Your preparation for the CCO role, sorted

chief compliance officer (CCO)
chief compliance officer (CCO)


Your preparation for the CCO role, sorted

As the head of compliance at your organisation, you will be assuming one of the most critical positions on the management team. Yes, the chief compliance officer (CCO) oversees everything to do with compliance within a company – from laws and regulatory requirements, to the necessary and applicable policies and procedures.

By Charles Edelstein of Executive Placements.

Reporting directly, as you will, to the chief executive officer (CEO), you will be in charge of keeping both the head of your firm and the board of directors informed, and assured, about the way in which compliance-related policies and procedures are being: 1) understood, 2) respected, and 3) complied with across all individuals, teams and departments. It will also be vital to unpack and tackle – at this senior level – any challenges your company faces within the compliance space.

This will entail having a thorough academic and practical background in establishing standards, and implementing procedures to keep compliance levels as high as possible. You will also need to identify, prevent, and detect any forms of non-compliance that you are party to, so that these can be corrected to the best of your ability making use of the applicable laws and regulations of your region.

Corporate Compliance – defined

The experts at, who serve as a resource for learning professionals seeking information about best practice, advise that to remain compliant, a firm must “adhere to industry and organisational standards and/or policies”.

To be clear, there is a set of expectations – both internal and external – that employers put in place for their employees. From an external perspective, a business has simply to follow the law of the land in which they are based, and/or territories in which they trade. From an internal perspective, however, each business is able to design and implement its own compliance structure, to ensure a certain standard of behavior is adhered to at all times, and that illegal or unethical conduct is reported.

By helping your organisation to remain above board in all of its many initiatives, the rather extreme expenses of litigation and fines, such as those that result from tax evasion and fraud, can be avoided at all costs.

Compliance Risk Under the Spotlight

According to TechTarget, a US company that offers data-driven marketing services to business-to-business technology vendors, there are five common types of compliance risk:

  • corrupt and illegal practices, which may range from fraud, theft and bribery, to money laundering and embezzlement;
  • damaging environmental activities, including destruction to natural habitats and ecosystems, use of harmful chemicals, hazardous waste disposal, and the pollution of pristine groundwater;
  • violation of privacy laws, by not putting the necessary steps in place to protect sensitive data from the likes of hackers, viruses and the purveyors of malware;
  • omitting to follow workplace health and safety protocols, as enforced by occupational and food and drug authorities; and
  • process risks, where the established procedure is not followed when tackling a workplace task.

Once hired into a CCO job, your work will be cut out for you in “identifying, assessing and mitigating potential losses that may arise from [your] organisation’s non-compliance with laws, regulations, standards, and both internal and external policies and procedures”.

Remember that tracking changes in your working environment, as these pertain to compliance-risk management, must be carried out on an ongoing basis; and alterations may also be needed when new policies, directives and regulations are made externally to the law, or need to be implemented internally for whatever reason.

Because senior staff members across many departments have a role to play in your work, it will assist you greatly to be on good terms with the individuals heading up the legal, financial, and IT teams.

Key Duties and Responsibilities of a CCO

At MasterClass, a platform to facilitate learning from the industry’s top executives, the following four activities will form a regular part of your daily work:

  • reviewing new information from regulatory bodies, so that you can draw up or revise company plans to manage its compliance;
  • carrying out compliance-related training across all company departments, in partnership with the heads of legal and HR;
  • identifying problems or challenges related to company compliance requirements, and developing solutions in discussion with other C-suite executives; and
  • keeping tabs on any negative business results related to new or revised compliance plans, so that this can be communicated to the relevant authorities.

Your Qualifications and Experience

Begin your journey to the CCO’s corner suite by gaining a bachelor’s degree, potentially in finance or accounting.

Next, acquire as much on-the-job professional experience as you possibly can – say in an entry-level compliance position (compliance analyst or junior compliance specialist are perfect options for you). Here, you will hone the skills necessary to work your way up the compliance career chain, and will also familiarise yourself with the kind of work that lies ahead.

A postgraduate degree – such as an MBA with a compliance focus – is a cunning next step; it will impress potential employers, and show them the extent to which you are up to speed on the latest industry knowledge. Then, before applying for your CCO job of choice, be sure to spend some time honing your managerial skills, reveal the experts at job site Indeed.

A CCO who is also an astute manager, or who boasts well-developed leadership skills, will be able to communicate complicated compliance-related tasks in simple language; and will likely have the ability to get all company departments working swiftly and strategically towards an optimum end goal: a trustworthy and ethical business environment.

Recent Compliance Scandals in the South African News

Once you’ve assumed your much-longed-for CCO role, just one aspect of your daily work regime will involve keeping abreast of all the business scandals being reported on in your favourite online newsreel.

During 2022 alone, there were:

  • Tongaat Hulett’s accounting scandal, SA’s second largest after Steinhoff – which contributed to a 95 percent fall in the company’s share price;
  • Spar’s fraud charges – which were laid against senior executives by the franchise’s operators, the Giannacopoulos Group, as a result of false allegations that the grocer was owed money and could therefore gain control over certain branches;
  • the liquidation of Constantia Insurance Company Ltd, in the September of that year – after the company, which the Reserve Bank had apparently had its eye on for years, was liquidated by order of the Gauteng High Court due to breach of its capital requirements.