Risky business: Guiding firms through maze of regulation

Cork-based company Compliance & Risks adapts to changes of Covid-19 environment
Risky business: Guiding firms through maze of regulation

Like many companies, Compliance & Risks was monitoring the Covid-19 situation through the winter of 2019, and the growing awareness it would be dealing with an unprecedented global event. 

Headquartered in Cork, with offices in Brussels, London, California, and New York, the decision was made to temporarily close its offices on March 13.

“Fortunately, a portion of our business had been operating virtually for some time with team members all over the world, so we quickly mobilised and transitioned to full remote working pretty seamlessly,” CEO Joe Skulski explains. 

As a technology company with the in-house expertise of developers and knowledge workers, Compliance & Risks utilised its applications and operational flexibility to allow it to maintain continued growth throughout 2020. 

"What was hard to replace was face-to-face meetings internally and with clients.

"It took a bit of transition, but we have accomplished new ways to perform remote selling and to have productive meetings."

These changes are part of the business now and I expect that they will stay with us. 

In a global environment where standards and regulations continue to increase, the Cork-based company envisages further expansion opportunities. 

“Regulations and standards are one area that is constantly evolving. We help clients manage the increased regulatory compliance impact by keeping them up to date with the changes and by providing them with workflow and business intelligence tools in our platform. 

"Growth can directly be attributed to Covid-19, political situations and regulating for environmental issues among other regulatory activity.” 

Joe sees the pandemic continuing to have a direct impact on the number of regulations.

“There are many new regulations that deal directly with Covid-19, personal protective equipment, and cleaning agents," he explains.

"For example, many companies started to manufacture medical devices, hand sanitisers, and masks. 

Joe Skulski: The area in which we work is constantly evolving.
Joe Skulski: The area in which we work is constantly evolving.

"We were in a position to help them with understanding what they needed to do to put the product on the market.” 

The political environment also is a growth driver.

“Brexit and deregulation by the Trump administration means that the UK has to develop their own regulations as they exit the EU, and individual states in the United States develop their own regulations that have been rolled back by the US Federal Government.”

Compliance & Risks was originally established by Damien McGovern, an Irish barrister who formerly worked for Deloitte in Brussels. 

He developed the company’s compliance knowledge management platform, C2P, arising from his seven years experience in the area of legal compliance. 

In the ongoing global regulatory avalanche where businesses struggle to keep up with market access and rules, the firm guides clients through this ever-changing and complex maze.

The company’s global regulatory compliance team regularly monitors over 200 countries, assessing and refining regulations and standards across over 40 policy areas such as chemicals and substances, batteries, wireless, product safety, energy efficiency and climate change. 

Key clients include Samsung, Fujitsu, Vaillant, and many other global corporations. 

“Our clients are based all over the world and are in different verticals in the market. Some of the verticals and geographies were impacted more than others, but overall our business remains strong.

"Our growth this year has been by expanding our business with current clients as well as signing up new clients. We expect that we will have added over 30 new clients in 2020.” 

While looking to 2021 expansion in existing markets of North America and Europe, Joe sees the Asia region as a growth driver.

“Of course developing economies are of interest for us as well," he says. "As countries develop their manufacturing base we see opportunities to serve those clients. Latin America, the Middle East, and South Asia are of particular interest as companies develop their brands for domestic and international markets.

When people start to travel again we will review our office footprint globally and see what makes sense at that time.

"I do envision that we will look at setting up sales and service offices in developed economies outside of what we have now.”

Compliance & Risks has a workforce conversant in 26 languages engaged in virtual sales, consulting, and research as well as training and support.

“Being able to communicate in our client’s native language is a great benefit, and we can do that from our Cork and US offices.” 

The company has continued to add staff this year, though paused somewhat in Q2 as they navigated the impact of Covid-19. 

“We remain confident in the business and have been hiring in every quarter this year and plan to add staff in the 4th quarter.

"In 2021, we are forecasting growth and continue to invest and recruit new team members as the business grows.” 

Operating from the company’s expanding Little Island headquarters, Joe sees Cork as the ideal base to plan further international acquisitions and territories: “Cork and the rest of Ireland has a great business climate, a well educated workforce and government support to help companies grow.

As an American, I find Cork’s people to be warm and welcoming, and with great business acumen. 

"Our clients love to visit Cork and the rest of Ireland when we have meetings. Cork is centrally located between our offices in the US, staff in Asia and our global clients.” 

Despite the current challenges of Covid-19, Joe envisages an Irish economy ideally placed to benefit from future growth. 

“I believe that Ireland is well positioned for the future as a gateway to Europe for many United States and international companies," he says. 

"There is a great technology scene in Ireland with great resources and a business friendly climate. There are a lot of Irish based and big international companies that call Ireland home today and we should see that increase in the future.”

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