Preparing your business for an upcoming compliance audit is no easy task, and can’t be rushed if you hope to avoid stiff regulator fees. Many business managers and even accounting professionals are nonetheless having a hard time ensuring that their operations are compliant, and don’t know where to turn to for advice in a digital age rife with disinformation.

These are the key tips you can rely upon when preparing your business for an upcoming compliance audit, and the huge missteps you should learn to avoid if you don’t want to get slapped with a heavy fee for breaking regulations.

It’s all about organization

First and foremost, business managers who are concerned they may not be compliant and are worried about upcoming audits need to understand that it’s always been about organization. If your firm or business isn’t up to date on its record keeping and doesn’t have a specific team ready to ensure you’re prepared for a compliance audit, you’re essentially asking for trouble, and will get hit with a steep fine sooner rather than later.

In the digital age, preparing for an audit also includes a thorough review of your dizzying digital systems to guarantee you’re not violating IT or data standards, which are becoming more and more important.

While the recent passage of the GDPR has many in Europe up to date with digital standards, many in North America are still behind the times when it comes to maintaining compliance. That’s because rapidly emerging software which is cheapening the cost of business aren’t always thoroughly investigated before being relied upon by businesses.

One of the easiest ways to fail a compliance audit is to have a faulty IT system that’s sure to cost you big. Before a compliance audit can smack your company with a stiff fee, then, follow these tips to guarantee you’re up to snuff ahead of time.

You’ll want to run a self-audit to make sure there are no glaringly obvious flaws in your system before you do anything else. That way, you can correct any potential mistakes that are sure to cost your business, and can get a heads up on your weaker spots that may not endure thorough probing by regulatory officials.

While some are hesitant to spend the time and money on a self-audit, doing so is a major key to success. Check out these tips on how to thoroughly perform a self-audit, and you may just end up saving your own bacon.

It’s imperative to remember that a well-organized team will be the root of your success. If your workers are caught off-guard by contract compliance auditing, things will quickly fall apart. Make sure every one of your vital staff members are informed about upcoming deadlines, and that you have company-wide participation in audit exercises carried out ahead of time. Training your staff is the bare minimum you’ll need to achieve if you don’t want to end up out of compliance.

Surviving a compliance audit

Not everything about your preparation should be centered around self-audits, of course. You’ll also want to extensively review common mistakes made by others, which can help you avoid falling into traps that you might otherwise overcome. Check out these common mistakes well ahead of time and you might find an error in your own system that would have ended up costing you big should an audit have found a problem.

It’s very important that businesses preparing for compliance audits dedicate enough time and resources towards their efforts, given that many try to skirt by with the bare minimum and end up paying a heavy toll. An audit can gradually grow in scope, too, so renewed interest over time is also important to make sure your efforts aren’t growing lazy after a few years. A single mistake can end up haunting your company’s finances for some time, so make the time for your upcoming compliance audit unless you want to live in regret.

A rigid schedule with preparatory deadlines is an absolute must. While you may wish to trust your team members to get things done in time, regular checkups on your preparation are needed if you don’t want to drop the ball at the last minute.

Your team members can get swamped, too, so frequently touching base with them is an excellent way to make sure everyone is keeping their head above water and meeting their milestones. A single mistake made by one employee can cost the whole company, so wide-reviews that focus on fixing mistakes rather than punishing them will be in your immediate interest.

Start preparing for your compliance audit well ahead of time, and you’ll do fine when regulators come knocking at your door. Remember to prepare your team thoroughly, and invest in their training heavily, and you’ll soon find yourself compliant.

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Aaron Lee
Aaron Lee is a serial entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. Since the age of 17, he has started and sold five businesses before creating Dash Serviced Suites--Hong Kong’s fastest growing asset-light, tech-enabled, serviced apartment community operating over 100 apartments. Aaron focuses on investing in technology to build industry disrupting startups.

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