When you are wrapped up in the here and now, tackling questions like how your business will emerge from the pandemic, it's easy to view compliance as red tape that gets in the way of your recovery.

Yet these issues can't be ignored, even in unusual times, with compliance laying the necessary foundations for a successful recovery. For most of our clients, the show must go on: this crisis will form part of the history of the company and when the fog clears and the regulators review what went on, all companies will have to show how they responded and why.

Embedding compliance from the start goes a long way to mitigating risk and setting your organisation on the right course. Done right, it offers a protective coating, shielding the business while allowing it to forge ahead and expand into new markets as and when the time is right.

An enabling force

Understanding the rules and regulations and how these have evolved during the pandemic is key. Getting to grips with underlying principles will help instil a culture of compliance throughout your organisation and an appreciation of what can be achieved.

On the flip side, getting compliance wrong can have huge consequences. Impatient to recover and get plans back on track, companies may be tempted to overcome perceived compliance hurdles by cutting corners to rush things through. Remember, it is the authorities that lay down compliance requirements and substantially dictate the schedule.

Businesses will quite reasonably want to see how far they can deploy existing resources in setting up and managing a new entity. However, simply assuming these will fit the new venture could be a recipe for disaster. Fines might be digested but losing a licence to do business could well mean shutting up shop. Reputational damage in the eyes of business associates, employees and the authorities would be serious, if unquantifiable.   

Call in the experts

The COVID-19 pandemic and recovery has left few jurisdictions unscathed. Those that looked attractive before may now appear unappealing, too tricky or bureaucratic to enter. However, this might be a perception stemming from a lack of understanding or local knowledge.

Bringing in outside providers to fill these gaps may be an added cost, but without their input the consequences could prove massive: For example, delays, unnecessary expenditure and regulatory hold ups.

Choosing to work with multiple partners may result in an inadequate focus on the wider, global picture. They are unlikely to provide a sufficiently coordinated overview of what's needed. There must be consistency and governance across all jurisdictions in which external resources are deployed to ensure nothing slips through the net.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.