The State of Corporate Compliance in 2014

By Rick Bell Monday, March 10, 2014

More than 40,000 new laws and regulations became effective on January 1, 2014.

Get ready to surround yourself with experts. As a successful American entrepreneur, you’re going to need them. You’re going to need HR experts, healthcare regulation experts, tax experts, compensation experts, and the list is going to get longer, not shorter, in the years to come. If you don’t have these experts in place to guide you into strict compliance, you could get into a heap of trouble. Without even knowing what you did wrong, you could be fined by the government for non-compliance and sued by a disgruntled employee – or a group of them - for discrimination.

Get ready for regulators to surround you. If you’re a very successful American entrepreneur, you’re going to have HR regulators, healthcare regulators, tax regulators, and compensation regulators frequenting your office and, if you’re not in compliance, you’ll be subject to some hefty fines, a world of legal fees, and possible jail time. You know who the regulators are already. They are sometimes referred to as the Three Letter Agencies. Quickly identify the real names of the following federal agencies: IRS, DOJ, DOL, PSC, EPA, FCC, FAA, FED, FTC, FDA, and SEC - and these are only the federal regulators. Your state government has its own regulatory agencies as well.

Let me ask you this: "How many of the 40,000 new regulations are you familiar with?" You see, that's the scary part.

Big companies like Paychex see your future already. You think of Paychex as a payroll service, and they earned their excellent reputation managing the payroll process for companies. Payroll is where many entrepreneurs who try to comply on their own get caught up in a stormy sea of debt and liability, and end up crashing and burning. I believe Paychex has done a great service in enabling literally thousands of entrepreneurs to reach their full potential in business by keeping their payroll 100% compliant. In my dozen years of using them, they have been 100% prompt and secure.

Now, they have transformed their services from that one simple task to providing you with experts in the field of compliance with HR laws.

Small local companies who want to help you with compliance are also cropping up everywhere across the country.  Smart guys and gals who used to be health insurance underwriters and sell health insurance have been reborn as compliance experts. They can’t make money selling health insurance anymore, so they will be making money helping you understand your health insurance compliance obligations.

Let’s say you fire someone who doesn’t want to work and doesn’t fit into your organization, but you do it wrong and you lose your temper in front of other employees. They used to go home and find another job. Not anymore. One call and he’s the poster child for why you don’t deserve to own a company…on the Internet.

Let’s say you forget to distribute your company’s policy manual to your new employee or, even worse, you don’t have a company policy manual. You never needed one before. Good luck answering to the discrimination police when they call you in for an interview. It won’t be a friendly chat.

In short, wake up! Call in the experts that are going to be on your side now, while you’ve got time to learn the new language they are speaking. Hire them to help you. Have them conduct an audit on your company’s HR compliance. Consider the changes they recommend.

Regulation is necessary, we can all agree on that. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but it can become a big problem if you don’t have the expertise on board to keep your company compliant.

*Disclaimer*: Harvard Business Services, Inc. is neither a law firm nor an accounting firm and, even in cases where the author is an attorney, or a tax professional, nothing in this article constitutes legal or tax advice. This article provides general commentary on, and analysis of, the subject addressed. We strongly advise that you consult an attorney or tax professional to receive legal or tax guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. Any action taken or not taken based on this article is at your own risk. If an article cites or provides a link to third-party sources or websites, Harvard Business Services, Inc. is not responsible for and makes no representations regarding such source’s content or accuracy. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Harvard Business Services, Inc.

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