Compliance is no longer a fad, it is the consequence of a changing world. It is a complex notion which comes from a global movement initiated now for more than 20 years and well established today.
Let’s try a definition to frame the subject.
This is a set of rules and processes that ensure the compliance of the behavior of companies, their managers, their employees with legal and ethical standards applicable to them in order to fight against corruption, money laundering, the financing of terrorism, but also to implement the protection of the environment, the protection of the circulation of digital GDPR information, diversity within the company.
Compliance affects all sectors of the economy, particularly banks and companies, high schools and Universities, NGOs but also international event organizations.
Compliance plays a role in the expectations of clients, shareholders, investment funds, stakeholders, on working conditions, the implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility, tax optimization conditions, the quality of products and how they are made etc …
The singular point of compliance lies in its implementation since it involves asking private economic operators such as companies to internalize objectives of general interest because of their position and the means with which they benefit to meet these objectives.
It is a kind of co-regulation with the State.
Companies having an international activity are more aware of the constraints linked to the standards required by the transfer of goods and especially cross-border financial flows as well as the establishment of subsidiaries. The risk zone is increased by crossing borders and the complexity of operations which makes the need and respect for common rules necessary.
Then! compliance, is it compulsory or not?
Yes! and we refer ( in France) to the French Sapin 2 law and its densified regulations which set a double threshold of 500 employees and 100 million € in turnover. On the other hand, these obligations often concern all companies regardless of their size as soon as they are subcontractors of companies meeting the criteria of the Sapin Law or respond to tenders integrating these compliance obligations.
For all the others, SMEs, small ETIs, we will insist on 3 points which concern them and invite to take up the subject of compliance as soon as possible.
– The company is autonomous to organize itself and appropriate the rules and standards of the new framework.
– Compliance leads to a “value creation” effect which builds customer loyalty by consolidating the brand, attracting and retaining talent, and facilitating recruitment. The company is on the same level as its large customers or competitors who communicate on compliance, and as its banker who asks what has been put in place.
– This is a benefit for companies that have international activity on a European scale because compliance places a coherent and harmonized framework on cross-border matters.
Finally, and this justifies, if necessary, this modest note, when there is no legal obligation, there is a unifying interest.
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