- ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW
Virtually all business activities conducted in the United States are highly regulated, not only by governmental entities, but by professional entities as well. Compliance with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations is a prerequisite to the long term health and survival of a business. Also important is compliance with standards issued by the professional and accrediting bodies responsible for licensing and certification. Certain industries are more regulated than others. For example, health care, financial services, and public utilities are all highly regulated with extensive licensing and operational standards. When a business fails to comply with all applicable regulations and standards, the business and the individuals who manage it can face a variety of sanctions, from loss of license and program certification, to civil and criminal sanctions, including monetary penalties and prison.
This assignment is designed to inform you about emerging careers in compliance. The compliance function is a critical function for management professionals. All businesses must comply with a variety of federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and failure to do so can result in severe negative consequences. To help you get acquainted with the compliance function, you will visit several websites providing a glimpse into the field of compliance. “This field exists to prevent harm at its source and to make powerful organizations safer and more ethical. Many people may expect their government can protect them from the harm corporations and large organizations can cause. But it is the nature of government and the legal system to always be reactive. Compliance and ethics professionals offer a link to the regulatory world that can allow government regulations to work.” (Joseph E. Murphy and Joshua H. Leet, Building a Career in Compliance and Ethics: Find your place in the Business World’s Hottest New Field, Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, 2007, ISBN 978-0-9792210-0-2. (To order this publication, contact Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics, 1-952-933-4977,
- LEARNING OBJECTIVES
By completing this assignment, students will accomplish the following:
- Gain increased awareness of the U.S. regulatory environment generally, and of the role of the compliance function;
- Gain increased awareness about emerging careers in compliance and ethics, including job titles, job functions and salaries; and awareness of the tools available to assist management and compliance professionals in adhering to laws and regulations;
- Demonstrate critical thinking (evaluation) skills by articulating the student’s personal observations about, as well as reactions to, compliance as a component of professional business practice (as assessed by the College of Business Critical Thinking-Evaluation Rubric, included in the course syllabus and incorporated into the Assignment Grade Form);
- Demonstrate effective written communication skills (as assessed by the College of Business Writing Rubric included in the Course Syllabus and incorporated into the Assignment Grade Form).
III. STEPS FOR COMPLETING & SUBMITTING THE REPORT
STEP 1. Learn about Compliance in the Context of corporate governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC).
For brief background information, read the items listed below. You do not need to read each one in detail, nor will you be required to include all of this material in your report. The purpose is to learn about compliance as an on-going essential business activity, and to find resources serving as a portal to primary sources for future use. I find them all very interesting, and after looking at each, you will have a good overview of the increasing significance of compliance functions for U.S. businesses.
- Google GRC .
[NOTE: NEVER quote from or cite Wikipedia in any academic or professional paper; it is not a credible academic research source! It can be useful in locating quotable, scholarly, primary sources.]
Read the first page/section which defines the term “Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance.” Have you ever heard this term before? You need to know what it means in order to understand the systems approach to compliance which is becoming the norm in today’s legal environment of business.
- An interesting federal government website is www.dol.gov/compliance/. This site, Compliance Assistance, links you to major Department of Labor laws by key laws, by audience, and by topic and resources. For example, for those of you interested in (or working in Human Resources), under Compliance Assist Resources, click “Employment Law Guide.” For those of you interested in starting your own small business (or currently working in a small or family business), under “By Audience” click “New and Small Businesses.”
- Compliance is now a profession with thousands of certified professionals working in many industries. For information on the compliance profession generally, check out the two websites below:
(1) www.careerbuilder.com. (You may need to type this website address in as opposed to copy and paste). Type in the jobs box “compliance” and type “Houston, TX” in the location box, then hit Search. Open up a few of the job postings to get an idea of what this emerging compliance industry is all about. Better yet, type in “entry level compliance” in Houston, and see these openings! Most interesting! As you will see, many of these positions pay over $100,000/year.
(2) See the file posted in the Assignment folder entitled Compliance Jobs and Internships. Scan the titles of these positions to gain an awareness of how necessary the compliance function is in all kinds of industries.
(3) Visit www.corporatecompliance.org to learn about this professional organization. Select the tab “About SCCE” and read this. Then select the tab “FAQ” and read these Q and As. This organization offers training conferences and tests that would permit you to earn your certification as CCEP, a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional. Certification can be a stepping stone for career change and/or enhancement, regardless of the industry you work in now or seek to enter after graduation. There is also an international designation for positions in multi-national corporations, the CCEP-I, if International Business is your interest.
- Some industries are more advanced in their compliance and ethics efforts than others. The health care industry is a perfect example. Check out the Health Care Compliance Association . Click on “About HCCA” and read the paragraph about this group. As you can see, there are associations of like-minded professionals who engage in continuing education and training so as to excel in their roles as compliance and ethics professionals.
- There are numerous associations whose sole focus is assisting businesses in compliance activities. For example, the Open Compliance and Ethics Group is a large non-profit engaged in compliance and ethics support activities.
STEP 2. RECENT COMPLIANCE PROBLEM & ENFORCEMENT ACTION
Part 1: Read about the current enforcement efforts by the U.S. regarding finding and prosecuting violators of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (that is, regarding U.S. companies who pay bribes overseas to obtain business). A recent article is posted in the Report assignment folder. This gives you an idea about the approach to enforcement in the U.S.
Part 2: Using one of the websites below (or other website of your choice), read about a recent (within the past 30 days) compliance breach, enforcement action, agency and/or court decision, that took place in an industry of interest to you. Be sure to cite your website’s URL so that I can locate the article. Answer the following questions:
- Identify the industry in which the compliance problem occurred or was alleged to have occurred.
- What is the non-compliant behavior? When did happen? What laws or regulations were allegedly not followed?
- When did the regulatory agency and/or court take action on this behavior?
- What penalties and punishments resulted from this behavior?
- What steps will be taken by the company to prevent the behavior from happening in the future?
STEP 3. YOUR OPINION ABOUT COMPLIANCE
Think about the information you have read in the compliance websites in Step 1, and about the compliance breach and enforcement action you read about in Step 2. Answer these questions:
- Prior to this assignment, did you know the term GRC? Did you understand the role of compliance in business, and how it relates to Governance and Risk Management? If yes, what was your understanding of GRC, or compliance, risk management, or governance specifically?
- Prior to this assignment, were you aware that compliance is becoming its own industry?
- What were some of the jobs from the career builder website? Do you think one of the listed jobs might be in your future after graduation? Why or why not? What do you think about the salaries you were able to find?
- Overall, what is your opinion about the role of compliance in business today? As a manager, how do you think you will approach the compliance function?
- Do you have any additional thoughts about compliance (and/or GRC) in the U.S? Share those here.
STEP 4. REPORT DOCUMENT REQUIREMENTS: CONTENT & FORMAT
The report should be written and submitted in a manner consistent with the following specifications:
- Use Complete Sentences and Correct Writing Mechanics
Use complete sentences, though listing of specific duties is permitted or requirements is permitted. See the Writing Rubric posted at the end of the course syllabus for guidance on writing mechanics to be assessed. To improve your writing skills, take advantage of the writing tutors. They are available for face to face meetings 3 afternoon and evening per week at the Northwest campus in room 12.351. To schedule an appointment, go to uhd.mywconline.com, or call 713.237.5400, or visit uhd.edu/northwest. For tutoring in the downtown location, go to the Writing Center in the Academic Skills Lab (920N), but call 713-221-8669 for an appointment. If you review your draft report with a writing tutor prior to submission, and you submit documentation of at least one visit, then no points will deducted for errors in writing mechanics.
- Report Content & Format
The body of your report must be a minimum of 2-3 single-spaced pages (12 point Times Roman font, 1 inch margins for all margins). You may exceed the minimum length if needed. You may reference the websites within your text (as opposed to creating a Works Cited page).
Title Page – The Report’s title page is separate from the body of the report and must contain the following information in the following format:
Course Name and CRN:
Report Submission Date:
Format the body of the report with these subheadings and content:
Recent Compliance Problem and Enforcement Action
Refer to Assignment Section III Step 2 Part 2 questions; your responses go here. If you cannot answer every question, simply state your article did not address that issue.
My Opinions About the Recent Problem and Enforcement Action
This is your opinion, based on the industry, the regulations, the non-compliant behavior, etc.
My Opinions About the Role of Compliance in Business
Refer to Assignment Section III Step 3 questions; your responses go here.
STEP 5: REPORT SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS (Follow directions 100% or points will be deducted).
- Save your report as a Rich Text Format (rtf) file or a Microsoft Docx file. Name the report (your last name)_(your first name)_(Report). Example: Smith_Bill_Report. Do not use ( ) around your names.
- Submit your report through the Blackboard assignment tool. Submitting prior to the due date through my UHD email account will not count as submission. You must submit in Blackboard’s assignment tool. If you do not know how, please ask.
- NOTE the submission deadline on the Course Calendar. Please plan accordingly. LATE submissions are accepted by the date/time on the Course Calendar, not thereafter. Submit late reports through Blackboard message entitled “Late Report.” Do not wait until the last hour of the last day as your computer could crash, Blackboard could go down, you could attach the wrong file, we could lose electrical power, and any number of other reasons why you could miss the deadline. Professionals plan ahead.
- REPORT GRADE RUBRIC
The Report Grade Rubric was composed with the COB’s Writing Rubric and the Critical Thinking-Evaluation Rubric in mind. This form, posted in the Assignment file, will show you how many points are assigned to each listed criterion or report trait. I will record your score on each criterion, and you will be able to view grade rubric points and my overall comments once your report is evaluated. Access this feedback through the Report Grade (view attempt) in your Grade Book. As to your writing mechanics, I strongly urge you to take advantage of the Writing Center tutors. You can do so in person or online. Why run the risk of losing points for writing errors when you can review your draft one time with the tutor and document the visit (the tutor sends a confirmation email or give an visit/review confirmation listing the activities undertaken in the session). If I receive documentation of your visit, no points will be deducted for any errors I find in your report.
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