Regulatory Compliance: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

November 10, 2019 in Regulatory compliance by Steve Ives


What is regulatory compliance?
Why is regulatory compliance important?
How to get a job in regulatory compliance
What is regulatory compliance audit?
What is regulatory compliance in financial services?
What is regulatory compliance in healthcare?

what is regulatory compliance

What is regulatory compliance?

Simply stated, regulatory compliance is making sure that an organization is following the rules and standards set for its industry. These rules are usually set by government legislation or by proxy via government agencies. In the EU, many regulations are set at a supra-national level. Regulatory compliance management means the set of processes, procedures and technology put in place by an organization to ensure regulatory compliance.

In most countries, the number of rules and regulations has gone up over time. The technology revolution combined with increasing wealth has driven a profusion of complex new products and services offered to consumers and businesses. The possibilities for bad behaviour and bad consequences are multiplied.

Managing and auditing regulatory compliance can be a very expensive endeavour. The problem can get more complex when a firm has to face a variety of compliance requirements in each of the market segments it operates in.

Examples of recent new regulations:

  • EU Euro5/6 standards for exhaust emissions from passenger cars
  • EU PSD2 regulations strengthening security for online payment transactions
  • US FDA new regulations for e-cigarettes and vaping

Regulation has always been a bit of a political football. Some say that we should drastically reduce the burden of regulation. Others point out that regulation is vital to prevent or punish bad corporate behaviour. However, since regulations are always woven into the law of the land, businesses must comply with them or face severe sanctions.

Hand in hand with the need for regulatory compliance go the systems needed to manage it. Large organizations have for many years used compliance management software to support their compliance programs. Increasingly, small and mid-sized firms are using systems like Plio that are designed to be much simpler to use. Instead of a week’s work by a technical specialist to set up, a Plio account runs in the cloud and can be set up by a user in just one minute.

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what is regulatory compliance

Why is regulatory compliance important?

Clearly, regulatory compliance is important to protect consumers and society from harm. This may seem like an abstract concept to many, and far removed from their everyday experiences. It is a sobering experience to realise that the consequences of regulatory breaches are not just financial, but career-limiting. Company directors can and do go to jail.

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