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Four Ways To Know You Need A Mobile Compliance App

If your job is to convince upper management or colleagues of the need to invest in a mobile compliance capability, keep reading

As we discussed in this space last week, the case for a mobile compliance capability is strong  if not necessarily intuitive. With a good case made, then, for why your enterprise financial firm’s compliance program will benefit from such a capability, we thought we’d offer some ways to specifically pinpoint said need. Maybe it’s your job to convince upper management that a mobile compliance app is worth the additional cost. Or maybe, being the skeptic any good compliance officer worth her salt likely needs to be, you’re still in need of some convincing yourself. Either way, we’re here to help.

If your firm is putting more and more people on the road, there will almost certainly be less opportunity for them to linger luxuriously over their laptops—seated comfortably and logged into your compliance platform—and complete their compliance-related tasks. Whether it’s properly pre-clearing personal stock trades, logging gifts-and-entertainment spending, or diligently staying on top of their escalated-requests queue, a mobile compliance capability will give your on-the-go employees more opportunity to do the compliance-related work they need to do. In 2018, 52.2% of all online traffic worldwide was conducted on mobile devices.1 It’s a mobile world. You can fight it or deny it, but you’re better off making the most of it.

Related to the issue of an increasingly mobile workforce is the issue of an increasingly offsite workforce. You may imagine your work-from-home employees dutifully at their desks eight hours a day, hovered over their keyboards and never wavering for a minute from their assigned tasks. But that’s not even the reality for a fully office-bound employee. Everyone gets up and down from their desks throughout the day, and a telework employee may be tasked with the duty of picking up a child from school, or may trade their lunch hour for a long walk. Again, rather than fighting reality you’re better off giving your offsite employees the opportunity to stay compliant in the way that’s easiest for them: the way that maximizes their participation, whatever they happen to be doing when they don’t answer their IMs.

Worldwide, Millennials will make up 35% of the global workforce by 2020. Generation Z, the next up-and-coming worker cohort, will make up another 35% of the global workforce by that time.2  Stereotypes aside, there does seem to be more of a need for instant gratification amongst these two groups. As workforce demographics change, needs and expectations also change, and employers must rise to the occasion and recognize and meet them. Utter convenience is what Gen Y and Gen Z know, and mobile solutions are an increasingly big part of that equation.

It’s the eternal lament and challenge of compliance officers everywhere: employee participation in the compliance program isn’t what it should be, and we’re running out of ideas for how to boost it. Making compliance simple and easy matters, which is exactly what mobile apps do for offsite and on-the-go employees. But a mobile compliance capability shouldn’t be underestimated for the effect it can have on any employee. If you, the reader, are at work in an office right now, take a look around and see how many people have their smartphones sitting right next to their desktop computers, then take note of how often they swap back and forth between them. Smartphones are so increasingly ingrained in people’s lives, employees are just as likely to tackle a task on their cellphone screens as they are on the 32-inch monitors sitting two feet from their faces. It’s a mobile world, even when it doesn’t have to be.

A flashing, screeching alarm bell like this one can point to a number of problems, one of which is poor data accuracy, which itself can point to a number of problems, including critical data not being entered into the compliance platform in a timely manner, if at all. You probably see where this is going. Those increasing numbers of offsite or on-the-road workers may not be getting around to asking for the pre-clearances your code of ethics requires or logging the kind of activity that completes your firm’s data picture. Similarly, your line-level supervisors may not be getting around to investigating and closing out in a timely fashion the escalated requests your compliance platform so dutifully generates.

The simpler and easier compliance can be for anyone at any level in your enterprise financial firm, the better for the overall performance of your compliance program. A mobile compliance capability can help close system gaps and complete the compliance officer’s, and hence the firm’s, information circle, and can therefore make all the difference when it comes to the firm and individual employees staying on the right side of regulators. Mobile apps have made much of what we like to do and need to do on the web simpler and easier. This is as true for financial compliance as anything else, and why wouldn’t it be?