By Adedoyin Adesina; Compliance Officer at Mono.
As a compliance officer, I am well aware of the challenges that come with ensuring timely and accurate regulatory filings. Missing a regulatory filing can have severe consequences, such as penalties, fines, and reputational damage. In my experience, it can be challenging to keep track of all regulatory filing deadlines and to ensure that all filings are made accurately and on time.
With this in mind, I have prepared this guide to provide valuable insights on how to ensure regulatory filings are done on time. This guide is a result of my personal experience and observations as a compliance officer. It outlines a step-by-step process that I have found to be effective in ensuring timely and accurate regulatory filings. Whether you are a new compliance officer or a seasoned professional, this guide will provide you with practical tips on how to meet regulatory filing obligations, minimize risks, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to meet regulatory filing obligations:
1. Create a Filing Schedule
One of the most effective ways to avoid missing regulatory filings is to create a filing schedule. A filing schedule is a detailed plan that outlines all regulatory filing deadlines and the necessary steps required to complete each filing accurately and on time. By creating a filing schedule, compliance officers can prioritize filing obligations and ensure that no deadlines are overlooked.
To create a filing schedule, compliance officers should start by compiling a comprehensive list of all regulatory filing requirements. This list should include the name of the filing, the due date, the agency responsible for the filing, the frequency, the email the report is to be sent to and any supporting documentation required. Once the list is compiled, the compliance officer should prioritize the filings based on the due date and the level of urgency and the consequences of missing the deadline.
Once the timeline is established, the compliance officer should document the filing schedule in a centralized location that is easily accessible to all relevant parties. This can be in the form of a spreadsheet, a shared calendar, or a compliance software system. The compliance officer should also communicate the filing schedule to all relevant parties, including executives, managers, and employees responsible for completing the filings.
Tip: The compliance officer should establish a timeline for each filing, taking into account the time required to prepare, review, and submit the filing. (If a report is to be submitted on Monday, you don’t want to start the preparation on the same day so input some time for prep, reviewing)
It is important to consider the amount of time needed for each task and to build in some buffer time for unforeseen circumstances.
2. Set Reminders and Alerts
Once you have created the filing schedule the next step is to set reminders and alerts. These can be set up in a variety of ways, including through email, text message, or a calendar notification. By setting up these reminders and alerts, compliance officers can stay on top of regulatory filing deadlines and avoid the risk of missing a critical deadline.
To set up reminders and alerts, compliance officers should start by identifying the key deadlines for each regulatory filing requirement. This information can be obtained from the filing schedule that was created in step above. Once the key deadlines are identified, the compliance officer should determine the best method for setting up the reminders and alerts.
One option is to set up automated reminders through a compliance software system. This system can be programmed to send reminders to the relevant parties at specific intervals before the filing deadline. Another option is to use a shared calendar system, where reminders can be set up to notify all relevant parties of upcoming filing deadlines.
In addition to setting up automated reminders, compliance officers should also establish a process for manual reminders. For example, a compliance officer may want to send a reminder email to the relevant parties one week before the filing deadline to ensure that everything is on track.
A simple way to create reminders is to set up the filing on your calendar as a recurring event and add multiple notifications (T-2, T-3, T-1) as many notifications as possible to ensure that it becomes impossible to forget.
3. Assign responsibility
Assigning responsibility for regulatory filings is a critical component of ensuring that filings are completed accurately and on time. Compliance officers should designate specific individuals or teams to be responsible for each filing requirement, and clearly communicate these responsibilities to all relevant parties.
When assigning responsibility, compliance officers should consider the level of expertise required for each filing requirement, as well as the workload and capacity of each individual or team. It may be necessary to assign multiple individuals or teams to a single filing requirement to ensure that it is completed on time and with accuracy.
In addition to assigning responsibility for each filing requirement, compliance officers should establish a process for monitoring and reporting on progress. This can include regular check-ins with responsible parties, status reports, and other forms of communication to ensure that the filing is on track and any issues are addressed in a timely manner. By assigning responsibility and monitoring progress, compliance officers can ensure that regulatory filings are completed accurately and on time.
Tip: This applies to small teams and individuals managing an entire department by themselves. Enforce accountability by creating submission trackers.
4. Develop a system for tracking and monitoring filings
Developing a system for tracking and monitoring regulatory filings is a crucial step in ensuring that filings are made accurately and on time. This system should provide a clear overview of all the filings required, their status, and who is responsible for completing them. By having this information readily available, compliance officers can identify potential bottlenecks and take corrective action to ensure that deadlines are met.
To develop a tracking and monitoring system, compliance officers can use a variety of tools, such as simple spreadsheets, or complex compliance software, or project management tools. The chosen tool should allow for easy tracking of deadlines, status updates, and completion dates. It should also be accessible to all relevant parties and updated regularly.
In addition to tracking and monitoring regulatory filings, compliance officers should also establish a process for reviewing completed filings. This process should include a review of the accuracy and completeness of the filings, as well as an assessment of any feedback or comments received from regulatory agencies. By reviewing completed filings, compliance officers can identify any areas that may require improvement and take corrective action to prevent future mistakes.
5. Stay informed and up-to-date on regulatory requirements:
To avoid missing regulatory filings, compliance officers should stay up-to-date with any changes in regulatory requirements. This can be done by regularly reviewing relevant regulatory publications and attending conferences and training sessions. Compliance officers should also consider joining industry associations or professional organizations to stay informed about changes in the regulatory landscape. By staying informed, compliance officers can ensure that they are aware of any changes in regulatory requirements and can update their filing schedule and reminders accordingly.
6. Establish a contingency plan for unexpected events:
Even with a comprehensive filing schedule, reminders, and tracking system, unexpected events can still occur that may result in a missed filing deadline. To minimize the impact of such events, compliance officers should establish a contingency plan.
Examples of contingencies may include a power outage, system failure, or natural disasters. In the case of such an event, compliance officers should have backup systems and plans in place to ensure that regulatory filings are still submitted on time. Additionally, compliance officers should consider conducting periodic tests of the contingency plan to identify any potential issues and ensure that the plan is effective in mitigating risks. By establishing a contingency plan, compliance officers can be prepared for unexpected events and minimize the risk of missing regulatory filing deadlines. Article on Managing Compliance Emergency can be found here.
Finally, regulatory filings are a critical aspect of any company’s compliance program. Missing a regulatory filing deadline can lead to serious consequences, including fines, suspension of company activities, and frozen accounts. However, by following the tips outlined in this guide, compliance officers can avoid missing regulatory filing deadlines and mitigate the risks associated with compliance emergencies.
By implementing these tips, we can avoid compliance emergencies and ensure that their company maintains a strong reputation for compliance. Additionally, a culture of compliance can be established throughout the organization, making compliance a priority for all employees. Ultimately, staying ahead of regulatory filing requirements can help companies achieve long-term success and avoid costly compliance failures.
Originally published by Adedoyin Adesina on Medium: https://medium.com/@adesinadedoyin/staying-ahead-of-the-curve-tips-for-meeting-regulatory-filing-deadlines-eba355568563
Reach Adedoyin Adesina on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adedoyin-adesina/