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What every business needs to know about compliance

by Craig Temple

Compliance is perhaps one of the most widely discussed and poorly understood issues in the business world.

It’s a vague, catch-all term for a very specific set of regulatory issues that are of very real consequence to your business.

Because of the high-profile political discourse surrounding issues like healthcare, banking regulation and enterprise tax fraud, a disproportionate amount of focus is often placed on these areas of compliance. Chances are when you hear the phrase, it’s in reference to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act – better known as Sarbanes-Oxley or SOX.

This can lead many small and midsize businesses to mistakenly think that compliance isn’t something they need to pay much attention to. However, just because you’re not a publicly traded company or in a heavily regulated industry such as healthcare doesn’t mean that you’re in the clear.

Compliance is something every company needs to account for to some degree, and insufficient preparation or poor records management can prove incredibly costly and disruptive to your business. More to the point, ignorance of the law is never a viable defense when the regulators come knocking.

​The issue of compliance is often both complex and opaque for a small business owner.