The number of financial regulations that a large percentage of businesses must now comply with is substantial and growing. And the penalties for non-compliance range from fines and restrictions, to a damaged reputation and diminished consumer confidence. That is why compliance is such an urgent priority, even for SMEs.
The frustrating and ongoing challenge is that these regulations are byzantine in their complexity and demanding in their requirements for compliance. Simply meeting the minimum standards requires a huge investment of time and labor. And even with this effort, it is easy for oversights and misunderstandings to cause unexpected repercussions.
There are a number of “solutions” on the market claiming to simply and standardize the burden of compliance. But many are limited in their scope and misleading about their true value. If your enterprise is struggling with today’s financial regulations and worried about tomorrow’s, these are the tools you must have in place to reliably ensure compliance.
A Common Platform for All Data
The sweep and scope of financial regulations affects a huge portion of the average company’s data. That makes effective data management both a priority and a difficulty. It is easy and common for data to get lost, overlooked, misunderstood, or left unsecured, all breaches that can lead directly to non-compliance. By relying on a common platform for all data, companies can break down data silos and drag data out of dark corners so that none of it slips past regulatory scrutiny.
A Simplified Process for Auditing and Reporting
Proving compliance requires enterprises to conduct comprehensive audits and produce detailed reports. This is a huge undertaking in the best circumstances, and it becomes much harder when data is scattered throughout disconnected locations. Tools that make it both easy and reliable for auditors to find the exact information they need eliminates a lot of delays and mistakes. Those same tools should also be flexible enough to enable compliance managers to create detailed reports according to the exact requirements of regulators.
A Means to Control Access
A significant part of compliance is ensuring that only authorized parties have access to sensitive financial information. It does not take a large pool of data for this to become a major challenge. And considering how aggressively cyber criminals have targeted this data, access controls become more important than ever. Companies that implement a tool like financial ERP are able to give form and function to their data that is a huge asset for the purposes of compliance. But this same tool also allows decision-makers to segregate and secure sensitive data as comprehensively as regulators require.
A System that Leverages Automation
Complying with financial regulations is an absolute requirement, but is also an unproductive pursuit. All the time and energy that professionals spend on compiling, auditing, and reporting is time that could be spent on projects that generate growth. Ideally, any tool designed to aid with compliance would also automate as much of the process as possible. With minimum input it would identify relevant data, compile it in one location, and output reports that meet the strict standards of regulators. It would still be necessary to provide oversight, but otherwise professionals could focus their time and energy on boosting the fortunes of the company rather than just preserving the status quo.
It is shortsighted to believe that compliance will get any easier moving forward, regardless of how markets are performing or who is at the helm of the regulatory agencies. What is certain, however, is that the amount of financial data that the vast majority of companies now track, store, and distribute internally will grow exponentially. Tools to aid with compliance may be considered a convenience now, but will be soon be an absolute necessity.