How to Get Certified in Corporate Compliance and Ethics: Plan for Your Action

How to Get Certified in Corporate Compliance and Ethics

What does it take to make a brilliant career in Corporate Compliance and Ethics? I do not know, but starting with certification is definitely a good idea.

When I was deciding to get certified in compliance I was certain. I wanted something global and universal. There was no point to go for something specific such as conducting due diligence or internal investigation. Nor I wanted a specific country or industry limitations. I opted for CCEP-I (Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional - International) exam and now I honorably put these capital letters into my credentials. 

However, there may have been a little problem with this.  When presenting to Ukrainian audiences I bet people wondered what CCEP-I actually stood for. I hope I already corrected this gap in understanding above. Below I will tell you a story how I got certified and will propose a plan to help you obtain your certification too.

In 2016 I was lucky to win a scholarship from the International Bar Association to attend their annual conference in Washington DC in September. When planning how to maximize my stay in US, I decided to do something to advance my skills in the Corporate Compliance area. I’ve spent some time checking web-site of the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE), a good source with information about compliance events and initiatives. Vuolia, success! A SCCE comprehensive event (called Compliance Institute) is taking place in Chicago just next week after the conference in Washington. So I confirmed my participation.

Long story short, I attended the Compliance Institute and received the necessary minimum credits (CEUs) to sit at the exam at the last day of the event. The exam itself was quite challenging, to be honest. Many long questions and at times long answers, 2,5 hours in a row of quick reading which passed like 2,5 minutes. For 10 minutes or so I could not look far clearly. But, it is doable, I can assure you. If you passed tests like TOEFL or IELTS or ILEC or graduated from English language legal studies, it will definitely help, as the language skills matter here.  

So what should you do in order to pass the exam? Here are the 5 steps to your certification developed by the Compliance Certification Board (CCB): (1) gain work experience, (2) earn and submit the required CEUs, (3) apply to take the exam, (4) schedule your exam, (5) take the exam.

In addition, couple of hints from me personally. First, despite whatever your experience can be, return to basics. Read of the books such as SCCE Compliance 101, International Compliance 101 or Ethics and Compliance on the Job.  Secondly, try a moot online exam of 25 questions. If you respond to most questions within 20 minutes, you will probably be all right.

On a side note, my Chicago trip resulted in unexpected meetings with prominent individuals in compliance area, like Michael Volkov, the author of very inspirational blog Corruption, Crime and Compliance, and Roy Snell a CEO of SCCE. I encourage you to check out Michael’s blog, and want to promise you - if you read all his posts and attend at least some of his online seminars you will without a doubt pass CCEP-I exam. In person Michael made an impression of very intelligent, empathetic, and caring person. I would like to thank him for his ongoing efforts in educating all of us in this noble subject. If you do not know Roy Snell personally, I would characterize him as a person with high sense of justice, strong hand and sharp word in the area of compliance and ethics.  You may want to check Roy’s article on "being not so nice to people", and subscribe to his LinkedIn or Twitter. In this way you will be updated by the hottest news in ethics and compliance area.  

At a recent International Compliance Forum in Kyiv many speakers had totally different and sometimes conflicting views on what corporate compliance is. In my view, absence of the common and widely recognized vision on what are the principles and ultimate purpose of compliance is not working well for promoting this crucially important topic in Ukraine. Therefore, I encourage all to continue building expertise in this area based on the world’s best practices, which will bring unity to the profession. It will also enable compliance community successfully cope with all challenges faced.