Patrick Wellens on Doing More with Less [Podcast]

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Post By: Adam Turteltaub

It’s not an easy time for compliance budgets. Never exactly padded, they are under pressure as organizations try to control costs during the pandemic era.

While management may feel as if compliance should be included in an across-the-board cut, not everyone agrees that is a good idea, including the US Department of Justice.

So how do you make the case to management not to reduce compliance investments?  Long-time compliance professional Patrick Wellens suggests reminding them that regulators expect adequate staffing of the compliance team, in good times and bad. In addition, the proliferation of digital and social platforms and collection of so much data may be increasing risks.  Outsourcing and the proliferation of new suppliers adds third-party complexity. And at the same time, various stakeholders are demanding more out of business, not less.

If all of that doesn’t work, and you do have to cut the budget, he advises to cut strategically. Determine what isn’t adding sufficient value and can be suspended.

To get more out of the budget, look at what activities can be shared with other departments and where shared services can help. Building common ground with other departments is a technique that is useful not just for this period but also for the long term.

Look, too, at the training budget. Some of it may not be relevant for the current time.  Also, look to inexpensive and effective alternatives, such as as sharing stories of incidents that occurred at the company. Also, consider regular nudges and ethical dilemmas to consider.

Then, looking to the future, when budgets begin to grow again, he advises not simply restoring what you had cut. Instead, he counsels beginning with investments that can improve effectiveness and address key risk areas.  In the second stage, look for efficiencies where you can optimize controls.

Listen in to learn more about how to do more with less.