20 May 2013

The need to be vigilant

The position that most of us CMAs find ourselves in is the necessity of managing risks and ensuring that operations are properly kept under control (I guess that's why so many are controllers at some point in their career!). There are many instances that have flourished over the last few years about compliance with respect to:

The controls relating to all areas will only become more stringent over time. Financial institutions — who were already under a general duty to know their client — are now legally required to confirm identities of the principal players of the enterprise, be familiar with the nature of the business they are in, and know how funds will normally flow to and from the enterprise. That only makes sense, and any principals that wish to restrict access to such information will only find it more difficult to remain in business. Any unusual movements in funds that may occur without advising financial institutions will also attract unwarranted attention. I always advise executives and others in a controlling position to maintain an excellent working relationship with their bankers and other financial and legal advisers, in order to assure that any required financial transactions will occur without a hitch.

Bribery and anti-corruptions laws are being aggressively enforced in Canada, the US, the UK and other jurisdictions. They all tend to have a "long-arm" component attached, and must be taken into account in any corporate policy.

Economic sanctions are a critical area that all organizations need to be familiar with. I am not talking about controlled goods that are subject to special regulation in Canada and the United States: that is a special topic that affects a small set of business. There are many more that affect destinations and specific clients from which many organizations may receive orders and other contracts. As Canada's requirements are distinct from those imposed by the US, it is necessary for businesses to know what is required by each. It can be a minefield if you don't watch out.

Some companies have published compliance manuals in order to navigate this field, and they are worth checking out. However, any moves that organizations undertake should be vetted by properly qualified legal advisers (as well as other key players familiar with the subject).

No comments:

Post a Comment