Like a gift that keeps on giving, compliance efforts now can provide long-lasting benefits into the new year.

I have written before about the guidance document from the U.S. Department of Justice that was issued in February of this year regarding compliance programs. More recently, in October, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein left no doubt in widely reported remarks that “deterrence requires enforcement through penalties decision-makers are unwilling to pay.”

That is tough talk and should be enough in itself to convince not just compliance officers but also their fellow management that it is time to take stock of the company’s compliance program. Assurance that a compliance program is the shield you expect it to be, and possibly even a sword to strike down the enemy at the gate, should be on every company officer’s wish list this holiday season. (And yes, I was thinking about The Nutcracker with that sword reference.)

So, in that holiday spirit, and with an attempt to mix some metaphors to cast off the gloom of shortened daylight, I bring you my own version of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” My list is inspired by the DOJ’s “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs” memo. For brevity (and to spare you and me both), we present the list from the most beautiful 12th night:

On the 12th day of an investigation, my compliance officer gave to me:

12 no-finding conclusions …

11 M&A integration points …

10 third-party vendor controls …

Nine incentive measures …

Eight continuous improvement opportunities …

Seven investigation procedures …

Six training and communication protocols …

Five risk assessments …

Four risk management processes …

Three approval/certification protocols …

Two root cause procedures …

And a program that will stand up to scrutiny.

It is a stretch to read that to the tune of the song in your head. But I bet you did, didn’t you? Although we’re having some fun here, there are serious takeaways for your organization: Pulling off that wish list is ultimately not too difficult or expensive. It can be done.

So, with that as inspiration, my wish for you this holiday season is that you are able to turn your fellow officers’ holiday wish list into YOUR compliance department’s New Year’s resolution – thereby defeating the Mouse King and dancing victoriously through the entirety of the new year.

Jane Lewis-Raymond
704.335.9882
janelewisraymond@parkerpoe.com