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South Africa’s Compliance Landscape
In South Africa, the Generally Accepted Compliance Practice Framework (GACP) exists and it seeks to provide a set of standards and norms that act as a benchmark of compliance best practice. At their core the principles are there to create and maintain an effective compliance risk management framework. This internal framework would detail issues of governance, the responsibilities of management, independence (such as independent audits of financials, independent safety assessments etc.), and the duties of a company’s compliance officer.
The GACP was compiled by Ernst & Young in association with the relevant regulatory bodies for various industries. The Framework also seeks to provide compliance officers with a code of ethics and professional conduct to lead them in their day to day tasks.
In addition, the Framework provides compliance practitioners with actionable standards and implementation models for their respective organisations. For instance, there is a guideline in the Framework regarding managing conflicts of interest.
The Difference Between Compliance Management and Reputation Management
Compliance Management should not be confused with reputation management. Reputation management is outward-facing whereas compliance management is inward-facing. Reputation management happens mostly online whereas compliance management, although also concerned with a brand’s reputation, is a legal and financial regulatory framework within an organisation.
King IV™: The Next Generation of Governance
To supplement the GACP, South Africa has a second widely used corporate governance resource called King IV™. King IV™ considers shifts in the approach to capitalism, and new corporate governance developments such as effective governing bodies, increased compliance requirements and the emerging risks and opportunities of new technologies.
King IV™ spans SMEs, NPOs, SOEs, Municipalities, and Retirement Funds. Similarly, to the GACP, King IV™ contains principles and recommended practices for achieving governance outcomes. The report was released in November 2016 and was effective for the financial year beginning in April 2017.
As a result of these governance-based resources, South African organisations can base their strategy, policy, oversight and accountability functions on workable principles and recommendations. The perceived outcomes are, among other things, an ethical work culture, good employee and business performance, effective business controls and legitimacy.
Why Compliance Matters for Your Brand?
That last outcome mentioned above is important because legitimacy in any industry is what ensures a good reputation not just within the company, to your employees, but outside as well. Employees will more than likely be proud to work at a legitimate, fair business with a transparent compliance matrix than at a business which conducts itself unethically. This also translates to trust from other organisations seeking to do business with yours, giving you further legitimacy.
Although becoming a compliance practitioner requires a specific skillset and disposition, anyone with an interest in governance and ethical business practice can upskill themselves in the latest developments in organisational governance. Online short courses in compliance, are able to equip those who are new to the organisational requirements of the compliance function or existing employees who would like to strategically shift their roles into compliance; with the necessary skills to interpret, assess and report on compliance shortfalls, and make recommendations.