Is wasting time an issue for Compliance? It could be – to find out how, read on…

How much time do your colleagues waste looking for documents?

It’s a perennial problem. Your Marketing Manager is looking for that sales presentation…that brochure…that product flyer – and they KNOW it exists. But can they find a copy, in print or on the system?

They’re up against a deadline. There’s pressure to find the collateral and send it on.

So, what happens? Rather than spend more time searching, they recreate it. Or cobble together parts from a couple of existing documents they CAN find. Job done.

In businesses, this type of scenario plays out every day.

Research by office product firm Fellowes shows that office workers across the UK waste over 1 million hours a week searching for misplaced documents. They estimate that this is costing UK businesses £20 million a year in wasted time.

The research also found that half of UK workers have documents that are over a year old on their desks.

What has this got to do with the Compliance team?

While at first glance, office disorganisation may not seem an issue for your team – it is. Chaotic filing and storage, whether in hard or soft copy, that makes it difficult to find documents can easily lead to regulatory breaches.

First, in the creation of documents.

Say you work for a consultancy or adviser. One of your consultants or advisers is going to visit a client, and wants to take along a copy of a slide deck they remember seeing.

But nobody in the Marketing team is around to direct them to a hard copy, and they can’t access the file on the system. Either they decide to go without, or they take the home-made route, creating their own version.

And here the problems begin.

There is every chance that they will find outdated corporate data – AUM, office information, performance statistics – in previous documents, and copy that into the one they’re creating.

Then there’s branding – which can often cause as many Compliance team rejections as regulatory breaches.

Without easy access to the professionally-designed document, or templates that enable them to recreate it easily, people tend to take matters into their own hands. Stretched logos, off-brand fonts, unapproved imagery – the list of potential branding misdemeanours is long.

How to tackle document disorganisation

The good news is that, although chaotic document management can impact good governance, there are some simple actions Compliance teams can take to tackle the problem.

  • Improve the way you file existing documents

Having an ordered way of storing financial promotions is important, and not just because it saves colleagues time.

Keeping a compliant audit trail is an essential step in meeting FCA financial advertising requirements. And as we’ve said, making it easy to find existing, compliant collateral makes it far less likely that people in your business will go off-piste to create their own.

Make it easy to create compliant new documents

Create a searchable online library of pre-Compliance-approved wording, data and other content so people can find the information they need without coming to you. Ensure that on-brand templates, with correct fonts and imagery, are readily available.

Make the approval process intuitive and straightforward

Being unable to find the right documents can be a problem if people’s response is to create ‘home-made’ versions.

Any branding and regulatory issues this creates are then amplified if they fail to send their new documents past your team, where you might expect mistakes to get picked up. Make your approvals process as seamless as possible to prevent people skipping the necessary Compliance sign-off.

The benefits of an organised approach

Whether documents are lost in a disorganised office, or buried in an unintuitive online filing system, marketing, sales and other corporate documents that are hard to find can create problems for Compliance teams.

With robust marketing compliance increasingly important in a world of growing legislation and regulatory expectations around good governance, this is not good news.

Get it right, on the other hand, and you will reap the benefits. This blog on how to achieve best practice digital asset management has more tips.

And if you want to find out why more and more Compliance teams are turning to automation to increase regulatory compliance when producing, approving and archiving financial promotions, you can contact us.

We offer a complete solution with a range of self-service, cost effective, Regulatory Compliance and Marketing products and solutions including copy advice that are uniquely suited to supporting firms. Explore our full range today.

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