Compliance officers to spark boardroom battles

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Compliance officers to spark boardroom battles

A turf war is predicted between traditional IT departments and compliance officers in large organisations as the newly formed internal regulatory watchdogs attract budget and resources once devoted to IT.

A turf war is predicted between traditional IT departments and compliance officers in large organisations as the newly formed internal regulatory watchdogs attract budget and resources once devoted to IT.

The prediction comes from a survey carried out by Critical Research for Achiever Business Solutions, a governance and regulatory compliance systems group. 

The results suggest that it is predominantly new regulatory compliance divisions that are controlling spend on compliance technology, and that this is frequently outside the control of IT executives.

Only 39 percent of spend on compliance systems comes from the IT budget, according to the survey.

Regulations such as Sarbanes Oxley have fuelled corporate paranoia about the adverse affects of failing to comply, including prosecution, heavy fines, adverse publicity and even jail sentences for directors.

This has given rise to a new breed of compliance officer with boardroom clout and command of budget whose role impinges on that of the IT department.

"Monies that would previously have fallen under IT executives' control are diverted into these new compliance divisions with decisions about the compliance systems chosen and the platforms used falling outside existing IT policies," said Robert Dent, chief executive at Achiever Business Solutions.

"This could lead to tensions as boundaries are redefined and room at the top is made for the new kids on the corporate block."

The average compliance budget across the population surveyed was £87,000 ($217,000) with a further £33,000 ($82,500) allowed for support and maintenance.

Overall, eight out of 10 companies thought that the regulatory burden would increase over the next two years, and nine in 10 felt that enterprise-wide compliance systems would ease the burden.

Over half expected compliance system budgets to increase, with the total budget of those included in the survey running at just over £70 million ($17.5 million).

Of those not using enterprise-wide compliance systems, 80 percent expected to be doing so within a year.
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