Staying compliant with the law is important -- but how do you keep up when the rules of business regulation are ever-changing, especially in this era following Brexit?
Industry regulation, labour legislation and reporting requirements are constantly changing, and missing deadlines can result in serious repercussions, incurring fees or penalties for your business. As a result, your company's reputation might even get compromised and you would have to spend lots of time and effort to get your organisation back into compliance.
While upcoming important filing dates and fulfilling all regulatory obligations may seem overwhelming, a compliance calendar can help you stay organised and manage your company's compliance plans.
If you’re ready for the next step, why not consider letting experienced accountants in the UK handle your paperwork so that you can focus on what you do best- growing your business. Otherwise, read on!
What Is A Compliance Calendar?
A compliance calendar tracks and centralises all of your organisation's required filings, deadlines, and related information so you can steer clear of any fines or penalties as a result of missing information or late filings.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Compliance Calendar?
Keep Your Business’s Data Secure
A breach of data at your small business can have far-reaching consequences, especially with the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in effect. Safeguarding your customers’ data is more important than ever and using a compliance calendar can shore up your company's data security.
Prepare For Compliance Reports And Audits
An organised schedule for compliance initiatives allows for transparency so your compliance auditors can see how your company is handling each compliance obligation.
Disseminate Compliance Information Throughout The Company
There may be times when your employee fails to comply with an obligation, possibly due to ignorance and not malice. With a compliance calendar in place, you can educate your company on the applicable compliance measures and ensure all your employees are kept up to date with the latest information.
If you tend to overlook or forget a task, a compliance calendar is just the solution. Make use of automated reminders of upcoming deadlines so you will always be reminded. Also, a centralised compliance calendar allows for all your employees to keep track of upcoming due dates and make sure that the required tasks are completed.
Allows For Proactive Compliance On Regulatory Measures
As regulations change, many businesses may find themselves trapped in the cycle of progressing from one event to the other, solving one issue only to discover another. However, a compliance calendar helps you plan ahead for your business's compliance needs and provides you with the chance to collect required data or allocate resources to adhere to the obligation.
Options For Your Compliance Calendar
You can manage your tasks in an Outlook Calendar. However, this option does not give you a clear overview of your regulatory requirements. As such, your tasks may run the risk of being overlooked, especially when there are upcoming birthdays or meetings that email calendars are typically used to track.
Spreadsheets such as Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel could be feasible when the number of deadlines and responsible personnel is limited. Nonetheless, when the number of tasks and responsible personnel increase, organising this data and upholding the spreadsheet’s integrity becomes a challenge.
If your company is of a larger scale or in a highly regulated industry, using software would be highly recommended. With a compliance calendar software in place, you can manage an unlimited number of tasks, effortlessly communicate your company’s compliance status through reports and dashboards, send automated reminders when there are upcoming or assigned tasks, delegate task ownership throughout the company, and escalate notifications in the event of overdue tasks.
Best Practices For Organising Your Compliance Calendar
Review Your Organisation’s Current Compliance Manual
All companies should already have a compliance manual in place. Start with this as you map out the year's compliance plan. Make sure that any new initiative or regulation is addressed by your organisation's policies. Additionally, check that on-the-ground compliance processes accurately reflect what is being outlined in the compliance manual.
Scrutinise Your Overall Compliance Program
Look into your current processes and review where you can introduce enhancements to any oversight of your compliance program. This is also a good time to remove outdated elements in your compliance program that no longer meet the needs of your company.
Organise The Frequency Of Tasks Based On The Needs Of The Company
Your compliance calendar may include tasks that are scheduled on an ongoing, monthly, quarterly or annual basis. The occurrence will be dependent on your business obligations to regulators and internal processes. As for high-risk areas, more frequent monitoring may be required.
Explore The Benefits Of Automation
Consider compliance tools to transition your company’s compliance calendar based on software such as Excel and Outlook to a centralised system to grant compliance officers and appropriate users access. This allows them to look into reports and make sure they meet your business needs and regulatory requirements.
Implement And Maintain Your Compliance Calendar
Once you have populated your compliance calendar, roll it out to your company. Make sure to provide training to your employees and educate them on how to access the compliance calendar and complete tasks etc. Set up recurring reminders or schedule a time for your employees to check the compliance calendar to review the upcoming deadlines.
Ensure your compliance calendar’s continued effectiveness by reviewing and updating it on an annual basis, when new equipment or processes are added, when personnel changes happen, when new permits are issued, or when requirements change.
What To Include In Your Compliance Calendar
Depending on the nature of your business and the kind of compliance dates your business faces, this can affect what you include in your compliance calendar. For different industries, filing timing and deadlines may vary – some are on an ongoing, monthly or quarterly basis.
Additionally, some business filing obligations such as permit renewals and licenses occur on an annual basis. A yearly compliance calendar can provide you with a bird’s eye view of these important annual filing deadlines.
Other crucial dates to include in your calendar are annual report filing deadlines, filings for a company meeting minutes and schedules, as well as any compliance-related special events.
For example, the new IR35 introduces a change in a piece of tax-avoidance legislation. Starting from April 2021, employers from the private sector have to adhere to the same rules as the public sector under IR35, which is also referred to as the ‘off-payroll working rules’. In other words, private-sector employers will have to determine if contractors will be continued to be treated as such, or risk incurring a heavy fine if HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) takes a different view and consider them employees with the additional responsibilities and costs it involves. Nonetheless, taking the appropriate steps can help your contractors and business ensure that they stay compliant with IR35.
Stay On Top Of Important Deadlines
We know how challenging staying compliant can be, but we are here to help. It is not always easy to stay on top of things with so much going on. Fret not and leave the pesky paperwork to us.
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