A guide to compliance officer skills for CVs (with duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 May 2022

One of the most important roles in any organisation is that of the compliance officer. Also known as a compliance manager or head of compliance, this individual is responsible for making sure that the organisation remains compliant with various licencing and legal requirements. To successfully analyse legal problems or regulatory concerns, compliance officers provide information and updates to other members of the team, including management. In this article, we explain what a compliance officer is, discuss some of the key compliance officer skills for CVs and outline the primary duties and responsibilities of compliance officers.

What is a compliance officer?

A compliance officer is a legal professional who works on behalf of an organisation to ensure that it complies with all applicable laws, regulations and standards. Compliance officers operate as members of a bigger compliance department or on their own, depending on the size of the organisation. The compliance officer role includes helping staff identify and mitigate regulatory risk. As a result, businesses that operate in sectors with complicated legal requirements particularly benefit from the employment of compliance officers. Compliance officers help prevent legal action, fines and other penalties stemming from failures to comply with rules and regulations.

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Examples of compliance officer skills for CVs

Collating various compliance officer skills for CVs remains crucial in strengthening an application for this role, allowing you to secure interviews with prestigious companies. Ensure that you tailor your CV to your intended position and that it includes various industry-specific abilities mentioned in the job specification. Some of the key skills for compliance officers include:

Related: How to become an auditor (qualifications and CV template)

Communication skills

Regardless of your organisation, having strong oral and verbal communication skills remains critical to succeeding as a compliance officer. It's essential that compliance officers implement effective communication techniques with company leaders and employees at all levels. This lets you clearly emphasise any actions that may help the organisation avoid significant legal penalties or fines.

Knowledge of risk assessment

Planning, identifying, monitoring, reporting, managing and assessing risks make up some of the phases in the risk management process that compliance officers familiarise themselves with. A company's compliance officer introduces these methods and also monitors their implementation process. Compliance managers, therefore, have a strong understanding of the laws and rules that apply to risk assessment and their interpretation.

Close attention to details

The majority of legislation, policies and procedures within an organisation require thorough investigation. As a result, compliance officers pay close attention to even the smallest of details. This ensures no detail on the policy or legislation document is overlooked.

Detailed understanding of security issues

As a precautionary measure, compliance officers familiarise themselves with a wide range of security concerns and policies. These may include fields such as control, laws, assessment, auditing report issues, evaluation and ISO standards. This ensures that, if the need arises, the compliance officer can deal with issues promptly and without delay.

Expertise in business and IT

Having a thorough understanding of information technology (IT) and business processes makes the auditing process run much more smoothly. Information technology tools remain connected to compliance, both as a field of compliance and as a means of completing various tasks central to the role. In turn, this helps a compliance officer perform more effective operations and reduce risks to the firm.

Competency in problem-solving

Compliance officers monitor issues related to regulations and business concerns to reach effective solutions. The business team relies heavily on the comments and procedures suggested by compliance officers, as this may affect business strategy. This, in turn, helps to ensure the safety of the business and minimise financial losses.

Ability to work in a team

A compliance officer's ability to multi-task and work in a team remains essential. Within this role, a compliance officer works with various teams and departments, potentially across a range of businesses. As a result, working well within a team ensures that projects run smoothly and everyone understands what to do.

Analytical skills

To handle complicated challenges within an organisation, compliance officers use their interpretation and analytical abilities. They also study individual components, debate difficult topics with team members and develop effective solutions to difficult problems. As they analyse and evaluate complicated issues, they draw upon risk management techniques, data analysis, regulatory interpretation and research skills.

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What are the responsibilities of a compliance officer?

Organisations hire compliance officers to guarantee their regulatory and legal health. A compliance officer is responsible for ensuring that a company's policies and procedures comply with external regulatory standards and internal regulations. Other responsibilities of a compliance officer include the following:

Recognising the structure of the organisation

A strong compliance officer is well-versed in all elements of an organisation's duties. They ensure this by communicating with all staff members, from entry-level employees to senior executives. A compliance officer's in-depth understanding of the business allows them to enhance the company's performance while still adhering to regulatory requirements. A compliance officer is also knowledgeable of the company's operations, from the selling pipelines to its advertising tactics. It's therefore critical for compliance officers to familiarise themselves with all aspects of a company's operations to effectively manage and minimise any regulatory issues.

Ensuring that everyone follows relevant rules and laws

Compliance officers navigate the complex web of legal and regulatory frameworks that exist in their respective organisations' industries. They know the fundamental principles that underpin rules and properly comprehend them to perform their duties. Compliance officers dedicate most of their time to this, alongside staying informed of further regulatory developments.

Examining the policy and process of the organisation

Compliance officers assist in the development and maintenance of effective processes and policies that ensure a company's compliance. As part of this, it's necessary to immediately address any infractions that occur and to aggressively mitigate the possibility of legal issues. Employees receive training from compliance officers to fully understand the organisation's numerous rules and processes. This also entails experimenting with alternative solutions to ensure that they function properly in a real-world setting.

Related: What is a compliance audit and when is one needed?

How to become a compliance officer

Compliance remains a rapidly expanding field in many industries. In fact, several recruiters claim that the compliance industry appears to be the most active in their area. Become a compliance officer by taking the following steps:

1. Obtain a bachelor's degree in business administration

Statistics, accounting, administration, management and economics make up some of the subjects studied as part of a dual degree programme to become a compliance officer. Business, healthcare, civil, criminal justice and environmental engineering are some of the degrees available to individuals who wish to pursue a career in the compliance industry. Obtaining a bachelor's degree takes you three to four years of full-time study.

2. Work experience and internships

To further your career as a compliance officer, you require substantial experience. You may gain this experience via internships. Through an internship, you develop vital skills and knowledge, and you also get the opportunity to apply what you've learned in the classroom to the real world. In particular, internships provide university students with valuable work experience. These opportunities introduce you to the duties and processes that compliance officers are responsible for managing.

By gaining this experience, you also get the opportunity to network with professionals in other sectors before commencing your job hunt. Internships typically take place over the summer and run for one term. Alternatively, they may take place in the spring or autumn. Students who participate in internships remain more effective in their jobs because of the extensive experience they obtain.

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3. Obtain relevant professional experience

Obtaining professional experience helps you reaffirm your interest in a sector or may lead you to explore other possibilities. The majority of bachelor's degrees allow you to maintain some level of career flexibility. For example, you may start university as an accounting student with the intention of working in finance, but if you change your mind and decide to work in healthcare, some of your skills and knowledge remain transferable.

Start working as a compliance officer by applying for positions that require less experience. Working as a compliance researcher, representative or associate is a good way to start in an entry-level position in your selected area. Alternatively, choose to apply for positions in other departments within your desired industry.