Any retail compliance officer, trying to maintain the integrity of an anti-bribery policy, is painfully aware of the issues involved with keeping both employees and suppliers alike compliant. As the company grows to have lots of stores or locations, this headache can quickly progress to a migraine.
The increasing amount of audits and reporting necessary can very easily become too cumbersome to manage, and if they happen to still be relying on an old paper-based system, they may start to think that another career might be simpler – like lion taming or nuclear physics.
The purpose of this article is to highlight the complexity of trying to maintain the integrity of an anti-bribery policy and the issues involved with keeping both employees and suppliers alike compliant.
Don’t Allow Subjectivity To Bend The Rules
It’s not hard to understand that a primary concern in an auditing process that is across various locations is human nature and the individual personality traits of different managers. Even when a policy is set in stone and put on paper, the person responsible for auditing compliance to the policy at one store could handle the issue with more subjectivity than someone at another store.
Consistency and objectivity are the keys to integrity.
This often becomes a problem when the requirements increase due to regulations and laws, but the biggest culprit of creeping subjectivity is usually nothing more than a manager having more added to his or her plate. Cutting corners can become the medicine of choice for their headache.
It’s Not A Minor Issue
It’s that human nature aspect which leads to sloppy auditing. From the perspective of Manager X at store number 13 of a 200-store chain, it may not seem a big deal that Employee Y was given some widget or perk by Supplier Z for an implied favor. A single, isolated instance probably wouldn’t cause a major scandal, but the possibility is there. The danger is that Manager X could be only one in a long string of managers who do the same because of the same thought process.
When other suppliers find out that a bribe might get them special treatment, the floodgates are opened and can lead to serious corruption, damaged relations between your business and your suppliers, and a poor reputation in the eyes of your customers. The best way to avoid the slippery slope is to stay away from the edge, and the right compliance system will act as your guardrail.
One System To Rule Them All
The issue of growing numbers and distances is one source of a compliance officer’s frustrations, but there are many other factors that can also contribute to them, including:
No clear audit process
Team members without the level of investigative skills to ensure proper audits
A system that fails to adequately simplify complex requirements
As with most business headaches, modern technology does provide solutions that make the process simpler, more efficient, and consistent. An auditing solution comprised of simple to use software that can be used consistently across multiple locations, by employees, contractors, vendors, and third parties alike, can ensure that the reports you receive are as reliable as possible.