What Is Regulatory Compliance? What To Know

Alex Kehayias | May 31, 2024

What Is Regulatory Compliance? What To Know

Regulatory compliance might not be at the top of your to-do list, but it’s a non-negotiable part of running a business.

Regulatory compliance means following the laws and regulations that apply to your industry and how you operate — and it takes effort and attention to stay on top of it.

Corporate compliance can be especially tricky to deal with when you might not have a large in-house team dedicated to this. This article is about understanding regulatory compliance and recognizing its importance for your business’s success.

Why Is Regulatory Compliance Management Essential?

Ignoring regulatory compliance requirements isn’t an option. Slip-ups and non-compliance can lead to serious consequences, like hefty fines, penalties, and even legal trouble.

Beyond the immediate financial hit, compliance failures hurt your reputation, too. Damaged customer trust and a tarnished brand image are hard to repair and can negatively impact your bottom line in the long run.

On the other hand, a strong compliance program is a major asset. Demonstrating that you take compliance regulations seriously helps build trust with your stakeholders and can give you a competitive edge.

Proactive compliance also protects sensitive data and helps you avoid the fallout of potential data breaches — positive marketing angles about your business practices are always welcome.

What Are the Challenges of Regulatory Compliance?

Regulatory compliance can have some major hurdles for businesses.

First and foremost, it can be expensive — setting up the right systems and processes, and potentially hiring specialized compliance staff, all have costs attached to them. This is an especially large strain on small and medium-sized businesses without large budgets.

Another major challenge is finding the right balance between staying compliant and focusing on your core business goals. It can be easy to get bogged down in the details of compliance, diverting resources away from innovation or expansion. The key is to integrate compliance into your business processes, not treat it as an afterthought.

Keeping track of ever-changing rules is an ongoing battle. Regulations vary from state to state and even on a city or county level. Multiply that across multiple jurisdictions where you operate, and it’s enough to make your head spin.

Add to this the depth and challenges of international regulations like the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), and you have a recipe for compliance headaches.

New tech like mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), while amazing for business, also create new compliance risks. Making sure sensitive company and customer data is protected across all these devices and networks is essential. Falling behind can create cybersecurity vulnerabilities and a whole new set of compliance problems.

How Can Businesses Achieve Regulatory Compliance?

Regulatory compliance is best thought of as a journey rather than a destination. Let’s get right to it to show you how to best take that journey:

Step 1: Identify All Applicable Regulations

Compliance standards are important, but the first step is knowing what you need to comply with. This involves researching federal, state, and local laws that apply to your specific industry and business operations. Focus particularly on HR and payroll-related regulations.

Here are a few examples to keep in mind:

  • Federal: Laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for wage and hour rules or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for workplace accommodations.

  • State and Local: Regulations on minimum wage, paid sick leave, or specific tax requirements based on where your employees are located.

  • Industry-Specific: Healthcare providers need to be familiar with HIPAA privacy rules, while companies handling credit card payments must follow PCI DSS security standards.

It’s understandably easy to do, but try not to let the scope of regulations overwhelm you. Building a solid compliance foundation starts with a thorough understanding of the rules that apply directly to your business.

Step 2: Analyze Requirements and Create Compliance Processes

Once you have a full picture of the rules, it’s time to break them down into actionable steps. This means defining what needs to be done, by whom, and on what timeline to ensure you stay compliant. Consider creating a clear compliance policy that outlines all these regulatory requirements.

Step 3: Document and Communicate Procedures

A strong compliance program hinges on everyone being on the same page. Documentation is key — from your compliance policy to step-by-step guides for specific processes. Make these resources easily accessible to all relevant staff. It’s not enough to just create them — thorough communication and training are essential.

Step 4: Continuous Monitoring for Adherence

Don’t think of compliance as a task you can do once and then forget about it. Laws change, your business grows, and new technologies emerge. Regularly review your compliance processes, stay informed about regulatory updates, and conduct internal audits.

This proactive approach helps you catch potential issues early and keeps compliance embedded into your company culture.

How To Tackle Regulatory Compliance Across Industries

While compliance is a concern for every business, certain industries are subject to particularly strict oversight. Healthcare and finance are prime examples. These sectors have their own unique sets of regulations that companies need to manage.

Let’s take a quick look:


Protection of sensitive health information is essential in this industry. HIPAA sets privacy and security standards that healthcare providers, insurers, and their business associates must follow. Failing to comply can lead to serious consequences, including hefty fines and damage to reputation.


Financial institutions face a range of regulations designed to promote transparency, protect investors, and prevent fraud. Publicly traded companies must adhere to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), which involves strict financial reporting and internal control requirements.

Companies handling credit or debit card data must also comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), safeguarding customers’ financial information.

The key takeaway here is that compliance isn’t universal. The specific regulations you must follow depend entirely on your industry and business operations. Understanding this industry-focused nature of compliance is essential for staying on the right side of the law.

What Are the Regional Considerations (International Focus)?

We’re quite globalized these days, and it’s very likely your business interacts with data on an international scale. Regulatory compliance doesn’t stop at your country’s borders, so understanding key regional regulations is essential.

Let’s focus on two important examples:


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a landmark piece of European legislation that has wide-reaching implications. Thus, it strengthens data privacy rights for EU citizens and applies to any company collecting or processing data related to them, even if you’re based outside the European Union. Ignoring GDPR can result in significant financial penalties.

CCPA (California)

While not as sweeping as GDPR, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) provides California residents with greater control over their personal information. It gives them the right to know what data is collected, request its deletion, and opt out of having it sold. Similar data privacy laws are gaining momentum across the U.S.

These are just two examples of a growing global trend toward stricter data privacy regulations. Australia, Canada, and various other countries have their own legislation in place. Staying informed about international compliance requirements is essential for businesses operating across multiple regions.

How To Simplify Regulatory Compliance?

Tackling regulatory compliance completely on your own, especially as a small or medium-sized business, is a recipe for being overwhelmed and potentially making errors. Seeking expert guidance and leveraging the right tools can be transformative.

Here’s why:

Expert Advice and Partnerships

Regulatory compliance is a specialized field. Trying to take it on solo can quickly turn into a time-consuming headache and distract you from your core business.

Consider building partnerships with professionals who have the in-depth knowledge you need:

  • Compliance Consultants: They can help you assess your unique compliance needs, identify gaps, and create a custom roadmap toward building a strong compliance program.

  • Specialized Attorneys: When you have legal questions about specific regulations or need tailored compliance documentation, seeking legal counsel is essential to avoid costly mistakes.

  • Industry Organizations: Often, joining industry-specific associations provides you with access to regular updates, resources, and best practices from within your field.

These partnerships are an investment, but they can save you from serious compliance missteps and their associated costs in the long run.

Automation for Compliance Processes

Manually keeping track of changing regulations, deadlines, and documentation is incredibly inefficient. Technology is your friend when it comes to streamlining and simplifying compliance tasks.

There’s a range of solutions to automate compliance available, from specialized dashboards to help visualize your compliance status to broader HR platforms with built-in compliance features.

These tools can help you with tasks like:

  • Centralized Document Storage: Securely manage all your compliance-related policies and records in one easily accessible place.

  • Automated Reminders: Get timely notifications of upcoming deadlines, changes in regulations, or the need to renew permits.

  • Risk Assessments: Some platforms will include tools that can identify potential compliance risks or gaps in your processes.

  • Employee Training: Deliver compliance training materials, track completion, and maintain records — all within your compliance system.

That said, while technology is a powerful tool, it’s not a fix-all. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming software alone will completely solve your compliance issues. It needs to be integrated into a well-thought-out strategy with clear roles and responsibilities.

Mosey specializes in streamlining complex state compliance processes, including HR compliance and payroll compliance. If your business handles these functions across multiple states, our platform may help you organize your tasks and keep all of your compliance documents in one place.

Simplify Compliance With Mosey

Regulatory compliance is a non-negotiable part of running a responsible and successful company.

A solid compliance program protects your business from legal trouble, builds trust with stakeholders, and enhances your reputation. By making compliance a priority, you’re setting your business up for long-term growth and a competitive edge within your industry. Schedule a demo with Mosey today to see how we can help you organize your compliance needs.

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