Protecting one’s organization with proper corporate legal compliance can present a complex host of challenges. Business operations regarding corporate compliance efforts present a two-fold challenge: First, compliance departments must make sure that employees do not fail to comply with internal policies and the code of conduct across departments. Second, compliance teams must ensure that federal (in the United States or elsewhere) and state rules and regulations are observed to avoid violations. You may be wondering how to manage compliance as responsibilities, rules, and corporate compliance law evolve. Thankfully, contract management software can serve as a user-friendly compliance management system.
Why Is Compliance Important?
Proper corporate compliance management – both internal and regulatory – serves as a protective shield against legal repercussions, reputational damage, data breaches, and financial penalties. When they maintain compliance process efficacy, organizations boost operational efficiency. Additionally, corporate compliance is the responsibility of a compliance team to ensure smooth operations while fostering stakeholder confidence and competitive advantage. Ethics and compliance align with an organization’s core values and assist in sustainable growth.
Compliance Tools You Can Start Using Today
In the age of digital transformation, companies operating in any sector can optimize their compliance processes with business technology. Let’s explore 11 corporate compliance management technology tools you can get started with today.
1 – Standardized Contract Templates
Implement templates pre-approved by legal teams that already incorporate the right legalese to elucidate compliance requirements. These templates reduce the chance of non-compliant language entering contracts.
Organizations can use legal technology to merge their pre-approved templates with contract clauses within a clause library (which is also pre-approved by legal). These clauses can also replace ones in an initial draft – complete with redlines for tracking. This clause merging and replacement helps organizations make sure that preferable contract language, terms, and conditions are present in compliance-related documents, sections, and clauses.
2 – Contract Repository With Advanced Searching
Store all contracts, policies, and related documents in one place. This ensures everyone accesses the latest, approved versions - reducing the chance of using outdated or non-compliant contracts and templates.
The right compliance technology can allow teams to scan contracts for specific clauses, terms, or references to laws to ensure conformity or to address concerns swiftly. Advanced searching functionality can allow compliance professionals to filter and drill down their searches to the file, metadata, keyphrase, or even word level.
3 – Corporate Compliance Checklists
Create checklists tailored to specific internal policies, federal regulations, or state laws. When drafting or reviewing a contract, these checklists can guide compliance teams to ensure all compliance aspects are addressed. Legal technology allows compliance professionals to maintain their checklists with in-system department chats, document collaboration on checklists, task lists, and easy tracking of the completion or escalation of tasks.
4 – Automated Workflow Alerts & Obligations Tracking
Schedule reminders for important deadlines related to regulatory reporting, renewal dates, or internal review cycles to prevent lapses. Contract workflow automation allows teams to allocate tasks and establish both in-system and emailed reminders when task due dates are drawing near. Additionally, tasks can be escalated if an assigned resource is not completing them in an agreed-upon timely manner.
Identify and monitor obligations in contracts that need adherence to certain laws or internal policies, ensuring no commitments are missed.
5 – Version Control & Audit Trails
Maintain a clear history of contract versions, showcasing any amendments or changes over time. This is particularly useful if there are inquiries about past terms or clauses. Log all changes to a contract. This logging proves invaluable during internal audits or if there's a need to demonstrate compliance to external bodies. Automated, numbered version tracking with robust compliance solutions is recommended.
6 – Access Controls
Determine who can view, edit, or approve contracts. This access oversight ensures that only trained and authorized personnel handle contracts - reducing the risk of non-compliance. Assign individual people or groups of people for access within compliance management technology. Compliance teams can route approvals and even assign clause ownership – alerting assigned “clause owners” if changes are made to a compliance document.
7 – Risk Assessment Tools
Some software offers tools to assess the risk levels of contracts, helping companies prioritize review or renegotiation based on potential exposure to non-compliance. A risk assessment matrix within advanced compliance management software systems can map risk and risk exposure while also analyzing how well employees are utilizing compliance tools (even with a grade for the team and notes on where to improve)!
8 – Integration With Other Systems
Link the compliance management technology tool with HR, finance, ERP, CRM, and other systems to ensure compliance checks across the entire lifecycle of a contract, corporate compliance document, or business relationship. Compliance and legal teams should opt for a solution that provides various integrations, connectors, and API options for a centralized process.
9 – Compliance Reporting & Analytics
Generate detailed reports on contract compliance, flagging potential issues or areas of concern, and aiding in proactive risk management. Leverage compliance contract analytics dashboards, ad-hoc reports, calendars, and summary tiles to enjoy corporate compliance management oversight at a glance.
10 – Compliance Management Training Modules
Use the software as a platform for training modules - ensuring staff are knowledgeable about compliance requirements both from internal policies and external laws. Leverage survey-style quizzes, rating, and scoring. Route approval workflows for the review and signature of important compliance training updates.
11 – Corporate Compliance Whistleblowing!
Implement feedback or reporting systems within compliance plans that allow users to report potential compliance concerns both internally and externally. An easy way to maintain corporate compliance is to offer transparency and control to those within an organization. Take the ideas of those within the organization into account.
Corporate compliance is too important to fumble. Thankfully, organizations can use the technology and strategies mentioned above to improve compliance oversight. One of the best solutions for compliance success is contract management software.
By leveraging contract management software for many of the items above, a company can not only ensure adherence to internal policies and external regulations, but also build a robust framework to detect potential violations and protect itself from legal repercussions and financial penalties.
Book a free demo of award-winning compliance and contract management software to get started with better corporate compliance!
Legal Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice. The content of this article is for general information and educational purposes only. The information on this website may not present the most up-to-date legal information. Readers should contact their attorneys for legal advice regarding any particular legal matter.