How To Become A Compliance Officer In Australia?

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Students want to know how to become compliance officers in Australia.


Do you enjoy research and are interested in ethics, safety protocols, and legal standards? Then, a career as a Compliance Officer could be worth exploring.


Compliance officers coordinate safety and quality audits to ensure a company runs legally and ethically and complies with all applicable industry regulations and licensing requirements.


There are no formal qualifications needed to become a compliance officer. However, employers prefer candidates with bachelor's degrees in law, finance, or economics.


Alternatively, completing certification courses such as a Certificate IV In Compliance And Risk Management or a Diploma of Quality Auditing can improve your chances.


This blog discusses the compliance officer's job description, prospects, qualifications, courses, training, earning potential, salary, and more to help determine its suitability.



1. Who Is A Compliance Officer?


Compliance Officers are regulations experts who use their communication and research skills to ensure a company's practices comply with proper legal and licensing requirements.


They identify and lessen the risks of compliancy disobedience helping businesses achieve long-term strategic objectives.


They collaborate with members of different business departments to stay updated on the latest rules and maintain them in their daily operations.


They advise stakeholders on varied matters such as compliance, auditing, financial, health and safety, financial risks, and legislation.



2. What Is A Compliance Manager?


Compliance Managers work on legal, compliance, and management issues. They ensure that the company adheres to regulatory and ethical standards and requirements.


Compliance Managers usually work alongside human resources, top-level management, external attorneys, and company employees. The following are some of their duties:


  • Conduct regular audits and review them to ensure the company's adherence to regulations 

  • Identify compliance issues 

  • File reports 

  • Consult with attorneys 

  • Evaluate sales 

  • Examine customer complaints

  • Guide and train employees on compliance issues

  • Supervise compliance systems and teams

  • Develop and implement company policies

  • Design and management control systems to handle compliance breaches

  • Stay on top of regulatory developments and emerging best practices in compliance control

  • Create reports for higher-level management and regulatory bodies



3. Compliance Officer Skills


  • Good knowledge of ethical practices and standards in their industries

  • Able to analyse and review large data sets in a short span

  • Excellent research skills

  • Effective at handling work pressure and stress

  • Critical thinking

  • Detail orientated

  • Persuasive 

  • Excellent Problem-solving skills

  • Quest for knowledge and like staying on top of new laws and regulations

  • Able to notice patterns and details

  • Attention to detail 

  • Proactive

  • Able to respond fast to changing market conditions

  • Good negotiation and communication skills to deal with senior management, the board of directors, government auditors, and general counsel

  • Assertive 

  • Able to work well with people

  • Advanced administrative skills

  • Leadership qualities

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Resilience

  • Ethical 

  • Able to build rapport and lead a team



4. What Does A Compliance Officer Do?


Compliance Officers work in various industries performing several tasks and duties. Those working in the financial services industry undertake anti-money laundering initiatives, including continuous training and learning programs.


Compliance Officers employed at healthcare facilities are involved in creating and circulating training programs that focus on disclosure and privacy regulations concerning the safety of the facility's patients.


Though the exact duties of Compliance Officers depend on the industry they work in, the most common compliance manager job description is as follows:


  • Regularly conduct internal audits to review a business's present and prospective risks and current procedures to minimise those risks.

  • Examine reported compliance issues

  • Establish internal controls to reduce risk exposure to ensure the company effectively manages the risks 

  • Review, understand and explain regulations that emerge with changes in laws or as businesses take on new projects.

  • Research the shift in legal and political factors that impact their organisation

  • Recommend management about policy changes to ensure their company stays compliant with company, federal, and state regulations

  • Collect information, organise audit results into reports, submit reports to the organisation's governing bodies, and share them with key stakeholders, management, the board of directors, and the concerned authorities

  • Learn about new laws or regulations relevant to the industry

  • Ensure record management systems stay updated



5. Qualifications To Become A Compliance Officer


Though formal qualifications aren't required, employers generally prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree majoring in lawfinance, or economics.


Alternatively, consider completing a compliance officer certification in compliance, such as a Certificate IV In Compliance And Risk Management, a Diploma of Business (Compliance), or a Diploma of Quality Auditing.


Look for entry-level positions as a Compliance Officer to gain in-depth knowledge of the compliance regulations and standards.



6. Steps To Become A Compliance Officer In Australia


To become and excel in a compliance officer career, you need the proper qualification and workplace skills. The following ways will help you get started in this career:



Step 1: Choose Your Area Of Interest 


Compliance Officers work in several fields, such as healthcare, banking, telecommunications, and chemicals. You must decide on the area you want to become a compliance officer.


Once you have made up your mind, you can continue to pursue an education that helps develop knowledge of that industry-related regulations. 


Here are a few things you can do to decide on the right field to pursue this career:


  • Read industry journals and publications to research the industries that frequently recruit compliance officers 

  • Explore their employment and career progression opportunities

  • Review compliance-related job postings to find out their skills and qualification requirements 

  • Compare the social media profiles of compliance officers from various industries to know more about their work

  • Check the news about sectors to learn about relevant industrial and political developments 



Step 2: Complete A Relevant Bachelor's Degree


Compliance Officers come from a diverse range of backgrounds. There is no specific formal education mentioned for compliance officers.


Based on the chosen field, you can pursue a bachelor's degree to develop knowledge of that particular industry's protocols and regulations. Some possible options include business, engineering, chemistry, law, economics, management, criminal justice, and finance.


Suppose you want to avoid investing 3 or 4 years in a degree course. In that case, you can complete a Certificate IV in Compliance and Risk Management or a Diploma of Business (Compliance).


Gaining certification equips you with knowledge of industry-related regulations and builds your research and risk analysis skills. A diploma course gives you real-world insights helping to gain a competitive edge over other early-career compliance officers.



Step 3: Enrol In An Internship


Working as a compliance intern under experienced compliance officers can make you more skilled and competent. The best place to find internship opportunities is in your college.


Ask your professors or guidance counsellors to check if compliance internship opportunities are available. Alternatively, search online to find openings for compliance interns.



Step 4: Gain Work Experience


Most firms prefer candidates with prior experience. It convinces them that the potential candidate can handle the work duties and the compliance department's frantic pace.


Thus, gaining work experience in a compliance-related workplace can help accelerate your success as a compliance officer. Apply to entry-level positions similar to compliance officer positions, such as compliance representative or compliance analyst.


It will familiarise you with the responsibilities of compliance professionals while developing essential job skills such as communication, working with others, and time management. Additionally, a depth of work history on your CV will make you look favourably by employers.


Compliance teams occasionally recruit candidates who have worked in other areas or aspects of the industry, such as accounting, trade settlement, and operations in major stock exchanges. So, any opportunity in these segments of the compliance industry will improve your employment prospects in this sector.



Step 5: Grow Your Network


Focus on expanding your professional network to find job opportunities, develop knowledge and skills concerning industry regulations, and achieve career progression.


You may consider becoming a member of The Australian Institute of Compliance Professionals. It is a professional society for compliance professionals. Gaining its membership will help you widen your professional network and stay updated on recent changes in regulations and protocols.



Step 6: Advance In Your Career


Though not essential, earning additional credentials enhances your candidacy for the position. You could consider a relevant master's degree for specialised roles within the industry.


Regulation and Compliance – Monash Institute



Step 7: Continue Skilling Up 


As many industries have regulations that frequently change, it is essential to stay aware of industry updates so that you can guide your workplace. Attending conferences or seminars can prove to be beneficial in this regard.


Continue polishing your skills and learning techniques that other experienced compliance officers use while working. After gaining adequate experience in compliance, you can apply for compliance officer roles.



7. Compliance Officer Courses In Australia


If you aspire to become a compliance officer, the following risk and compliance courses in Australia can help you get started:


  • Diploma of Payroll Services - Online- Monarch Institute

  • Advanced Diploma of Paraplanning - Online- Monarch Institute



Certificate IV in Compliance and Risk Management - The GRC Institute


Established in 1996, the GRC Institute is the premier provider of nationally recognised compliance and risk management qualifications. Americas across Asia and Europe recognise the 7-module introductory and graduate-level certification courses.


Who is this course for?


  • Those wishing to certify their skills

  • Advance to the senior-level

  • HR professionals looking to conduct an induction program for their newly appointed staff


After completing the introductory course, consider taking up the 4-module 10184NAT Graduate Certificate in Compliance and Risk Management. 


Nationally Accredited RTO Compliance Training Courses - Australian Institute of Compliance


The Foundation of RTO Compliance course looks at the highly regulated VET sector. New applicants who seek a career in the VET sector should develop solid fundamental knowledge of RTO Operations and Compliance. 


The foundation course demystifies the RTO standards and helps gain a good understanding.



Certificate IV in Vocational Education and Training Compliance


This course assists RTO Compliance Administrative Officers and Compliance Officers in navigating the complexities of RTO Compliance.



Diploma of Vocational Education and Training Compliance Management


The course is the ideal pathway from Certificate IV in RTO Compliance. It is for the following: RTO Compliance Managers, RTO Operations Managers, RTO owners, and RTO Managers who want to learn the ins and outs of VET compliance and what it takes to conform to the regulatory requirements.



Diploma of Quality Auditing


This qualification is specifically for RTO managers, owners, Compliance Consultants, and senior VET Compliance Practitioners. It gives in-depth learning on various topics, such as Managing the RTO Business, Supervising and Managing compliance, and Auditing the RTO's operations.


When finding the right business compliance course, assess the courses on factors such as:


  • Course length

  • Flexibility to study

  • Number of units available

  • The quality of case studies

  • Student testimonials

  • Course fee

  • Your experience can be credited to units and shorten the course duration 

  • Availability of educators and counsellors for support



8. How Much Does A Compliance Officer Earn In Australia?


The average compliance officer salary in Australia is AU$ 64,923, equivalent to AU$ 29.22 per hour. Compliance officers with minimal work experience or who do not hold a degree related to their industry are likely to earn a lower income. 


Likewise, your earnings will be higher if you have spent substantial tenure in this position or hold advanced degrees in business, law, accounting, or finance.


Those employed at a large institution also access fringe benefits that increase their overall compensation package. The employer you work for also influences your pay package.


State and local public-sector compliance jobs usually offer low starting salaries compared to their private-sector counterparts. 



Expected Average Salary At Varying Stages of Career


  • Entry-level (<1-year experience): AU$58,920 

  • Early career (1-4 years of experience): AU$62,336 

  • Mid-career (5-9 years of experience): AU$71,668 

  • Experienced (10-19 years of experience): AU$81,393 



Highest Paying Work Locations for A Compliance Officer in Australia


  • Dubbo NSW: $224,571 per year

  • Compliance officer salary in Sydney, NSW: $103,023 per year

  • Melbourne VIC: $98,120 per year

  • Sydney Western Suburbs NSW: $95,575 per year

  • Darwin NT: $89,295 per year

  • Townsville QLD: $83,861 per year

  • Perth WA: $83,630 per year

  • Brisbane QLD: $83,583 per year



9. Employment Opportunities For Compliance Officers


Compliance officers are considered highly valued members of businesses across various sectors. They work in a wide range of work environments. Local governments, the federal government and state governments employ more Compliance Officers than private companies.


Depending on the organisation's size, they may work as a member of the compliance department they are servicing or for a contracting firm. They work closely with other business functions to ensure each operates in a compliant manner.


Compliance and risk management are vital in heavily regulated sectors such as financial services, health care, logistics, and mining.


They are also vital for businesses that are growing and getting media exposure. International banks also require a robust compliance department as it works with regulations that change for every country and every kind of financial activity.


The following are industries to pursue a career in compliance:


  • Financial Services (in the Compliance department in banks, brokerage firms, or investment management firms)

  • Healthcare

  • Chemicals

  • FMCG (Fast moving consumer goods or consumer packaged goods)

  • Building and Construction

  • Supply and Manufacturing

  • Education


Businesses in these industries constantly require skilled compliance officers who can execute the procedures and sustain policies.



10. Compliance Officer Career Path


Working in compliance allows you numerous opportunities to advance in your career. You can either get promoted into a more senior position like Compliance Coordinator or Compliance Manager within your current business or in another industry or switch to a different role.


You can take up similar roles as you develop skills and knowledge about all business units. These include work health and safety officer, auditor, C-suite, or executive board positions, such as Chief Executive Officer or Chief Operations Manager.


Many Compliance officers even specialise in a specific regulatory area to better identify sources of risk. They can advance their learning to design and develop control systems to prevent malpractice or mistakes that harm organisational health.



11. Job Prospects for Compliance Officers in Australia


For a business to succeed, it requires the sound functioning of all its departments and adherence to regulatory and corporate compliance. Internal department synergies result in growth and an improved bottom line.


An effective and efficient compliance program is an effective defence mechanism a corporation can have against violation. Under this program, the company ensures that it complies with its policies and strategies with governmental standards and governing agencies.


The compliance manager role is gaining more importance. Companies and industries in the financial services, telecommunication, healthcare, and other sectors continue facing new and updated government rules and regulations.


It has led to an increase in the demand for ethical and qualified compliance professionals, pay hikes, and the creation of new job opportunities.


Due to the present shortage of compliance officers, many companies now offer education sponsorships to support employees (with good experience in business) in pursuing a career as a compliance officer.


Thus, the job prospects of compliance officers are good in the short and long term in Australia. Those hoping to pursue this profession can rest assured of a lucrative and future-proof career.



12. Conclusion


Regardless of the industry, Compliance professionals are valuable to every business. It is an exciting and rewarding career choice that presents enormous career growth in various sectors.


Graduates in finance, supply chain management, law, health and safety, and human resources with a high level of integrity are well suited to business compliance.


Irrespective of your prior experience, when you complete a relevant diploma, you are on the right track to a successful career in compliance.


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