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« Enforcement At The Century's Dawn | Main | Corporate Enforcement Since 2006 »
Tuesday
Jan032012

Giving A Voice To Compliance Professionals 

Roy Snell, left, CEO of the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, helps set the standards for the compliance profession.

According to its mission statement, SCCE “is dedicated to improving the quality of corporate governance, compliance and ethics.” The Minneapolis-based nonprofit provides educational resources and networking opportunities to more than 2,500 members.

Prior to joining SCCE in 2001, Snell served as Corporate Compliance Officer for the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics and the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation in Madison.

He very kindly answered a few questions about what's changing in the world of corporate compliance:

Q: How do you see your field evolving in the next five to ten years?

A: Corporate compliance will continue to get more authority, responsibility, and independence. Consolidation will occur as compliance-related functions currently scattered around the company, such as privacy, safety, etc., are moved into the compliance department.

Q: How can compliance officers and teams become more proactive?

A: We need to focus less on passive compliance tools and more on active compliance tools. Compliance professionals who constantly focus on education, policy writing, telling people to do the right thing, and continually editing and re-editing their code of conduct are going to end up reacting to problems. Compliance and ethics professionals who take the fight to the high-risk areas with auditing, investigating, interviewing, discipline, and responding to hotline calls are going to get ahead of the curve.

Q: Where will you be directing the efforts of SCCE in 2012?

A: We have a little problem at the moment related to people who have never worked in the profession trying to define our profession. Legal thinks it's all about the law, Risk thinks it's all about risk, and Audit thinks it's all about audit. Some have a vested interest, are concerned about their turf, or truly think they understand our job.

The problem is that few of them do understand it enough to define the profession. Few people who have never held a compliance job understand compliance. This is probably because it was never taught in school and the job is so new. We are trying to get a voice. One of the things we can do is gain new members.  … If we can continue the rapid growth we are currently experiencing, we should be able to get to the point where we can speak for ourselves.

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Benjamin Kessler is an editor and writer for Ethics 360. He can be contacted here.

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[Editor's note: This post is part of our series profiling global compliance leaders. Most appear on our sponsor Ethisphere’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics.]

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