Compliance is an essential but challenging part of business ownership. There are many laws, rules and regulations to understand and ensure that your business complies with. The consequences for not complying with the law can be severe, so it is crucial for any business owner to fully engage with compliance for the good of their company viability.
Here are some of our top tips to help you keep your SME compliant.
Stay In The Know
The first step to compliance is being aware of the rules and laws that you must follow. This can be challenging as laws change often. It may help to set aside time each week to review the changes in the law that may impact your business or industry. If you can, hiring a compliance officer can help keep you updated on developments in your area.
Secure Your Data
Data protection is one of the critical areas of compliance that all UK businesses must adhere to. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulates how companies can use, store and obtain customer data and provides extensive protections to customer information.
You should protect any customer information you store. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines, so you will need to ensure that you have the best security in place, both for physical documentation and cloud storage.
Consider An External Audit
An external audit is an excellent way to take stock of your internal processes. External auditors will be able to review your business and identify any areas of concern. This will enable you to stay compliant and resolve any issues before they become more significant.
You should do careful research into the auditing company you choose to ensure that you get the best out of the process. Azets are an excellent example of professional external auditors who will work with you to get your company processes up to the highest standard.
Train Your Staff
Every member of your team has a part to play in ensuring compliance. It is crucial to give your employees the knowledge and skills they need to keep your business compliant. Training is an excellent way to ensure your staff know what is expected of them and empower your team to work at the highest compliance levels.
There are many options available for training your staff in compliance. It is worth researching the different educational materials out there and selecting the ones with the greatest relevance to your business.
Structure Your Company
You will need a proper business structure to ensure that you comply with the right rules and regulations. For instance, the rules for a sole trader are different to those for a limited company. Having a clear structure for your company can help to ensure that you comply with the various regulations that apply.
Create A Clear Health And Safety Policy
A health and safety policy will enable your staff to understand the rules and regulations they need to follow. You should consider setting out the procedure in a company handbook that they can refer to if unsure. This will also help you, as a business owner, comply with staff safety at work regulations. You can find templates and guidance online from the government to help you get started.
Understand Your Financial Requirements
Finances can be tricky for small businesses, particularly if you don’t have a head for numbers. However, understanding your finances is crucial, so you must do what you can to comply with financial regulations.
It may help to enlist the help of professional accountants. This can help you comply while leaving you free to do what you do best and run your business. Hiring an accountant may seem costly, but it is definitely worth the investment when the risks of poor accounting can be even more expensive down the road.