Hiring a Compliance Officer? Answer These Questions

By Robert Half on October 23, 2014 at 7:00am

The need for professionals experienced in regulatory compliance has only grown since the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Recent and ongoing mandates, along with regulatory issues at banks, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and increased enforcement, have reinforced how crucial expert compliance officers are to organizational success.

Given these dynamics, there's a good chance your firm will face stiff competition when hiring a compliance officer. To attract and land top performers for compliance officer positions, answer the following questions:

1. What will a compliance officer bring to my organization?

The compliance officer is responsible for ensuring your organization complies with government regulations on a domestic and, depending on your company, global scale. He or she stays abreast of ever-changing regulatory compliance mandates to prevent missteps that could result in hefty fines or, worse yet, legal ramifications and a damaged company reputation.

These professionals should also serve as a business partner. Top candidates will be able to show how compliance is a business priority and can help drive strategy.

2. What skills and experiences do outstanding compliance officers possess?

While financial and business acumen is a necessity, the compliance officer must also possess a unique range of soft skills, including leadership and resiliency. Expert communication and public speaking abilities are needed to facilitate better organizational understanding of complex regulatory standards, and compliance officers need integrity and a history of ethical decision making.

Industry experience can be a key attribute as well, particularly in highly regulated areas such as financial services. While the details of specific mandates can be learned, understanding the broader regulatory landscape in the organization's sector can prove highly beneficial for employers.

3. What compensation do compliance experts expect?

The 2015 Salary Guide from Robert Half indicates the demand for specialized regulatory compliance talent continues to grow. Compliance officer compensation is following suit, with projected starting salary increases of 3.9 percent to 4.1 percent over the past year, compared to the average gain for accounting and finance positions of 3.5 percent.

Here are projections for 2015 national average starting salary ranges for select compliance positions in corporate accounting.

  • Large (more than $250 million in sales)
    Chief compliance officer: $169,500 to $240,750
    Compliance director: $140,000 to $191,750
    Compliance officer: $109,500 to $150,000
  • Midsize ($25 million to $250 million in sales)
    Chief compliance officer: $141,750 to $197,000
    Compliance director: $120,500 to $162,250
    Compliance officer: $99,750 to $132,750
  • Small (up to $25 million in sales)
    Chief compliance officer: $116,500 to $156,000
    Compliance director: $99,000 to $133,250
    Compliance officer: $82,500 to $108,500

Choosing a compliance officer who can help your team toe regulatory compliance lines results in a win for everyone. Set up your organization for success by knowing how to recognize — and compensate — candidates who align with your business needs.

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Robert Half updates its Salary Guide for the accounting and finance profession annually. Make sure you have the latest information about compensation trends for compliance positions by visiting our Salary Center today!

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