5 essential steps to improve compliance in your business
Making sure your business is fully compliant is a complex and time-consuming task. But it is absolutely fundamental to the smooth running of your business.
Having to answer to law, regulation and organisational governance while keeping your business activity, documents and data fully secure means putting in the hours to ensure you are getting it right.
But what exactly is compliance? It’s is a fairly broad term, covering a whole array of external laws and regulations as well as internal processes, organisational governance and security requirements. So this means working out exactly how to be compliant can often be confusing.
When it comes to managing your business, being compliant means obeying all the laws and regulations which are in place to ensure you are meeting your responsibilities as a business owner. There is often too much at stake to risk getting compliance wrong, so navigating yourself through the rules and regulations to ensure your business is fully compliant is critical.
That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to help you cut through the complexities and learn exactly how you can make sure your business files and data are fully compliant.
1) Assess the risks
It is your duty as a business to identify the risks you may face when it comes to complying with regulation. Depending on the type of business you run, the size of your business and the industry in which you operate, risk factors can vary.
According to Deloitte’s Compliance Trends Survey, in 2015 82% of organisations undertook some sort of enterprise-wide compliance risk assessment. Additionally, nearly two thirds indicated that they conduct a compliance risk assessment at least annually, if not more often, demonstrating that businesses acknowledge the importance of being compliant.
Identifying the risks your business could face when it comes to compliance, implementing preventative measures and monitoring these can therefore be an important first stage in ensuring that your business becomes more compliant.
2) Perform regular audits
Regularly checking up on your accounts, documents and data can help keep your business files fully compliant. Keeping track of a file’s history means making sure all changes are recorded, as well as who has made any edits and when.
Many businesses are required to conduct compliance reviews on at least an annual basis, including a review of internal systems. Done well, regular auditing can provide you with self-assurance that you are complying with regulations and statutory obligations on a regular basis, while highlighting any potential problems or areas to improve.
Detailed reporting is also essential to get a holistic overview of documents, data and processes in your business. That’s why Virtual Cabinet features an end-to-end audit process, which provides clear ownership information and a visible document history to help ensure it is fully compliant in every stage of its lifecycle.
3) Organise your documents
Like everything in life, it pays to be more organised! It definitely helps when it comes to compliance.
Storing key files and documents in one place, but making sure that they are divided up so that they are easily accessible, can make sure you are able to retrieve files whenever necessary.
Securely archiving your documents electronically can be a particularly effective way to do this, as it means that you can search to find them rather than sifting through endless files or folders to find the information you need.
4) Encrypt your files
Cybersecurity is one of the hottest topics in the world right now, and protecting any information or data which your business may have is absolutely crucial, both to avoid any potentially embarrassing and reputation-tarnishing mishaps with client data, and to ensure you are compliant when it comes to security.
In order to keep any information, data, digital files and documents safe, you need to ensure they are protected with a suitable level of security. Restricting documents to only those who need to see them is also a good way to minimise the risk of information getting into the hands of the wrong people.
The Virtual Cabinet Portal offers bank-level safety, with AES-256 encryption and multi-layered security ensuring that your data is protected. Documents are held in an environment which only select recipients can access, providing a level of security which is significantly higher than sharing documents via email.
5) Use the right software
In the ever-growing digital world, making sure your business has suitable software to help manage all your compliance steps is essential.
With Virtual Cabinet, you can be assured that your business is fully compliant, as the software will do all of the above and much more for you. For example, additional features which will help your business become more compliant include:
- Digital signatures, to let clients sign documents while reducing turnaround time and efficiency
- Real-time document tracking, to improve your communication strategy by showing you if your file has been viewed or downloaded
- Automatic filing, to sort and store all documents where they need to be, in the same place and where your team can always access the latest version
- Document retraction, so that if you send the wrong document, you can retract it before it has been seen
- A powerful search function, to enable you to find that elusive client file with ease and access all your documents from outside of the office
- Fast document scanning, either from one of our recommended high-speed production scanners or your existing device, which can be seamlessly integrated
- Easy file distribution, to ensure the distribution of daily documents is audited, and files can be dragged and dropped into other trays with ‘sticky notes’ added for comments
- Multiple device use, so that you can access your Virtual Cabinet anytime, anywhere
- Automatic email and print filing, saving you hours trawling through your inbox to focus on more pressing activities, like getting work done!