Editor’s note: This is the first article in Doreen Edelman’s new monthly column, Export Compliance: It Matters.
Happy new year. Welcome to my new monthly column for Corporate Compliance Insights on global business compliance. To begin the new year, I thought we could extend the holiday season theme of “giving to others” by talking about how your compliance efforts can benefit from further sharing of your compliance responsibilities.
The beauty of sharing your responsibilities is that everyone in the company actually benefits from having more people participate in the compliance process to support your goals. I understand every company is different but it is possible to accomplish this goal without a big corporate strategy announcement that you are offloading your work to others. (Stick with me here. I think the idea really might work.)
We all are aware that compliance on any level is no easy task. It is impossible to anticipate and prevent every possible scenario that could come back to expose your company to risk and liability. Therefore, your best option is to try to affect your corporate culture in small seemingly insignificant ways that will, in turn, end up facilitating better understanding, communication and coordination of compliance efforts.
Every employee needs to feel that he/she is integral to the company’s compliance efforts and what they do will make a difference. For instance, in small companies the receptionist actually ships and receives and performs due diligence. Don’t forget to ask her how she thinks she can best add due diligence questions into her processes. If you stop and ask questions, you will be amazed at the ideas individuals will generate if they feel that you are willing to listen.
In large companies, each country or region has its own specific issues that can be best addressed locally or regionally. Find a way to involve the local employees in updating regional compliance due diligence and documentation. If your program was devised in the U.S., ask about nuances and cultural differences. Ask what locals see as the biggest obstacles to good compliance and use the information to enhance your program.
My point is don’t just consider how to add compliance into your own workday, take a moment and think about how you can add compliance into others’ daily activities and existing routines. If you can find just a few new ways to disperse responsibilities throughout the workforce, the results will improve your company’s culture of compliance and enhance your current compliance procedures.
Companies have all different types of corporate compliance programs. Those companies with the most robust programs usually are companies that have had bad experiences with non-compliance. Short of such a concrete reason to act, it is often hard to find the time, focus or support (management or financial) to concentrate on improving internal compliance. However, even small changes can make a difference.
Some examples of activities to raise internal awareness of export compliance are:
So remember this seasonal message – the best gift you can give your company is sharing your compliance responsibilities with others. Aren’t the holidays great?
About the Author
Doreen M. Edelman is a shareholder at Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C., in Washington, DC, where she helps clients create business solutions for international trade compliance. She has more than 20 years of experience developing compliance programs, and counseling clients on export licensing, export controls, FCPA, and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanction laws. Ms. Edelman also helps companies prepare global business plans and work through foreign government market regulations.
Doreen M. Edelman is a shareholder at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz P.C. in Washington, D.C., where she helps clients create business solutions for international trade compliance. She has more than 20 years of experience developing compliance programs and counseling clients on export licensing, export controls, FCPA and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanction laws. Ms. Edelman also helps companies prepare global business plans and work through foreign government market regulations.