If you haven’t done an audit of the time your team is spending managing compliance, I guarantee that it’s more than you think — and probably by a surprising amount.
Your compliance team exists to protect your organization from certain risks. Ironically, you’re introducing a different kind of risk in the form of unnecessary man-hours and labor costs. Your CFO can tell you about the impacts that unaccounted time and expenses have on a business.
Let’s take a look at some of the hidden areas where you’re most likely bleeding time and thereby money — and what you can do about it.
Common Time and Money Wasters in Compliance Management
If you’ve been managing compliance for years, you can probably do some reasonable estimations of the man-hours your team puts into compliance activities — as long as things go smoothly.
But there are always surprises or unexpected developments that slow down your team’s productivity. Those interruptions are happening all the time, and they add up quickly. Here’s a few examples.
Impromptu status updates
One of your biggest problems is simply knowing your compliance status — specifically:
- What tasks are completed
- Which ones aren’t
- Status of those open tasks
- Who is assigned to them
Tracking compliance status is your biggest problem, because you have to do it frequently, and it takes several hours just to wrap your arms around a simple question: What’s our status?
You probably have a pretty good idea of how long it takes to determine the status of your compliance engagement. But you may not realize how often you’re doing it on the fly.
The boss stops by your desk and asks where things are at, not realizing that that simple question will take hours of data gathering, checking with teammates, and manual calculations.
Those unexpected status checks can accumulate quicker than you realize. Each one could take two to five hours of your time, and it wouldn’t be unusual to have numerous impromptu status checks per compliance cycle on top of your normal weekly cadence. You’re easily burning more than a week of work that got buried, simply due to statu schecks of your team’s progress.
How much time is lost, simply because your team members have a hard time remembering what passed muster with the Assessor last year? You might be surprised.
Even after several cycles of managing compliance, it’s easy to forget what you did the year before. So your people spend time hunting down answers, retracing their steps, asking you for reminders about what passed last time around. And when you can’t remember either, both of you are now looking for answers.
Multiply this lost time by every requirement where someone needs help.
The Rock Solid Business Case for Compliance Management Software
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Employee turnover is a reality that affects your productivity. New team members need to get onboarded, and veteran people take their accumulated knowledge with them. It takes time to train new people on your process and to bring them up to speed. In fact, it could be years before they can operate at the level of the person they replaced.
Most compliance managers don’t take that extra time into consideration when estimating manual efforts, but those are real hours that add up.
That’s not all!
Those are just a few of the top time wasters that fly under the radar — and there are plenty more. You don’t know about them, because you don’t really see them. But they’re there, and they accumulate quickly.
How to Save Time and Labor Costs on Compliance
Get your finger on the pulse of the actual time your team is spending on compliance management. From there, you can begin to fix the problem — with more dramatic results than you might expect.
Gather time data
Start by tracking the actual time your team is spending on compliance management activities, down to the minute. Set up a time tracking system that’s easy to use, and make sure that you collect the information at least once a week. Have your team members tag their time by category, so that you can easily identify patterns and trends.
Sample categories could include:
- Evidence collection
- Status calls
- Vendor reviews
Keep your team accountable for capturing their time AS THEY’RE WORKING — not afterwards, when it’s easy to forget. It’s tedious, but the data will be incredibly valuable and enlightening. And it’s only for a limited time, until you have enough data to extrapolate to an entire compliance engagement. Collect information across the active team members in the first few weeks of your annual compliance run, for a couple weeks in the middle, and another couple weeks near the end (when it’s always the craziest). From there, you can do the math to gather up the realistic numbers by phase of the annual compliance engagement.
This exercise will give you a decent picture of who was spending how much time doing what. You will probably be surprised by the cost you’re sinking into each annual engagement.
Find the patterns
Review the time records each week and look for the patterns that stand out — especially the ones that you wouldn’t expect. Certain categories may rise to the top, signaling your biggest opportunities for improvement.
Have conversations with people on your compliance team to get the stories underneath the data:
- Specifically, what were their activities?
- Why did such-and-such activity take so long?
- What happened, or didn’t happen, that slowed progress down?
- What internal or external resources did they rely upon to help with various activities?
- Did they involve other people in your organization who aren’t on your team?
Take corrective actions
As you get a good picture of the situation, you’ll gain an understanding of the main problem areas. Dig below the surface issues to discover the root causes. Some questions to ask:
- Was it only one or two people who drove up the number of hours spent? If so, why is that? Maybe they’re new, or maybe they encountered a specific roadblock.
- What is the root cause of the issue?
- Is this a process issue? Technology issue? People problem?
- Is this an addressable issue? Can we do something to reduce the time spent, moving forward?
- What are three to five possible solutions? Don’t be satisfied with the first solution you arrive at — there may be a better way to resolve the issue that doesn’t immediately come to mind.
Now you can begin taking corrective actions. Develop a plan of attack, and track your results to see how much time and operational costs you’ve saved.
Automate Your Compliance Management
Process changes and policy decisions will take a bite out of your wasted time and expenses, but there’s only so much they can do to trim the fat. As long as you’re relying on a manual compliance management system, you’re ensuring extra work for yourself. Manual tasks are slower as well as error prone — which means you’ll find yourself going back and fixing your mistakes. Not only does that slow you down, it makes compliance management painfully onerous.
An automated compliance management system streamlines your process, takes the drudgery off your plate, and reduces your labor by as much as 65 percent.
For example, TCT Portal automates the tasks that currently waste most of your time:
- Real-time status updates are available at a glance
- Mapping between certifications eliminates duplicate efforts
- Automated notifications keep your team accountable and updated for you
- Centralized data repository organizes all of your submitted evidence in one central hub so you never have to hunt down documentation
- Historical records that you can review to see exactly what passed muster with the Assessor last year
- Easy report generation spits out complete, fully formatted reporting with the click of a button
- Operational mode so you’re always on top of your periodically required tasks throughout the compliance cycle to stay on track
Want to see exactly how much time you can be saving with TCT Portal? You could be surprised. Check out our ROI calculator and discover the time (and cost) savings your company can enjoy.