The start of a new year brings a new set of challenges for any small business. One of the most common sources of frustration for small business owners is how to comply with the regulations placed upon their business. Business owners know they need to comply with regulations but often times have no idea what they have to do to comply, or how their business will have the human or financial resources to comply. These regulations can be mandated by: the federal government, the state, the city and county, industry specific governing bodies, or through a contractual obligation. The good news is that complying with regulatory requirements does not need to be so hard or expensive. The key is to develop efficient systems and then follow the systems consistently.
The first step in complying with regulations is determining what the regulations actually require your business to do or require your staff to monitor. This requires an evaluation of the regulations and whether and to what extent they apply to your business. For example, the regulation may mandate that you verify that all employees are US Citizens. Once you know what you have to do, the next step is to develop a system to ensure that your business can monitor or track what it is required to do. For the citizen verification, the system would include making a photocopy of each employees ID on their first day of employment. It is imperative that you get sound advice during this first step of determining what regulations apply to you and what they require your company to do. Ignorance of the law is not a defense and you certainly don’t want to spend resources trying to comply with the wring regulations!
Once you and your team know what you have to do and develop a system, you can then create a process to ensure that the system is applied and used every time. The key to regulatory compliance is making sure that the process you create is followed consistently. To be consistent, you will need a set of checklists, forms and other documents that state what your business is going to do, when and how. These are the documents your business will want to have organized and accessible so that you can show an auditor, if you ever get audited for compliance.
Developing a regulatory system that works is no doubt tedious and can be complex depending on the nature of your business, but it is manageable if you take the right approach. You are also building value and managing risk when you make an investment in your regulatory compliance systems.
As always, at Hunter Business Law we are here to help you, your business, and your team. We would be happy to work with you to develop the right regulatory system based on applicable regulations. We can also be engaged to keep you apprised of changes in regulations that impact your business over time.
Adam Hersh is a multi-state licensed attorney for Hunter Business Law. Adam has developed regulatory systems for businesses of all different sizes, from start-ups to publicly traded companies. Adam can be reached at 813.867.2640 or at email@example.com.