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Success Finance Effective Compliance Companies, directors and officers are operating in an environment of ever-increasing laws and regulations — and breaking them can have dire consequences. Make sure your business plays it safe by creating an effective compliance program. Failure to adhere to the constantly increasing list of laws and regulations may subject companies and employees to substantial fines, penalties and consequences, up to and including imprisonment. Fortunately, various U.S. and international laws provide companies with a defense or an opportunity to mitigate fines and penalties if they have an effective compliance program, which should consist of the following elements: Ethical Culture: Promote an organizational culture that encourages ethical conduct and law compliance; Risk Assessment: Periodically assess the risk of criminal and unethical conduct and modify the program to reduce risk; Policies & Procedures: Establish and distribute standards and procedures to prevent and detect criminal and unethical conduct. Training & Communication: Continuously train and communicate on standards and procedures to ensure comprehension, endorsement and adherence; Reporting & Investigations: Maintain a mechanism whereby allegations of criminal and unethical conduct may be reported on a confidential and anonymous basis without fear of retaliation; Monitoring & Auditing: Conduct monitoring and auditing to detect criminal and unethical conduct and evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Although an effective compliance program can require substantial effort, doing so will reduce the risk of regulatory violations and unethical behavior at your organization while providing a stronger defense against enforcement actions and strengthening your organization’s shareholder, customer confidence and public trust and loyalty. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Richard Montes de Oca is the Managing Partner of MDO Partners, a boutique law firm that focuses on Corporate, Real Estate & Immigration Law as well as Global Compliance & Business Ethics; 175 SW 7th St., Ste. 1900, Miami; 305.704.8452, MDOPartners.com. 32 Be Prepared Don’t wait until next April to think about tax time: Preparing should begin right with the start of the fiscal year. These 3 apps provide useful tools to help make sure your dealings with the IRS stay headache-free. Box Up Still stuffing receipts into manila folders or Excel spreadsheets? There’s a handier way. Shoeboxed lets you submit them via email, web upload or even your smartphone, then files and tracks them for you; Shoeboxed.com. Good Cause Did you drop that old couch, car or electronics off for a charity donation? It can save you big come tax time. Use iDonatedIt to track what you’ve given and what it was worth, along with photos for your records; iDonatedIt.com. Waiting Game You’ve done all the work: Now where’s that refund check? Track how close you are to getting your cash with IRS2Go, a handy app provided by the IRS that shows you just when to expect your money; Apps.USA.gov.