Compliance management is nothing without digital measures to enforce regulations and reinforce policy. The compliance management software you choose can be so foundational to your procedures that you forget it’s there, or it can be a disaster that causes violations. Which is why finding the best regulatory management software is imperative. A system that not only helps you mind industry regulations but also facilitates other aspects of your business and document lifecycles.
How can an industry regulation violation occur?
Safety is obviously the first word that comes to mind. Security. Health. Anything that could potentially endanger employees or vendors – or otherwise open them up to risk. These conditions of day-to-day work will be closely monitored by OSHA, SHRM, DOL, and other organizations. The paperwork may be folded into HR responsibilities, floor manager duties, or be covered by entire department. Perhaps all of the above. Safety violations are the most serious – one bad accident caused by negligence could shut down an entire company. So guaranteeing a safe work environment and safe products or services is a full-time procedure running alongside others.
Speaking of HR and employee management, there are key laws in place concerning the handling employee recruiting and hiring, distribution of benefits and discipline, and mediating complaints. A safe work environment and business environment isn’t just about forklift training and hard hats. It involves following union agreements and working with reps, reviewing internal communications for discriminatory language, honoring contracts with employees and freelancers, and following regulations from the Department of Labor. Human Resources knows paperwork better than almost any other department. A paper trail of regular tasks and diligent followups is the minimum. If steps are missed in onboarding or a complaint isn’t taken seriously, this could cause repercussions for the company and many of its employees or senior management.
Whether you’re manufacturing a product or providing a service, regulations cover your processes of creation and delivery, how your services are administered, how your products affect customers, and even how you market and advertise. Some of these regulatory bodies are industry-specific, but others have national or even global jurisdiction over every conceivable industry.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission can fine businesses if their goods cause injury or illness. The Department of Public Health will inspect service industry and hospitality institutions, while the Federal Trade Commission covers consumer protections and anti-competitive practices. A variety of agencies regulate shipping and logistics, from the Federal Maritime Commission to the Department of Transportation. Even more than product safety and employee wellbeing, employers and owners have to be careful that general business conduct is up to countless standards.
Where your files and processes are concerned, all of these agencies and more will examine your affairs with a fine-toothed comb. Data privacy laws like GDPR and the CCPA are gaining popularity worldwide. In addition to operating in these markets, companies should already be planning to accommodate legislation on the horizon. In addition to customer records, financial documents must be carefully managed to avoid or ease an IRS audit, and internal communications merging with marketing could require dealing with the FTC.
Compliance Control and Compliance Automation
By now you should be familiar with the layered web of agencies and laws every business must contend with. Most departments’ requirements bleed together, and some have to abide by seemingly every rule in the book. And Compliance management solutions were made for this exact problem.
Indexing and Advanced Search, Running Reports, and a Comprehensive Audit Trail
You need a record of who accessed your records. When, what they changed, and perhaps notes as to why. This digital paper trail will ensure that regulators examining your organization’s files can see the whole picture, especially when accompanied by metadata from required index fields – all customizable by document type. You can run reports on the state of your documents and workflows, both for your internal use and as an initial step for any inspection.
Security for Documents in Transit and At Rest
The first thing many agents will review is whether a security breech took place and whether your files are compromised as a result. Imagine not having to worry about that. Regulatory management software can safeguard your files from external threats such as hackers and malware. Encryption that protects documents even when they’re being sent between departments makes meeting GDPR and other data integrity standards easy. Even when you share a file outside of your organization, you’re not risking a violation if it never leaves the system – with a secure link, your third-party colleague has access but on your terms.
Internal file security and patient records protection
Data integrity may start with a tall wall around your server room, but it ends with your own work force. You want to prevent leaks and corporate espionage for your own sake, but you also want to comply with patient records and confidentiality rules such as HIPAA. With the right Compliance Control software, your administrators can give each employee a role that comes with a set of permissions. Access is granted by folder or by document. And of course, you can also use digital redactions when a file needs to be viewed by select employees who also shouldn’t have access to sensitive sub-sections. Redactions can be password protected and revealed by the right users as needed.
Approval process management for regulating your workflows
Once you have set up your compliance management system, you can also set up digital workflows with a drag-and-drop creator, all based on your existing filing and business processes. Send files to your colleagues for review or to your directors and C-suite for approval. You can collaborate over compliance forms that need to be amended and signed off on by multiple department heads. Or you can submit and document donations, gifts, trade deals, and other potential conflicts of interest for when, for instance, the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating insider trading. Whenever you assign a task in a workflow to someone, it goes in their to-do list. Set up reminder notifications for your employees to complete tasks, especially those related to compliance documents.
Document lifecycle management through file retention policies
Many compliance automation solutions will allow you to create retention policies. After a compliance form, employee paperwork, or finance report has been processed and archived, that document type will trigger a cycle of notifications when it is due to be revisited, renewed, replaced, or purged from the system. These notifications will be sent via email to the users with the authority to take these next steps. Given how much of business regulation comes down to filing your forms in time, automating the task is a no-brainer.
Organizing your files while staying in compliance with regulations
Beyond meeting these requirements, a comprehensive solution will streamline every aspect of your business. An enterprise compliance management solution like Contentverse has more features than we could list here and still knocks regulatory compliance management out of the park. You don’t want to waste time juggling several products and then adding a compliance solution on top of that. Why not try a one-stop shop?
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