Compliance Certifications, a Good Investment?

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I see on daily basis some of my contacts showing their newly gained compliance certifications; while continuous education is very important (I’d rather say vital in the legal compliance framework) and their commitment is fantastic and very professional,

Are we sure we need to further certify our skills?

You may  have noticed services –  that – behind payment – offer to certify your compliance program or your workforce., sometimes, even prospecting a career enhancement in the field.

Certify: ‘attest or confirm in a formal statement’ (Oxford Dictionary)

But, can they, really?

Many companies outsource the training part, I trained myself more than 10,000 people coming from a variety of industries. Nonetheless, I never certified anyone; I provided them a tailored service, registered attendance but how could I possibly certify them?

I am not a university or recognized school, moreover I cannot predict one’s future behavior at their workplace.

Nobody can

Would you prefer a CPR certified person assisting you in case of need or a real Doctor?

Under which authority, by the way? Having an external adviser providing his viewpoint is great, even by means of stress tests but, again, that is pretty much it, with the exception of the compliance audit, which, given the audit process, is generally performed carrying additional tasks.

A simple example will clarify this point, should a misconduct arise, your organization only will answer for it. Nobody else, probably.

Do you wish to check yourself? Pay close attention to the contract, to spot any form of liability from the service provider’s side. You are probably not going to find it.

You may wish to think about the point above…

Getting certified might help in corroborating your good faith and your interest towards compliance, however, it doesn’t represent a shield and it will always be up to the relevant authorities ascertain responsibilities.

See, for instance, the Circular 1/2016 issued by the Spanish General Prosecutor on this topic.

Furthermore, compliance is a multifaceted matter, with several factors to keep into account, inter alia:

  • Type of industry, as compliance challenges in the finance sector, for instance, are quite different from construction or engineering,
  • Internationalization (you need to be fully aware of the legal framework in which you are operating),
  • Workforce target; employees working into sales are exposed to different issues than the ones in finance, HR, customs, research and development, just to mention a few..

there are no shortcuts in education; compliance certifications don't provide any additional layer of knowledge

How embracing compliance then? Promoting an ethical culture throughout your organization, it is the most rewarding strategy in the long run. There are no shortcuts.

Do you wish to fulfill your career in compliance? Studying at the University is the best certification you will ever get.

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Michele La Neve

White Collar Crime Attorney at Whitecotton Law Dedicated to Helping Clients Overcome Unforeseen Business Risks.

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