In KPMG’s Ten Key Regulatory Challenges of 2019, new technology trends around data and cybersecurity ranked among the top concerns for CCOs this year. However, despite all the new technology, there was one constant that remained from previous years. This was the challenges CCOs face when it comes to managing broad definition of risk, evolving frameworks, and governance expectations – including certifications. This should be no surprise to anyone, as achieving constant adherence to regulator and internal certification requirements becomes an increasingly daunting challenge given the growing number of policies, employees, consultants, vendors, clients and business lines. However, the good news is that best practices exist and by leveraging the right technology platforms, compliance departments can get a handle on the certification process.
A technology solution administering certifications should include three key areas to enable compliance to perform certification best practices. These capabilities are as follows:
- Document formatting: Certifications such as Codes of Ethics/Conduct often require a document style format, in which the policy can be easily read and accepted by the employee. Technology solutions that offer text-based formatting so that policies can be delivered, read and certified via a policy document format are key for these types of certifications.
- Data-driven approach: Data is a critical element of any certification process – for example, the need to gather data so that any specific information disclosed by the employee can be certified. Often times, this data exists in a disparate state across many different files or formats. As a result, CCOs rarely have a good way to report on certification data – let alone use data to track and report on employees. A technology solution that consolidates, organizes and reports on such data enables CCOs to get a true view of what is happening in their organization.
- Question/Answer functionality: For some certifications, employees must be able to answer questions to demonstrate knowledge of organizational requirements. Tracking responses to such questions is key in identifying risk and/or tracking employee behaviors. In this case, having a technology solution that can very easily format and create questions enables CCOs to easily gather this information and readily produce responses for key certification areas.
In addition to the core capabilities offered by a technology solution for certifications, CCOs must also ask themselves, the “who, where, when and how” of certifications to ensure an effective compliance program. When looking to improve your certification process, consider:
- When – do you know the frequency of all the certifications you must run?
- Who and Where – do you know the employee groups by department, function and/or geography that a certification must travel? Do you have a good handle on certification workflows?
- How – can you demonstrate the strength of your certification audit trail with third parties (SEC, FSA, Internal Audit and Investors)? What will you use to do this?
No matter the organization size or scope of regulatory mandate, the advantages of standardizing certification workflows with technology and asking key questions of your current process are increasingly clear. Cost efficiency and risk reduction are immediate and obvious benefits. Additionally, leveraging market-leading best practices will position compliance teams for long-term success.
For a deeper dive on the best practices of the certification process, download our whitepaper: Are you Certifiable? Stress Free Compliance using Technology driven Certifications & Attestations.