The modern workforce is surrounded by regulatory agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
The increase in new rules, laws, and regulations in healthcare, financial services, telecommunication, and many other industries has led to a high demand for qualified individuals to enforce these standards.
These compliance individuals have very lucrative salaries and rank among Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) in the executive of some companies.
This is especially the case in the finance sector.
BLS’s 2019 study established that the top-paying industries for compliance jobs included computer manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and government.
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One of the compliance certifications that have created many career opportunities is ISO compliance.
ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization.
This standard was developed to ensure quality standards for organizations worldwide.
Currently, ISO has members from 164 countries.
ISO has developed many frameworks in different industries and sectors, including environment, service, technology, industry, medical, and health.
Each business will choose the frameworks that apply to its sector and situation.
However, some frameworks are specific.
For example, the ISO 34101-1:2019 standard is a framework for the cocoa bean industry.
On the other hand, the ISO/IEC 80079-34 framework deals with manufacturing during explosive atmospheres.
Some of the other ISO publications are general.
For example, the ISO 14001 acts as a guideline for effective environmental management and can be used by any organization.
For ISO certification, businesses have to get an external audit by an official approved by the Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO).
This means this certification has provided a job opportunity, namely the ISO compliance officer.
Compliance officers compile reports about ethical procedures and compliant behavior with executives, management, and employees.
Compliance Career Paths
There are job opportunities in almost every industry when it comes to compliance.
For example, you may have a compliance officer who works at Wells Fargo and one who works for Exxon Mobil.
You’ll find the educational requirements and roles for both officers are very different.
To work as a compliance officer, you need to identify the industry which you’re most passionate about.
You need to understand the regulatory and practical obstacles in those industries.
While sectors such as chemicals, food, finance, and healthcare create opportunities for compliance officers, most of the new opportunities for compliance officers are in the public sector.
A study by the BLS established that the top employers of compliance staff are the local, state, and federal government.
Local governments hire more compliance staff than private businesses.
However, local and state compliance jobs have low starting salaries when compared with private sector industries.
Compliance careers can be classified into entry-level, high level, and mixed roles.
Entry-level careers involve working in teams that process customer information to ensure banks aren’t dealing with criminals, checking payments to ensure they’re going to the right people, not funding terrorism, and keeping an eye on transactions to flag any suspicious activities.
Entry-level compliance staff also liaise with law enforcement officers for information that is crucial for criminal investigations.
Managing people in the entry-level position is one of the jobs of high-level compliance staff.
These officers deal with capacity planning, management of staff performance, and ensuring the team runs smoothly.
Other responsibilities include performing audit functions and other procedures based on the required legislation.
One of the critical roles of high-level compliance staff is dealing with money laundering.
The money-laundering reporting officer, also known as MLRO, oversees all activities that deal with anti-money laundering.
In small companies, the job of compliance involves different roles. A compliance manager may be engaged with payment and customer screening.
They may also be responsible for writing policies and managing people.
In a large institution, a compliance officer’s mixed role may be spread across different business units.
Advancing in this career involves a lot of training and may also mean going to a new industry.
Qualifications In the Compliance Sector
The position of a compliance manager requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
Some employers may require advanced degrees, like a master’s degree in business administration or a law degree.
Compliance officers in other industries must complete a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional Program (CCEP).
On completion of this course, you must successfully pass an exam.
Similar certification courses are offered by the Ethics and Compliance Officer Association.
There are many job opportunities in the compliance profession.
These opportunities aren’t limited to one industry.
There are positions for compliance officers in the food, manufacturing, and even construction industries.
However, most of these industries are in the public sector.
To explore a compliance career, you need to have a hands-on approach and be flexible.
While a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, and any related field will help, you must be willing to learn and to venture into another area if you want to grow.
Individuals in the field of compliance need to be beyond reproach.
They should set an example to be followed by the rest of the staff in a company.