Despite the progress made in recent years in terms of business integrity, in reality a large number of small and medium-sized companies lack a compliance management system. This, evidently, shows not only the existence of practical problems in ensuring that all companies have compliance systems, but also the existence of latent risks for these companies in the face of any contingency in terms of business integrity.
In real life, having a compliance system in small and medium-sized companies is like having a vaccine in the event of an adverse contingency to our health. Business leaders would do well to question whether they are already covered in terms of potential administrative and criminal liability should any adverse contingency materialize in the areas of business ethics.
Despite the emphasis on compliance in recent years, there are still a large number of small and medium-sized companies that still do not meet compliance requirements. Despite the existence of legislation that requires effective systems of business integrity and free trade agreements that make it mandatory to have effective policies to prevent corruption, the vast majority of small and medium-sized companies in Mexico still do not have this, normative and internal managerial scaffolding. The reasons for this are multiple: lack of knowledge of the requirements, limited resources to implement the adequate systems, lack of a government support program, absence of effective business leadership, deficient or no training for managers and employees, prevalence of management goals. short-term and business priority considerations, among other reasons.
The reality is that the legal framework in our country establishes the requirement that legal entities have an effective and genuine system in terms of corporate integrity. It is not something optional, failure to comply with such requirements can lead to serious administrative and criminal penalties, both for companies and their managers and employees, as well as negative consequences for the commercial reputation of companies.
Compliance is an independent organizational function, as well as a powerful tool to promote best practices in corporate governance. A function that identifies, advises, alerts, monitors and reports compliance risks in companies, that is, the risk of receiving sanctions for legal or regulatory breaches, suffering financial loss or reputational damage due to failure to comply with applicable laws, the relevant regulations, the sectoral commitments of the chambers of industry and commerce, the internal codes of ethics and conduct, as well as the standards of good practices and other commitments voluntarily assumed. Hence, compliance is much more than complying with the law.
Therefore, it can be said that compliance tries to establish action policies and procedures to guarantee that companies comply with the regulatory framework and the best ethical practices, thus reducing the risks of legal breaches and other reprehensible behaviors that may be punishable and may lead to a bad reputation for the company. In essence, it is about having an internal regulatory, managerial and behavioral framework that guarantees that managers, employees and even stakeholders comply with the requirements not only of law, but also of good ethical business practices. Therefore, a genuine compliance system is much more than having a code of ethics and good practices, this is just the iceberg; In reality, what is sought is precisely to establish a "systemic" approach in such a way that it is implemented vertically and horizontally in all the functions, processes and activities of the company around the thematic axis of integrity.
A true compliance system must be effective, adequate, proportionate, reasonable and work in practice. In fact, these are the validation principles that regulators and prosecutors seek to evaluate a genuine compliance system in countries that already have a culture of compliance in business life. Thus, both the members of the governing bodies, as well as the directors and employees of small and medium-sized companies would do well to rush to immunize on time with the compliance vaccine.