A regulatory compliance audit is an assessment of a business's policies, procedures, and practices against an established set of legal requirements or industry best practices. You may be evaluating your telemarketing practices against requirements of the TCPA and other telemarketing laws, your marketing campaigns against UDAP regulations, or your privacy framework against new CCPA demands. You might also be assessing processes at a higher level by looking at your organization's compliance management system, and how compliance issues are managed within its operational structure.
The word "audit" might send you into a cold sweat, but rest assured, compliance audits are a good thing. This effort is your opportunity to identify any gaps in your business's compliance policies and procedures – and then correct them before they cause a problem that could cost your company both financially and in terms of reputation. A compliance audit is a chance for everyone in your organization to work with an experienced attorney to proactively align your practices with the law.
Here are four ways to make the most of your compliance audit:
1. Decide who's in charge.
Appoint someone from your organization to serve as "project manager" and drive the initiative through. This doesn't have to be someone from your legal department – project management skills are more valuable for this role than specific legal knowledge and will ensure the audit is completed in a timely and efficient way.
2. Create an open and honest environment for the process.
The outcome and learning from the audit are only as good as the information gathered during the effort. Employees must be willing to be honest about operational practices, record-keeping, and their challenges and frustrations in meeting consumer needs. Upper management should commit to – and communicate – that honesty is what's needed and desired, and that the audit is a "safe space" and there will be no retribution for pointing out things that aren't working well.
3. Follow the recommendations of the attorneys conducting the audit.
Creating a report that just sits on a shelf, or whose recommendations are not followed up with risk mitigation steps, defeats the purpose of doing a review and puts your organization at continued risk.
4. Choose your counsel wisely.
Make sure to work with attorneys who are deeply experienced in the area of law being reviewed and who can apply it to your unique situation.
Originally published July 22, 2021
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.