How to become a compliance analyst in 5 steps (plus tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A compliance analyst is a person who ensures a company is following all the laws, regulations and standards applicable to their industry. This means their particular focus is on making sure their company has all the necessary documentation for all its processes and procedures. As a compliance analyst, you ensure all employees are properly trained so they're not at risk of breaking any of these rules. In this article, we look at the steps necessary for becoming a compliance analyst.

What is a compliance analyst?

Compliance analysts are typically responsible for reviewing documents that contain sensitive information about a company's operations. They do this so they can ensure they're acceptable in the eyes of the law. Analysts assist other employees as they complete forms or create templates for use within the organisation. It's also necessary for compliance analysts to be knowledgeable about current regulations related to their area of expertise so they can recognise any changes made by government agencies over time. This is important as it can affect how companies operate within their industry sector.

How to become a compliance analyst

Here's how to become a compliance analyst in five steps:

1. Get a BA in the field you seek work in

It's key to get a BA in the field you wish to work in before becoming a compliance analyst, as this gives you the knowledge necessary to understand the content and processes of the job. For example, to become a compliance analyst, it's necessary to know how companies work and how they're regulated. It's also necessary to know which kinds of activities are important for compliance. For this, an analyst translates complex legal documents into simple language.

Although compliance analysts tend to come from a more financial background, they're also found in various other industries. For example, this may include insurance companies, real estate brokerages and pharmaceutical giants. In some cases, this may mean the degree studied varies. Before choosing a degree, it's best to explore this further, as potential courses include:

Accounting and finance

A BA in Accounting and Finance is a vital prerequisite for becoming a compliance analyst because it provides the necessary background knowledge of the field. The coursework in this degree programme gives students a solid foundation for understanding how companies work so they can make decisions. Additionally, it helps students understand how to manage money, which is crucial for this job. For example, students learn about taxation, investments and other financial issues fundamental to being an analyst. This degree also provides the opportunity to specialise in areas like auditing or tax law.

Related: Q&A: what can I do with an accounting and finance degree?

Business administration

A BA in Business Administration is also essential for becoming a compliance analyst because it provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the role of compliance within a company and how it impacts the business as a whole. Business administration also provides students with an understanding of accounting, finance, management, marketing and quantitative analysis. This teaches students how to identify problems and develop solutions that help companies become more profitable. Throughout this degree, students build up a knowledge of computers and programs like Excel, which are necessary for a career as a compliance analyst.

Related: A guide to administration vs. management in business

Chemistry

A degree in chemistry helps students understand the scientific principles behind certain elements of pharmaceutical businesses. It also helps them understand the chemical composition of products and how they react to other chemicals or products. It may be best to combine this degree with a finance or business course.

Related: A guide to chemistry degrees: modules, careers and salaries

2. Gain experience in the field

It's advisable to gain experience before becoming a compliance analyst because the job requires working with many different people and departments within an organisation. A compliance analyst is usually expected to communicate clearly and effectively with clients and other staff members. This means it's best that students have some experience communicating their ideas in a clear manner. In addition, gaining experience before becoming a compliance analyst helps students understand how companies work on a daily basis. This knowledge allows them to determine whether they would like to pursue this career path or not.

The best way to gain experience before becoming a compliance analyst in an insurance company is to work in the industry. This is because it allows you to back up your theoretical knowledge with on-the-job experience. Although it's possible to get a job as a compliance analyst without any experience, it's much easier to get the job if you already have some. There are two key ways to gain experience: internships and volunteering. Internships can help you learn about how companies handle their compliance issues, while volunteering can give you hands-on experience with types of insurance policies.

Related: How to answer questions focused on 'Why commercial law?'

3. Pass the Certified Compliance Analyst (CCA) exam

It's key to pass the CCA exam before becoming a compliance analyst as it's a necessary component of your professional development. Passing the CCA exam means you can understand and apply the concepts, principles and practices of information security compliance. It also means you understand other aspects of the job, such as privacy laws, relevant regulations and general information security topics, such as incident response and risk management.

Here are some general tips to help you prepare for the CCA exam:

  • Focus on the difficult topics so you have a comprehensive understanding of all course areas.

  • Get plenty of sleep the night before so you're well-rested for the exam.

  • Remain calm during the exam so you approach questions in a balanced way.

Related: Internal auditor qualifications (with duties and skills)

4. Obtain an Internal Auditors' professional qualification

An Internal Auditors' professional qualification allows applicants to display an understanding of the financial systems, processes and procedures of a company. Internal auditors are typically required to identify areas where there's room for improvement whilst also determining whether those areas are being met. They have a thorough understanding of how audits are generally conducted and what constitutes an effective audit. The internal auditing qualification shows applicants have the communication skills necessary to present their findings.

Tips for preparing for this qualification include:

  • Start early with your exam preparation as this gives you enough time to research each component of the exam.

  • Practise exams by completing previous ones to familiarise yourself with the questions you can expect.

  • Ask questions when you don't understand something so you have a comprehensive understanding of all topics.

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

5. Obtain a Certificate in Company Law qualification

It's key to obtain this qualification because it gives students an understanding of the laws in place and how they apply to different situations. It also gives them a foundation of knowledge in regards to how businesses interact with each other. This enables students to analyse situations and determine whether they comply with company law. It's also key for compliance analysts to understand the laws that apply when dealing with different organisations, such as banks and other financial institutions. This enables them to analyse transactions and determine whether they're legal.

Tips for preparing for the Certificate in Company Law qualification:

  • Use flashcards if you learn most efficiently by repeating information.

  • Familiarise yourself with the format of the exam ahead of time to become comfortable with it.

  • Create a study timetable to ensure you have enough time to learn each exam component in depth.

Related: 9 career options for finance law specialists

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Explore more articles