Who Is a Compliance Consultant and How to Become One
A compliance consultant fulfills a crucial role in helping an organization stay compliant with regulations and laws. Compliance consultants ensure that an organization is adhering to all regulations, laws, and best practices by providing training, conducting audits, and making recommendations.
This post will define what a compliance consultant is and how to become one. You’ll learn where you can find a job as a compliance consultant, the qualifications necessary for employment, how much you may earn as a compliance consultant career path, and more.
What Is a Compliance Consultant?
The term "compliance consultant" was first used to define those individuals who worked with corporations and government agencies in order improve the overall compliance efforts of an organization. These individuals were referred to as compliance counsel by Arthur D. Little in his book, The Role of Compliance Counsel in a Changing Business Environment. The term was later defined and expanded upon by Dr. Reed Hopper of Sandler & Travis, Inc., author of "Professional Standards for Consulting." Dr. Hopper created the Comprehensive Compliance Process (CCP) to help guide organizations through their compliance efforts. It is important to note that the CCP is not a standardized model and that each organization will adapt it in its own way.
By definition, a compliance consultant is an individual who helps organizations stay in compliance with regulations and laws. The position is designed to be flexible, meaning that a compliance consultant can work for an organization as long as the organization's needs mandate.
Compliance consultants may either work at the management level or at the tactical level. Those working at the managerial level are typically tasked with creating a strategic compliance plan and ensuring that it is executed by all staff members. Tactical consultants are responsible for performing audits and making recommendations based on audit findings.
How to Become a Compliance Consultant
If you’re interested in becoming a compliance consultant, you need to determine if it is the right career path for you. The first thing you should think about are the different types of jobs that are available within compliance consulting. Do you prefer working at a management or tactical level?
While there isn’t a specific certificate or degree that can prepare you to become a compliance consultant, many schools offer courses and programs relating to compliance if you are looking for college-level education. There are also many certifications that you can earn such as the Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP) or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) to help set you apart in the workplace.
In addition to education and certification, you will be required to have a certain amount of experience in your field. This experience can range from years of managerial or tactical work, depending on where you choose to work within compliance consulting. Some industries require more experience than others, but generally speaking many compliance consultants start with a minimum of 3 years of experience.
Qualifications for Employment as a Compliance Consultant
There are a few qualifications that every compliance consultant should possess. These include the ability to work in a variety of environments and cultures, as well as the capacity to work with people of varying demographics, backgrounds, and personalities. In addition to these basic qualifications, each industry will also have its own set of skills that a compliance consultant must learn before beginning a job in that particular industry. Other common qualifications that you may need to fulfill include:
· A willingness to succeed: Compliance consultants need to be self-motivated, hard-working, and business-minded. While the job is a very rewarding one, compliance consultants need to be willing to work long hours and travel extensively in order to meet their goals.
· Good communication skills: Compliance consultants interact with a wide variety of people each day and must be able to adapt well when dealing with different personalities. They must also have strong presentation skills and the capacity to engage in meaningful conversations on behalf of an organization.
· A high aptitude for mathematics: Many companies and industries require compliance consultants to have a strong grasp of mathematics and statistics in order to keep track of data and trends.
· Knowledge of the regulatory requirements of your industry: Compliance consultants working within certain industries such as banking, insurance, finance, healthcare, or healthcare must be able to acquire knowledge regarding the regulatory requirements of that industry.
· A willingness to travel: Compliance consultants are frequently required to travel across the country and even internationally in order to conduct audits and make recommendations.
· Good written and verbal communication skills: Since compliance consultants work with various people from a variety of cultures, backgrounds, and personalities, it is imperative that they are able to write well and speak clearly in order to effectively communicate with their staff.
Job Outlook for a Compliance Consultant
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of compliance, quality, and safety officers will grow by 21% over the next decade. This is much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations, which is estimated to be 11%. As previously mentioned, there are several different types of compliance consultant positions available and each one will grow differently. For example, jobs in government agencies and management consulting firms will experience slower growth than their counterparts who directly work within an industry. But the best way to judge what jobs are open in compliance consulting is to look at the industries that are growing the fastest.
In terms of size and growth, healthcare is currently the second largest industry in North America, with a projected growth rate of 11%, according to statistics from The Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is followed by government agencies with a projected growth rate of 9%. The area with the highest growth is retail trade, which will experience an explosive growth rate of 34% over the next decade. If you are looking for a job in compliance consulting, it is best to opt for an industry that is either experiencing high growth or that has a large size.
Salary and Earnings in Compliance Consulting
In general, compliance consultants make between $60,000 and $130,000 per year. Most jobs are full time and require about 40 hours per week on average. The highest paying job for a compliance consultant is a healthcare quality management specialist who earns around $95,000 per year. The lowest paying job is a management consultant with a salary of between $45,000 and $55,000 per year. The average salary for all those working within compliance consulting is around $92,000 annually.
Prospects for Advancement and Career Development
Many people who have a degree in compliance or other related fields then choose to move into management consulting positions. For example, a CPA may choose to become an auditors within the finance sector. If a compliance consultant decides that they would like to move up in their career path, most jobs will require additional education. But the fastest and simplest way to become the best at your position is by working within your industry. In other words, if you are a compliance inspector in healthcare, then you should work closely with healthcare professionals so that you may gain insight into their problems and how to rectify them. If you are an auditor looking to take on a leadership role within an organization, then joining the audit committee is a great way to start.