5 Anti-Corruption Compliance Best Practices

Anti-Corruption Compliance Best Practices

Scandals come in various magnitudes and can plague an organization’s reputation, leading to severe legal and financial consequences. As businesses increasingly compete in the global market, new risks can arise with different stakeholders that must be identified and managed appropriately. Let's explore some anti-corruption compliance best practices to ensure that your company takes a strong stance against misconduct to avoid detrimental repercussions.

Table of Contents

What is Anti-Corruption Compliance?

Corruption occurs when people abuse their positions of power for personal gain. In business, this can happen internally or with third-party relationships through misconduct like bribery, extortion, money laundering, and fraud.

Anti-corruption compliance, then, is about preventing these harmful behaviours. The best anti-corruption and anti-bribery practices consist of an extensive program built to avoid and adequately handle cases as they happen.

Why Do Companies Need Anti-Corruption and Anti-Bribery Programs?

These programs are vital for your organization because corruption scandals pose significant collateral consequences like legal penalties, shareholder suits, license suspensions, monetary losses, and a damaged reputation. Once branded by misconduct, this may further impede business growth as investors pull away and other development priorities slow to a halt

Anti-corruption regulations are getting more demanding in this increasingly globalized world. In Canada, corruption can be convicted under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA) and, in the United States, under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). If your company operates overseas, it must also comply with laws and regulations within those jurisdictions and do its due diligence to ensure it accounts for nuances across stipulations.

Five Anti-Corruption Compliance Best Practices

Having the right tools and adopting rigorous measures to prevent misconduct within your organization is crucial. This starts with implementing a solid program that uses anti-corruption compliance best practices for adequate prevention, identification, and response.

Communicate Expectations Through Policy

Preventing corruption within your organization begins with ensuring that everyone, at all levels of the operation, understands compliance expectations and the consequences of engaging in corrupt practices. 

Your organization must communicate its commitment to a zero-tolerance policy for misconduct to all stakeholders, including employees, customers, third parties, and others involved in business relations. A code of conduct or separate policy document should clearly outline expectations without ambiguous language. Ensure these files also outline the consequences of violations to deter unethical behaviour.

Policies for compliance can be specific to the positions held within the organization and align with the types of corporate misconduct like bribery, harassment, fraud, and insider trading. It is also vital to provide straightforward action plans for employees and other relevant parties to raise concerns without retaliation. 

Conduct Regular, Comprehensive Risk Assessments

Regular risk assessments are a crucial part of anti-corruption compliance best practices. Identifying and measuring risk helps address concerns before they damage your organization.

While there is no one-size-fits-all assessment, companies should be as comprehensive as possible and use multiple strategies. Such techniques may include rigorous interviews with management or other relevant stakeholders and analyzing third-party relationships or interactions with government officials.

Assessments should essentially identify red flags, evaluate how they may be harmful, take precautionary steps, and keep records of findings for future reference. Routinely reviewing reported misconduct cases is another good practice for identifying organizational cultural problems and trends of destructive behaviour.

Create a Dynamic Compliance Program

Risk profiles may change over time as your business expands to new territories, develops new relationships, or experiences employee turnovers. Therefore, an effective anti-compliance program should be flexible and adaptable. Reassess risks using the most current state of your organization as a benchmark. Identifying new red flags may subsequently require a change in auditing, monitoring, or other routine practices.

Maintaining a dynamic program also means that ongoing training and compliance reviews should be available for employees, management, directors, and third-party business partners, so they are equipped with the correct information to respond to suspicious activity. Training should be tailored for each role in the organization, including those outsourced, as different positions may face unique risk profiles. 

Additionally, as your business evolves, policies should be reevaluated and adjusted when needed. 

Have Adequate Detection Measures

Along with policy handbooks, risk assessments, and program adaptation, ensure that other internal control measures, like clear documentation of all transactions, are in place so your organization can detect and trace misconduct easily.

Fostering a “speak-up” culture may also empower employees to raise concerns without fear of retaliation. Systems like the IntegrityCounts platform and the WhistleBlower Hotline encourage anonymous reporting of misconduct and can help your business manage cases and uncover unethical practices before they become increasingly damaging.

The Way You Respond to Misconduct Matters

Effective response measures must be in place when issues arise. When cases come forward, it is essential to conduct internal investigations immediately. These investigations can be complex, depending on the nature of the problem, and should be independent and comprehensive.

All parties involved should be addressed and dealt with accordingly. Corrective action when evidence of misconduct is confirmed is imperative for effective anti-corruption compliance policies and procedures. Without responding swiftly and firmly, your organization may face repercussions related to reputation, investment, growth, and the law. Inadequate action may also encourage unethical practices to continue. 

Consequences should be fair but firm to deter recurrence. Internal policies and controls may also need to be reevaluated on a case-by-case basis to understand the environment that enabled the misconduct in the first place and to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

How Can WhistleBlower Security Help?

Ensuring you have anti-corruption compliance policies and procedures in place can help you deter behaviours, identify red flags, and respond before misconduct becomes more severe for your business. At WhistleBlower Security, we can help your organization measure compliance, manage records, and promote transparency. Contact us today to learn more about the solutions available for you and your company.


eBook: 10 Best Practices to Build a Strong Compliance Program
photo Amanda Nieweler
About the Author
Amanda writes for WhistleBlower Security about ethics, compliance, workplace culture, and whistleblower hotlines. Amanda brings her nearly two decades of risk and compliance experience to the WBS blog where she is dedicated to helping people and companies promote speak-up cultures.

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