Automating Process Compliance

Katherine Manning March 10, 2022

process-compliance

If you’ve ever had a compliance officer come by and go over your company’s procedures, you know how stressful it can be—and how much time it takes up. You also know how expensive it can be to hire a compliance officer or outside firm to do a regular checkup on your office practices. But what if there was a better way?

A study from Ponemon and Globalscape found that the average cost for noncompliance was $14.82 million. That’s where automation comes in to help. Not only can a BPM software help your company stay compliant with new legislation, but it also makes sure that you’re ready for any unexpected visits from compliance officers along the way.

Is process compliance a necessity?

All businesses can benefit from having an automated compliance management system.  Whether your company is just starting out or you’ve been around for decades, it’s critical to have an automated compliance management system in place that is designed to protect your business. From the smallest startups to the largest Fortune 500s, every business can benefit from having policies and procedures in place that are designed specifically to help them comply with both internal policies and external regulations.

By ensuring that your company is operating according to all applicable laws and regulations, you’re taking a huge step toward mitigating risk.

What does automating process compliance mean?

The benefits of compliance process automation are simple: It removes manual tasks from your workflow, saving you time and money. It also removes the human error that can come with repetitive tasks—not to mention it frees up your employees to do more meaningful work, rather than checking boxes or filling out forms.

But what does automation mean for workers? Some people worry about robots taking their jobs, but the truth is that automation lets humans be more creative and productive in their roles.

Automation will help workers focus on high-value work instead of the tedious tasks we were all so happy to leave behind at the end of 2021. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that a reliable software solution handles your routine compliance processes. And, since compliance process automation integrates with all your other systems, you won’t waste time manually moving data back and forth between applications.

Compliance automation is an opportunity for your organization to grow more organized and efficient while also freeing up your team to do higher-value work—and isn’t that what we’re all hoping to accomplish in 2022?

How to start automating process compliance

While the new compliance processes are essential, many rely on limited but entrenched tools like email, static process maps, and spreadsheets. It’s hard to know what should have happened.

Compliance professionals can not only lower the risk of non-compliant behavior but optimize the expected return on an organization’s compliance strategy, planning, and training investment. Embracing workflow automation will help you enforce process-level compliance.

Four elements must be present to automate process compliance: 

  • Structured Information Collection 
  • Rule-Based Routing & Notifications
  • Process Transparency
  • Self-Generating Audit Trails

One of the most important steps in automating process compliance is capturing the information needed. Often, this information is gathered through email or spreadsheets—a loosely structured format that can result in the employee self-editing out valuable information. The lack of structure in gathering information typically results in costly rework or critical decisions made on incomplete information.

Interactive forms are a logical solution for this problem. Interactive forms help you automate your data collection so that employees complete a list of structured questions that capture the exact information needed to evaluate an incident. By using standardized, consistent online forms to gather information, process owners ensure:

Compliant Data: Required fields prevent employees from skipping critical data points.

Efficient Processes: Employees spend less time searching for and completing forms manually, which increases overall efficiency.

Also, using dropdown lists, radio buttons, and field-level validations, users can standardize data and improve the accuracy of their reporting. And you don’t have to worry about exceptions. With automated routing of tasks and information based on user input, nothing slips through the cracks.

Benefits of process compliance automation

Compliance process automation uses software to automate processes that are otherwise manual and repetitive. If you’ve ever had a robot tell you that your password isn’t secure enough, or if you’ve ever used an e-signature tool to complete a simple agreement, then you’ve been touched by compliance process automation.

The technology is nothing new, but it’s still evolving. The benefits of compliance process automation are:

  • Reduced human error
  • Faster compliance processes
  • Reduced risk of fraud

Mitigate analysis paralysis

In the compliance world, everybody talks about the importance of data. But what good is data if you don’t have time to analyze it?

That’s where it makes sense to automate. By automating your compliance processes, you not only free up time to think more deeply about your data—you also gain the ability to monitor a larger volume of interactions and employee behaviors, which means better data.

It’s a virtuous cycle: Automation generates better data; better data allows you to identify issues faster; and fast issue identification means you can fix problems and improve performance in real time.

Compliance officers can take advantage of process automation in all sorts of ways. Here are some examples:

  • Controls testing and monitoring
  • Policy management
  • Data analytics
  • Regulatory changes

If a compliance officer needs to be able to quickly determine whether a transaction is compliant or not, they have three options:

  1. Use a computer to analyze the transaction—and deal with the risk that they’ll miss something important because they didn’t know how to ask the right question.
  2. Ask someone else to do it—and deal with all the manual labor it takes to find and train that person in addition to the risk of human error.
  3. Do it themselves—and deal with the fact that they can only process so many transactions per day before they hit their limit and start making mistakes too.

On the other hand, automated processes can help with data collection and analysis. They can work with more transactions and improve the accuracy of analysis by using all available data. 

Further, automated processes reduce failure rates, which is important since errors in data entry can lead to major compliance problems. Automated processes also provide better documentation and reporting, since they document every step they take, creating an audit trail that compliance officers can share with other parties.

Out with manual compliance processes, and in with automation

A high-quality BPM solution will streamline your operations so you can optimize workflow without cutting corners on compliance. It’s software that allows you to work smarter, not harder.  In addition, by using BPM, a more automated compliance program means less risk, more efficiency, and more flexibility.

Each time you hire a new vendor, make a big sale, or launch a new product, there are rules and regulations you have to follow. If you’re doing everything manually, it’s stressful. There are too many moving parts for any compliance team—even one that’s really good—to keep up with them all.

But when you automate your compliance processes? Suddenly, the stress is gone. Suddenly, there’s just one place for everything to live (your BPM system) and your team doesn’t have to worry about missing anything or getting overwhelmed.

Automating process compliance means less risk—and more efficiency and flexibility.

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