At the annual Compliance Week conference earlier this year, Deloitte’s status as a sponsor and presenter put it in the center of some compelling conversations. Across the discipline, there’s a growing consensus that Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) are moving out from behind their general counsels and taking their own seats at the big table.
The question now is what they’ll do there. Part of the challenge is to help connect compliance officers with internal control and technology solutions. But the corresponding challenge is to make strategic sense of what those solutions can deliver and prioritize accordingly. Another challenge is for CCOs to engage broadly across the enterprise on these solutions, so compliance can make the same robust use of big data that leaders in other areas have done.
As those challenges hang in the air, compliance programs are on the precipice of change. Companies are starting to crack the code on effective risk-sensing solutions that use controls and technology they already know and data they already have, but puts them together in a way that’s brand-new.
Armed with that capability, tomorrow’s CCO will likely become an indispensable leader in corporate governance and risk management, and a trusted business advisor–a strategic driver of the larger business. But organizational expectations and financial commitment are going to have to evolve to catch up. No longer can the CCO occupy as an isolated outpost in the company hierarchy, acting as a traffic cop with investigatory and enforcement powers, but no spending authority.
Among the themes we heard at the conference were the need for CCOs to become more proactive and get ahead of their compliance risks and challenges, the desire to become more strategic in the face of competing priorities and limited resources, and the increased pressure CCOs find themselves under in light of an ever increasingly complex regulatory environment and expanded accountability and expectations for all compliance risk failures falling on the shoulders of the CCO.
The annual Compliance Week survey report is a great place to start weighing these questions and the ways your organization might answer them. Just know that keeping your compliance function the way it is now is the least likely outcome.
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