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Small Businesses Need Compliance Programs, Too

There’s a good chance you’re thinking that your small business doesn’t need a compliance program. Think again.

Federal regulations of the U.S. Sentencing Commission require that a business maintain an effective compliance program to qualify for steeply reduced legal penalties for violating federal law. I can’t think of a business that isn’t regulated by federal law at some level, so your business is at risk and these regulations apply to you.

To benefit from reduced jail sentences and monetary penalties under these guidelines, your business must have an effective compliance program. This is true even for small businesses, which are required to demonstrate the same degree of commitment to compliance as large organizations.

Compliance programs for small businesses don’t need to be complicated, overly formal or expensive, though. And you don’t need to hire an internal staff of compliance professionals.

Begin by establishing your core values and then communicate these values, your culture of ethics and your expectation of legal compliance throughout your organization and to your outside business partners. Start building the foundation of your compliance program with a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and build from there.

It’s a relatively small investment with a return that can mean keeping you out of jail and preserving your financial and reputational well-being for years to come.

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