Case in Point: Lessons for the pro-active manager, from our friends at Auburn University

Published Date: 
Monday, August 1, 2016

Case in Point:
Lessons for the pro-active manager

July 2016
Vol. 8 No. 7
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.” 

-- John F. Kennedy 

In June we concluded our analysis of articles we linked in Case in Pointduring 2015. This month we turn our attention back to the topic of compliance. As we've previously stated, the compliance category has been our largest for the past few years, and it has also experienced dramatic growth in importance for higher education institutions. Higher education is perhaps among the most regulated industries in terms of the sheer volume of regulations which apply to it, and this can be overwhelming. It is therefore important we utilize best practices to manage our compliance efforts.

While it may seem ironic, today's best practices for organizational compliance are found in the U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines. There are generally seven best practices recognized that can be found in these Guidelines. One of these best practices, "Response & Prevention," touches on the organization's responsibility when it becomes aware of a compliance failure, and what it does in response to that incident.

Inherent in this best practice is the need for the organization to cultivate a culture where all employees feel comfortable in reporting potential compliance problems to appropriate personnel. Awareness accompanied by inaction is a dangerous thing in today's compliance world. Within Case in Point we've linked multiple stories during the past few months where an employee (or employees) became aware of a potential compliance failure but chose inaction - leading to substantial financial, reputational, and legal risk to the institution. Inaction and failing to report potential offenses is not a viable option in today's world. Failure to act appropriately may lead to mandated oversight which is substantially more cumbersome and expensive in the long run. The best course is to always appropriately report the issue. 

We invite you to review the news stories in higher education we link below and consider how you can best proactively manage risk.

M. Kevin Robinson, CIA, CFE
Associate Vice President
Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy