contributes to increased revenue, decreased spending, and a robust bottom line. But It’s also important to seek out investment opportunities that offer the most value.

With attestation and compliance service providers, your company gets what it pays for. The value in hiring an attestation and compliance service provider is only realized when the company passes its audits and achieves key certifications. The more experienced the provider, the more likely this value will be reached.

Failure to reach these milestones means the investment is neither cost-effective nor valuable, and worse — the company could face legal repercussions or expensive fines for failing to adhere to regulations, not to mention the damage noncompliance can do to a company’s reputation and customer loyalty.

How CFOs Can Get More Involved

To boost understanding about compliance processes today, you must actively participate in projects related to compliance and information security. Talk with compliance leaders about their pain points and provide them an opportunity to discuss how attestation and compliance services may help. Ask questions and observe the compliance department more closely to better understand how compliance services will impact efficiency. Doing so will give you a better idea of why hiring a more experienced, all-service attestation and compliance provider is the wiser investment, and help you better understand your own part in helping the company prepare for an audit or certifications.

Audit Readiness

About the Author

Greg Miller

Greg Miller is a Principal at Schellman. Greg leads the HITRUST service line. Greg has more than 20 years of combined audit experience in both public accounting and private industry.

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