Well, the vast majority of businesses make the mistake of only having one or two of these systems in place, when really, all are essential and most are a legal requirement:
- Policies – These are the guidelines for your business and there are quite a few which you are required by law to have in place.
- Procedures – These are the clearly defined steps that back up your policies, again there are quite a few which you are required by law to have in place.
- Processes – These are the step-by-step actions that need to be taken to fulfil a specific procedure. Well-written processes help you to understand what to do next and who is responsible.
- Contracts – Such as business terms and conditions, option agreement and sole agency agreement etc. Be aware that misleading or unfair contracts could cost you a heavy fine or the loss of a deal and your hard earned sourcing fee.
- Documents – Such as response letters for complaints etc. For compliance you must have an ‘In-House’ complaints procedure in place or you risk expulsion from an Ombudsman which makes it illegal for you to continue operating your business.
- Guides – Such as a ‘company introduction’ sheet as to what your company does, In-House complaints process, information about EPC’s etc. Once again, some are a legal requirement.
- On-Going Training – Ensure that you and your staff have received and have logged any necessary training. To be compliant you must have an up to date staff training record for your company.
- Email alerts & Notifications – It is essential that you stay up to date with any changes in legislation, regulation and codes of practice.
- On going monitoring of existing clients (investors) and their transactions. This is a requirement in law, which for serious failures carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
- A system to hold your data captured, such as names, addresses and emails. The system must be able to show how you deal with clients for example, clearly show your client due diligence process, evidence gathered and your reasons for working with the client, or not.
Could your company survive a heavy fine, unlimited in some cases or even being sent to prison for serious breaches of some regulations?