THE ECONOMIC AND HUMAN IMPACT OF COVID-19 HAS BEEN IMMEASURABLE. AS AN INTERNATIONAL COMPLIANCE AND ETHICS CONSULTANT, HERE’S MY LIST OF TOP FIVE ISSUES FOR ANY BUSINESS OR CORPORATION IN NEXT FOUR YEARS.
By: BRANDON SPOONER
Corporate Integrity & Anti-Corruption Consultant
1. NEED FOR INNOVATIVE GOVERNANCE
The pandemic has shown us that home office has yielded more productivity and reduced operational costs. However, governance risks have intensified: instances of abuse of power, falsification of reports, “creative accounting”, and other transgressions of company trust have increased. Resources and funds will need to be allocated to Governance in areas like data security infrastructure, updated standards of conduct, accounting, and third-party due diligence.
2. DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AND DATA PROTECTION
The Colonial Pipeline hack highlighted the high risks of cyber-attacks and security. According to a Price Waterhouse Cooper article, the estimated cost of fraud for the past 24 months is $42 billion. It will be critical to integrate cyber and fraud controls particularly for consumer transactions, data, and internal operations. Data and cryptocurrencies as payments create a new reality for AML, corporate ethics, and compliance pros.
3. EMPLOYEE HEALTH AND WELLNESS
The pandemic and isolation raised our awareness of mental health illnesses or crises, and overall health and wellness awareness. The political and socio-economic issues, loneliness and depression, racial tensions, even fear of returning to work post Covid will continue to affect employees. Companies like IBM and some federal agencies have implemented wellness programs and incentives like online workshops for meditation or PTO for working out.
4. ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING POST-BREXIT
Organizations must prepare for more stringent AML and data privacy measures. Business Conduct standards that aggregate global requirements and compliance; effective training and communications; internal detection mechanisms will be integral to effective compliance programs and ethical cultures.
5. ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURAL IDENTITY POST-COVID
What’s your corporate cultural & ethical identity? Corporate activism in response to a myriad of social, political and human rights issues made headlines. It is imperative to be more diverse and inclusive. 2020 spotlighted harassment, discrimination and disparities based on race, gender identity and age. The result: millions allocated for diversity and inclusion initiatives. Diversity is being on the guestlist for the party while inclusion is having input about the menu and which band/music gets played.