A compliance analyst evaluates activities at a company to confirm that those activities comply with regulatory standards as well as any voluntary standards and practices. Compliance analysts also can audit members of professional organizations to determine whether they meet the standards set by the organization. If the analyst finds problems, he or she provides suggestions for getting back into compliance and staying there to prevent future issues.
To become a compliance analyst, it usually is necessary to have a college degree and three to five years of experience in the industry. These analysts work in banking, marketing, information technology, healthcare, law and securities trading. The most appropriate degree can depend on where an analyst wants to work; a health care compliance analyst, for example, needs to be familiar with regulations pertaining to healthcare and might need to know about medical billing and coding practices.
The compliance analyst performs continuous evaluations of standards and practices at a company. He or she might help the company formulate standards and guides to remain within the rules set by government agencies and can propose additional steps for compliance to ensure the highest quality performance. This work can include interviewing employees, looking over documentation and attending trade conferences to learn more about new developments in the industry.
If a compliance analyst detects something that might be an issue, he or she reports it and works on a plan to address the problem. For instance, an analyst at a law firm might determine that advertising copy does not comply with the regulatory restrictions on legal advertising. He or she can point out the specific issues, propose new copy and provide guidelines for preventing violations in the future. Likewise, a compliance analyst at an organization might find that a member is not adhering to the behavioral standards for members and can issue a warning and alert the organization.
This work requires excellent attention and focusing skills. Regulatory restrictions can be complex and detailed. A good compliance analyst must be familiar with the laws, aware of planned changes and able to identify anything that might fall on the wrong side of the law, even if it appears nebulous or subtle. Experience is critical, and an analyst who has substantial industry experience and connections might be more employable and better able to negotiate pay and benefits. People who are already working in an industry but have an interest in changing careers to compliance analysis might want to consider going back to school for certification.