Compliance professionals are often misconstrued as ‘road-blockers’ in tech when, in reality, they are a critical cog in the industry.
When we think about jobs in the technology industry, our minds often go to the more traditional tech roles such as software developer, cybersecurity analyst, data engineer and so on.
Yet there are several other elements of the business that are often forgotten about but vital to the running of any major tech company, particularly risk and compliance.
Over the past decade, many tech giants have risen to become the most valuable companies in the world. In 2021, Meta, then known as Facebook, hit $1trn in value while Microsoft became a $2trn company. Apple hit the $3trn mark at the beginning of 2022.
Alongside this growing value, tech companies also face a significant amount of regulation, especially when it comes to innovation. It’s not just straight tech companies that have to think about this. Banks and financial firms are becoming tech companies too, making compliance professionals more important than ever before.
Clausematch is a regtech company that enables heavily regulated organisations to meet compliance obligations using an AI-powered platform. Its founder and CEO Evgeny Likhoded talked to SiliconRepublic.com about the importance of compliance in enabling these businesses to grow and develop.
‘Working in compliance, you also need good communication skills’
– EVGENY LIKHODED
“The role of compliance has evolved. The CCO is now much more frequently involved in corporate strategy. Compliance officers sit on the board and participate in making strategic decisions,” he said.
“The input made by compliance professionals is often not appreciated enough within companies. Meanwhile, it is exactly compliance professionals who are protecting companies and enabling their growth. Regardless of the structure and where it sits, a mature compliance function should have a ‘seat at the table’ in inﬂuencing the decisions.”
In February this year, Clausematch launched a new award campaign to show recognition to people in compliance. The campaign gathered more than 50 applications from various companies. Likhoded said its important to break down the misconceptions that compliance professionals are “road blockers” and instead start giving them the respect they deserve.
Working in compliance
Aside from the misconceptions around the work that they do, compliance professionals face their own challenges. Just like many tech professionals who have to keep up with the latest tech trends, those working in compliance have to keep up with the massive volume of regulatory change.
Over the years, the industry has also had to streamline its own processes and adopt technology. Before founding Clausematch, Likhoded worked in compliance departments in financial services and energy companies.
“A lot of the questions that regulators were asking were stored in Word documents. Processes were in chaos because every department in a large bank is actually doing its own thing and is working in silos,” he said.
“In 2012 global banks said, ‘We can’t use cloud. We’re not going to use cloud. We need to have everything on-premises.’ By 2016 every bank had a cloud strategy. Since then, we have seen compliance departments adopting technology at a very fast rate, especially in the last two years when people started working from home. Internal communication and internal collaboration on everyday changes were stifled.”
Compliance may not sound like a traditional tech role, but the evolution of the industry has made certain technical skills more important than ever. For example, data analysis and tech literacy skills are often crucial.
“People in compliance are increasingly in need of new skills to work effectively and efficiently with the use of innovative software and AI,” said Likhoded.
“Working in compliance, you also need good communication skills to know how to translate your expertise into information that is accessible across all levels of the business.”
In addition to knowing the laws and regulations in the specific fields, Likhoded said it’s important that those working in the industry understand how technology and software can help compliance departments be more agile.
“Compliance officers of the not-so-distant future will have a great understanding of how to apply technology in their role and how AI is already transforming their function,” he said.
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