In the modern-day age, informational asymmetries are pretty non-existent. Coupled with increasing awareness regarding acts and policies of the company, there has been upward pressure on companies that have forced them to do better in terms of meeting the respective KPIs and ensuring that they can comply with their social policy that can extrapolate better options in terms of their understanding and overall approach.
Social Compliance tends to be an increasingly important aspect, for that matter. Therefore, it calls for companies to ensure that their policies align with ethical conjectures and positively impact all stakeholders.
For this purpose, they are advised and instructed to carry out a Social Compliance Audit that can give them a clear picture of what they are supposed to do in terms of covering the relevant ground and what needs to be carried out to ensure that they can cover substantial ground on corporate social responsibility and other auditors.
What does a Social Compliance Auditor Do?
Social Compliance Audit ensures that policies and practices are in place to protect workers’ rights, health, and safety.
This does include not only the perspective of the company itself but also the suppliers and the distributors of the company.
This element needs to be taught to understand better the approach that the companies adopt instead of protecting, safeguarding, and ultimately providing their employees with the rights they deserve.
There is multiple ground that needs to be covered by Social Compliance Auditor, predominantly to ensure that companies are in line with traditional and expected social practices.
They include features like Child Labor, Health and Safety, Freedom of Association, Discrimination, Disciplinary Practices, Working Hours, Remuneration, and Management System.
In this regard, the Social Compliance Auditor must form a stringent protocol to ensure that the company accounts for all these dimensions.
This also requires them to prepare a checklist and draw up substantive audit procedures to test for all the assertions that can help them draw reasonable assurance regarding the company’s social compliance.
In this regard, multiple blueprints can be used to get a holistic idea regarding the ground that needs to be covered in the audit. Numerous international standards can be followed to ensure that The company fulfills social compliance.
These standards include SA 8000, SMETA, ILO Ethical Trading Initiative, and Initiative for Compliance and Sustainability (ICS).
These standards are used as guidelines to conduct the audit, which can help the auditors assess the extent to which social compliance has been taken care of within the company.
Several necessary procedures should be included in the required audit procedures. This includes Opening Meetings, Health and Safety Tours, Employee Documentation reviews, Employee Interviews, and Closing Meetings.
The underlying objective of following this process is to ensure that all the proper ground has been covered and all the relevant proofs have been collected.
Based on these observations and understandings, the company can then strategize and ensure that they can adequately understand the policies they need to teach to get an appropriate knowledge of the state of affairs.
If the company cannot keep these requirements intact, it might result in a failed audit. This would eventually lead to a severe loss of reputation and the company facing lawsuits and penalties for harnessing these terms and conditions.
For general betterment, it is highly recommended that companies abide by these terms and conditions to maintain their reputation in the market.
How to Become a Social Compliance Auditor?
Becoming a social compliance auditor typically requires the following steps:
- Education: A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as business, finance, or accounting is preferred. Some employers may also require certifications such as a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP) certificate or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).
- Work Experience: Most employers prefer social compliance auditors with prior experience in auditing, compliance, or supply chain management. Relevant work experience can be gained through internships or entry-level positions in these fields.
- Knowledge and Skills: To be an effective social compliance auditor, one needs to have strong analytical, interpersonal, and communication skills, as well as a thorough understanding of compliance laws and regulations, auditing techniques, and ethical principles.
- Industry Certification: Consider obtaining industry-specific certifications, such as the Social Accountability 8000 (SA 8000) certification, demonstrating competence in auditing social compliance programs.
- Networking: Building professional relationships with industry professionals and organizations can provide valuable opportunities for growth and advancement.
- Continued Professional Development: To maintain their skills and knowledge, social compliance auditors should continuously educate themselves on new laws and regulations, best practices, and emerging industry trends.
Yes, a social compliance auditor can work as a freelancer. Many social compliance auditors choose to work independently, as it allows them to work on various projects, set their own schedules, and determine their own rates.
Here are the steps to becoming a freelance social compliance auditor:
- Build Your Skills: Build your skills and knowledge of social compliance laws and regulations, auditing techniques, and ethical principles. Obtain industry certifications, such as the Social Accountability 8000 (SA 8000) certification, to demonstrate your competence.
- Establish Your Network: Network with industry professionals and organizations, such as associations for social compliance auditors and trade groups, to build your professional reputation and find potential clients.
- Market Yourself: Develop a professional portfolio and resume highlighting your skills and experience, and create a website or use online platforms to promote your services. Network with potential clients and attend industry events to market your services.
- Set Your Rates: Determine your hourly or project rate based on your experience and the market rate for social compliance auditing services. Be competitive and ensure you charge a fair rate for your services.
- Manage Your Business: As a freelancer, you must manage all aspects of your business, including invoicing, record-keeping, and tax compliance. Consider using accounting software or hiring a tax professional to assist you.
- Continuously Develop Your Skills: Educate yourself on new laws and regulations, best practices, and emerging industry trends to remain competitive and provide high-quality services to your clients.
Being a freelance social compliance auditor requires strong organizational skills, a strong work ethic, and the ability to market yourself effectively and manage your business. Dedication and hard work can be rewarding and fulfilling career paths.
How Often are SOC 2 Reports Required?
SOC 2 reports are not required on a regularly scheduled basis. Instead, they should be completed when an organization has changed its systems or processes that could impact customer data security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
Organizations typically must complete a SOC 2 report once every year or two to keep their security practices up-to-date.
When deciding how often to conduct a SOC 2 report, it is essential to consider the type of environment in which customer data is stored.
Suppose the environment remains relatively static with no significant changes implemented. In that case, it generally does not require as frequent reviews since there would have been less opportunity for vulnerabilities to be introduced.
However, if ongoing development or changes occur within the environment more frequently, conducting more frequent SOC 2 reports may be warranted to ensure customer data remains secure.
Organizations should also consider applicable industry standards or regulations when determining their reporting frequency.
Ultimately it is up to each organization to decide how often they need to conduct a SOC 2 report based on their risk assessment and specific needs and requirements.
Top Firms that Employ Social Compliance Auditors
Here are some of the top firms that employ social compliance auditors:
- Ernst & Young (EY)
- PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
- Grant Thornton
- RSM US
- Baker Tilly
In addition, many multinational corporations, especially in apparel and consumer goods industries, also employ social compliance auditors to ensure that their suppliers comply with their own social compliance standards. Non-profit organizations, such as Fair Labor Association (FLA) and Social Accountability International (SAI), also employ social compliance auditors to evaluate and monitor the social compliance practices of their member companies.
Types of Social Compliance Audit
There are three main types of social compliance audits that organizations can use to ensure their business practices adhere to both internal and external regulations.
The first type is a desk audit, which involves reviewing existing documents and records from the organization to assess its compliance with applicable policies.
This type of audit is typically used for smaller organizations as it does not involve onsite visits or interviews.
The second type of social compliance audit is a limited-scope audit, which involves document review and onsite activities such as interviewing employees.
This type of audit is often used for medium to large organizations to identify potential issues that may have gone undetected by the desk audit process.
Finally, there is the comprehensive social compliance audit, which usually involves multiple visits at different locations to thoroughly assess an organization’s overall adherence to policies and standards.
This type of audit also typically includes stakeholder interviews and detailed reviews of facility operations to identify areas where improvements can be made.
Overall, social compliance audits are essential for ensuring organizations stay compliant with internal and external regulations.
The type of audit used will depend on the size and complexity of the organization, as well as its risk profile.
Therefore, it can be seen that numerous aspects need to be covered by a Social Compliance Auditor. From the auditor’s perspective, it is necessary to ensure that different views of the audit are included in the procedural setting so there is no ambiguity.
More than anything, Social Compliance Auditor can also be considered to play an advisory role, which can help organizations revamp their policies to be more socially proficient in ensuring that all stakeholders’ rights are protected.