Tips for Compliance professionals in their 20s
If you’re starting out in a career in compliance, there are some key things to know if you’re planning on being successful. We share our tips and advice which every discerning 20-something compliance professional needs in their back pocket.
The first, and perhaps most important point, is practical experience. It is recommended to get to know the business in a wider sense before throwing yourself straight into compliance. Working in the business adds another string to your bow and helps you understand the business so that when you’re looking at the compliance aspects you can provide more value than just compliance.
Being involved in different guises across the business will enable you to gain a far deeper appreciation of the many parts that make up the whole. This will then give weight to your understanding of the need for compliance in any one area and your recommendations around how to implement the compliance policies would be more valuable because you might be able to have an efficiency angle, or profitability angle etc. Bringing that front office experience into a back office function is hugely beneficial because one can’t be effective without the other.
Keep the importance of holistic business insight in mind when looking at options for advanced education. Law or accounting may offer some of the skills you’ll need in a compliance role but a business degree will give you a far better platform. An MBA or MA or M.S. in Finance will furnish you with more than just the specifics of basic law and balance sheets to enable you to progress through the business into a senior compliance role.
Think about risk. Compliance and risk management go well hand in hand when it comes to the governance of an organisation. Of course this is where legal expertise comes into its own in helping the business understand the wording laid out by the regulator and applying the law as directed. However, where a compliance professional needs to be more than just their legal experience is in setting up compliance processes and policies and understanding the drivers of the business, in addition to how the compliance can interplay with the business.
Network network network. The relationships you foster are crucial to the success of your compliance career. This all comes back to gaining on-the-job practical experience and learning the ins and outs of the business. Doing this will help you relate to all the different people you cross paths with, from those at senior executive level to your peers and those at the hierarchical base of the company. Effective networking helps you to master your ability to be proactive, market yourself and demonstrate how you can add value to the business.