Compliance Officer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Compliance Officer, or Corporate Compliance Officer, is responsible for overseeing an organization’s compliance with government laws and regulations. Their duties include coordinating with company management to identify potential risks, implementing policies and procedures to uphold laws and regulations and monitoring the company’s adherence to those policies and procedures.

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Compliance Officer Duties and Responsibilities

The daily duties and responsibilities of a Compliance Officer generally revolve around identifying and eliminating the risks of noncompliance, both externally and internally. Your job description should accurately describe the specific rules and regulations that the Compliance Officers must constantly monitor. Their most important duties and responsibilities are:

  • Develop internal company policies and see that they are respected.
  • Make sure the organization has a clearly defined program for complying with the country’s laws.
  • Constantly report to management concerning the organization’s compliance with laws and regulations.
  • Take action in dealing with noncompliance situations, creating realistic plans to overcome them.
  • Conduct regular audits to identify potential weaknesses and noncompliance situations.
  • Communicate with employees and make sure everyone is aware of what they need to do to comply with internal and external laws and regulations.
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What Does a Compliance Officer Do?

Compliance Officers typically work for corporations across industries to protect their credibility by maintaining safe and ethical business practices. They review financial statements, operating procedures and employee feedback to determine whether a company maintains legal operations. Their job is to identify areas of noncompliance and coordinate with management and employees to develop improvement plans. They may also visit departments or company branches to perform random internal audits to ensure compliance with laws and regulations at all levels of the company.

Compliance Officer Skills and Qualifications

A competent Compliance Officer needs a distinct set of skills to successfully perform in this role. The job description should include skills that are related to risk management, attention to details, successful communication with both upper management and company employees and high moral standards. The most important skills for a compliance officer are:

  • Risk assessment skills are crucial for a successful compliance officer as a large part of their work duties are identifying noncompliance risks.
  • Communication skills ensure that the compliance officer can successfully communicate their findings, ideas and plans to both management and employees.
  • Attention to detail is needed to spot certain aspects of rules and regulations that can easily be overlooked.
  • Moral integrity is important because the compliance officer typically needs to understand and promote the importance of complying with rules and regulations.
  • Problem-solving skills are necessary because many compliance issues have no straightforward solution and compliance officers need to find ways of complying with rules and regulations without negatively affecting the company’s operations.

Compliance Officer Salary Expectations

The average salary for a Compliance Officer is $62,693 per year. Wages can vary depending on many factors, like job experience, the size of the company, the sector the company is operating in or their geographical location.

Compliance Officer Education and Training Requirements

Compliance Officers typically require at least a bachelor’s degree in business management, law, finance, business administration or any other relevant field. Their training usually consists of working in roles that offer them experience in risk management and familiarity with specific legal requirements of a certain field of activity. Certain domains, such as banking, also require specific certification as a Compliance Officer.

Compliance Officer Experience Requirements

The Compliance Officer role is typically not regarded as an entry-level position and the job description should reflect that. Aside from the necessary degrees and certifications, aspiring Compliance Officers should have at least three to five years of experience in roles that directly exposed them to managing risks and ensuring compliance with laws and regulations.

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

The skill set and qualifications necessary for a Compliance Officer position can also apply to other professions. Here are other job description samples if this one is not quite what you were looking for:

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Frequently asked questions about Compliance Officers


What is the difference between a Compliance Officer and an Auditor?

Both Compliance Officers and Auditors work to ensure an organization’s adherence to laws and regulations, but their areas of focus and employment backgrounds differ. For example, Compliance Officers typically work as a permanent employee of a corporation to ensure their current and future compliance with laws and regulations. They also anticipate changes in laws and regulations and plan for new procedures based on those predictions. 

In contrast, Auditors typically work for financial organizations and government agencies. They perform audits either at the request of the corporation or a government body. During their audits, they review current and previous records to determine an organization’s compliance with current and past regulations. Therefore, Compliance Officers are forward-focused, whereas Auditors are past-focused in their job duties.


What are the daily duties of a Compliance Officer?

On a typical day, a Compliance Officer starts by checking their email and voicemail to respond to time-sensitive messages from upper management. They also use this time to review their schedule for meeting times. Throughout the day, they participate in meetings with company Executives to go over new employment laws, transportation and manufacturing standards and other types of government regulations. Compliance Officers use the time between meetings to visit with department Managers and obtain financial statements and other documents to review.

During downtime in their office, Compliance Officers review these documents and compare them to current legislation. They make a note of any troubling activity to report to upper management. Compliance Officers also draft reports or memos to help employees understand how to comply with laws and regulations.


What qualities make a good Compliance Officer?

A good Compliance Officer has a strong ethical code that motivates them to identify instances of fraud, safety issues or environmental concerns and report them accordingly. They have excellent verbal communication, which allows them to speak with company executives, employees and external professionals. They also have excellent written communication skills to write reports and policy documents that enforce laws and regulations within the company. Further, a good Compliance Officer regularly reviews state and federal news to identify new rules that apply to their company and its industry.


Who does a Compliance Officer report to?

A Compliance Officer typically reports to the Chief Operating Officer (COO) within a corporation. The Chief Operating Officer oversees all company practices and procedures relating to daily operations, so Compliance Officers regularly interact with them and notify them of noncompliance issues. In smaller corporations, a Compliance Officer may report directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to determine compliance needs.

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