The 4 Compliance Trends That Could Shape Your Career


By Valerie Charles
Chief Strategy Officer, GAN

How often do you think strategically about your personal career growth?

As a compliance officer, the answer might be less than you would like. It’s not uncommon to be inundated with manual processes, administrative work, and potential risks or concerns within your company. These activities should take priority over a career planning session; however, taking the time to think deliberately about how to obtain the next role is immensely valuable. Since burning the candle at both ends does not usually lead to a win-win situation, we are stepping up to do the research for you.

Here are four trends that are impacting the current and future state of the compliance industry. While trends can be perceived as ‘nice to know’ information, each trend provides a career opportunity for you as a compliance professional. If you were looking for inspiration as you consider career options and goals, consider this our collective brainstorming session.

4 Compliance Trends That Could Shape Your Career

1.   Due Diligence Needs More Attention

Third parties continue to pose a major threat to almost all types of organizations. In fact, 90% of reported FCPA cases in the United States involve third parties,  but not all organizations are leveraging automation platforms to manage third-party risks. This highlights a huge opportunity if your organization is not yet automating aspects of due diligence.

The number of third parties that organizations work with varies drastically from a small handful to hundreds of thousands. If you have more than a couple hundred third parties, the inefficiencies of manual due diligence quickly become clear. Running initial screenings becomes time-consuming and on-going monitoring and reporting often goes unaddressed without the right tool in place.

Compliance programs should be proactively addressing this issue. If you do not already have a risk-based third-party plan in place, spearheading this effort could be a game changer for your career and your organization. The best way to kick start this initiative? Identify a due diligence technology provider you trust and partner with them to begin understanding and monitoring your entire third party population.

2.   Global Expansion and M&A Causes Compliance Prioritization

Major changes in your company present ideal moments for you and your compliance teammates to shine. Two organizational changes that do this particularly well are global expansion and M&A. Since change is already expected, it is not disruptive to piggyback off these moments.

If your company is involved in an M&A transaction, these circumstances present an opportunity. Not only will the compliance team need to evaluate all risks of the newly combined or acquired company but the compliances teams will also need to come together to form a new, stronger team. Additionally, all pre-acquisition due diligence efforts including the background checks on key executives, the adverse media reports, the assessment questionnaires, the audits or transactional testing and more are always going to be vital to M&A deals.

Businesses are also continuing to expand and enter new markets. For global expansion, entering into a new market will always deeply involve the compliance team. Understanding the risks associated with entering the new market and taking the necessary steps to comply with regulations are along a few of the projects the compliance team will need to tackle.

If your company is expanding into a new market or going through a merger or acquisition, take a step back and consider what opportunities this presents for you and your team to grow. Leveraging these moments to present new policies and trainings and reevaluate third-party risk and vetting processes are all welcome ideas.

3.   The Import of Compliance Function is on the Rise

The transition from the compliance function being viewed as a reactive department to a proactive business partner has begun. What are you doing to elevate compliance’s profile within your organization? If the answer is not much, this can be a great area to focus on in order to drive major impact. Elevating compliance means the board, executives, other departments, and employees are aware of the important work compliance is doing and, here’s the kicker, respect that work.

For a tactical guide into implementing these changes in your organization, it might be worth giving A Step-By-Step Guide to Elevating Compliance a read. The eBook dives into everything from identifying ideal times to elevate your program to preparing for the hurdles you might face along the way. The good news: working to elevate compliance at your company will have a ripple effect across everything the compliance team does.

4.   Technology is a Need to Have

Compliance teams are always striving to do more with less. In order to make a compliance program scale efficiently, the right technology has to be in place to support processes. An important factor to note when discussing automation is that not everything in your program should be automated. There are still certain processes (i.e. managing high risk third parties and investigating cases) that should absolutely still be done by a human, specifically a seasoned compliance professional. Good candidates for automation are the administrative, complex, repetitive, and time-consuming processes that take you away strategic thinking about your program. Don’t fear losing control of your program upon implementing automation. In fact, the opposite will happen. You will actually gain control of your program because now you will have a better view the entire processes rather than getting caught up in the minute details. Plus, automated reporting and analytics mean you can focus on the big picture.

Another reason to implement supporting technology today, is so you are ready for the applications of tomorrow. Future applications of compliance technology including, but not limited to artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, etc. are all powered from centralized data sets. Without having all your compliance data in one place, it becomes impossible to begin implementing any of these technologies. Many of the future applications of compliance technology will rely on getting your data in one place today. If you are not already on the path to make this happen, data centralization is a worthwhile task that will prepare you for the future and make reporting more powerful than ever before.

The Bottom Line

There is a massive opportunity for growth in compliance right now. If you are a compliance officer, now is the time to own and execute a project that will put compliance on the map in a major way. Select one of these four trends that you think will have the biggest impact and get to work. Not only will this benefit your company immensely, but it will also elevate you and your career in the process. Now that’s what I call a win-win.

Valerie serves as GAN’s Chief Strategy Officer. With diverse industry experience, Valerie helps define and drive our strategic position in the compliance community, focused on thought leadership and growth strategy. She also leads GAN’s legal function with a focus on compliance, commercial & strategic transactions, employment, litigation and regulatory issues. Valerie has served as outside counsel, conducted internal investigations, and represented clients in connection with matters involving anti-bribery restrictions worldwide. She has also served as Associate General Counsel and Global Compliance Lead for an international technology company.