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Five must-haves for ensuring legal compliance

Five must-haves for ensuring legal compliance

Disregarding legal compliance is never an acceptable practice in business. With regular legislative updates, not forgetting the financial implications of non-compliance, it is increasingly important for companies to implement a solid compliance management system throughout the organisation.

“While companies can strive to be legally compliant in all operational matters, the actual administration of the task requires practitioners to be kept up-to-date, which can prove challenging without the right kind of help,” said Greg Brown, Director of LexisNexis South Africa’s Risk Management and Compliance division.

“Each business has its own set of compliance requirements to adhere to based on industry and service offerings, and failing to comply can mean serious repercussions for the company,” said Brown, adding that companies need an overview of their legal compliance position against any Act, standard or best practices.

“To ensure compliance, companies must be kept alert when legislation has changed to avoid referring to outdated legislation - and there are tools available to do the groundwork of on-going monitoring,” said Brown.

Brown recommended investing in software that covers the following:

1. User-friendliness

Investing in software that is too complicated for a business to implement can prove ineffective and worse, costly. To avoid these pitfalls, solutions need to be user-friendly, efficient and should include system support.

2. Adaptable, integratable and configurable

Solutions need to take the burden out of knowing the law with a flexible set of software modules that can be used as standalone tools or as an integrated system which effectively manages all aspects of the organisation’s compliance needs. Configurability allows the clients to tailor the system according to their specific needs.

3. Risk assessment

Businesses should invest in solutions that put them in a position to assess their risks and conduct internal audits, with results that drive mitigation and actions for continuous improvement.

4. Reduces incidents

Every incident has a business impact. Apart from the human suffering and morale issues they also cost time and money. Solutions must help a company track down the root cause of an incident and make fast, focused interventions that result in substantial decreases in similar occurrences.

5. Central information hub with seamless integration 

An intelligent compliance management tool should make it possible to have all the company’s vital information in one place and easily accessible.

“In short, businesses serious about legal compliance need tools that not only tell them the risks of not being compliant, but also provide step-by-step information on how they can rectify matters,” said Brown.

One of the tools LexisNexis South Africa has in place to put businesses back in power when it comes to compliance, is LegalEasy 2.0, a powerful online web-based compliance system developed in partnership with specialist web and mobile solutions company, Flux.

“A solution like LegalEasy 2.0 seamlessly includes all South African acts and by-laws purchased by the client into  a Legal Register that maps the legislation per business unit or function. Users can include other documents such as ISO standards, and potentially other African and international legislation as required,” Brown explained.

LegalEasy 2.0 content is updated automatically as soon as new legislation is passed. The content is further enhanced to include plain language interpretations and standard audit questionnaires or checklists.  . “The solution is further complemented by MyLexisNexis, a portal to South African jurisprudence documents, legal cases, annotations, commentary and key analysis of court procedures,” Brown added.

Written by Greg Brown. He is responsible for the strategic direction of LexisNexis South Africa’s Risk Management and Compliance solutions as well as company strategy and innovation. He holds a B.Com honours degree (University of Natal) and MBA (UCT).