Compliance and certification – pleasure or pain?

‘Compliance’ and ‘certification’: two words that will likely instil dread into most people who are busy building or running a business. Unless you are a die-hard, process-driven detail person, the very idea of analysing your entire business to find holes to plug is probably an exceptionally daunting nice-to-have (but only when you have someone else to do it).

The problem is that big contractors and public sector bodies are increasingly asking businesses to prove that they have the systems and processes in place, not only to conform to operational standards but also to environmental ones. In the run-up to 2050, this won’t just be a nice-to-have; it will be a business survival necessity within many sectors.

We have seen a massive upswing in companies coming to us, triggered by the need to qualify for a contract. Often, certification is seen as a nuisance or a barrier to entry. However, embedding processes to meet recognised best practices can have a huge positive effect on business.

“Embedding processes to meet recognised best practices can have a huge positive effect on business.”

Yes, gaining certification proves to stakeholders that the business operates to international standards and yes, it can open business opportunities through contracts and tender wins. But what companies tend to forget is that, although creating compliance systems can feel like a chore, what they are really doing is creating failsafe procedures for business optimisation – for anybody within the business. Processes literally oil the parts that make the engine run efficiently.

“Processes literally oil the parts that make the engine run efficiently.”

The market is awash with opportunity for those companies that take the time to get this right – and smart companies are doing it now. Currently there is a huge shortage of certifie companies to tackle many of the challenges thrown up by the 2050 Carbon Net Zero deadline.

The opportunity now

It doesn’t matter which industry you operate in; certification is already a badge of quality. But with the 2050 Carbon Net Zero deadline approaching, certification will go from nice-to-have to must-have. From environmentally-sound policies and procedures, to cybersecurity, data processing, healthy buildings and happier workforces – this has gone beyond a certificate gathering dust on a wall. Carbon Net Zero is not just about a company reducing environmental impact; it’s about all parts of a business working together to make it run better for the future.

Go one level deeper and the opportunities within each sector are astonishing. In the residential market alone, over twenty-four million homes need to be retrofitted ahead of the deadline, equating to 71,500 domestic retrofits every month. The government has announced that nineteen million of those will be complete by 2035, which is a rate of 131,000 a month. That means a knock-on opportunity for any business involved with the recruitment, training, supply chain or marketing of those businesses.

In short – the opportunity is massive.

The opportunity for the future

By putting processes in places that are auditable, you can scale up, perform better, reduce risk and train the next generation of team members in both the operational standards and mindset of continuous improvement – which builds vital business longevity.

It is easier to grow a business that has procedures in place – any good accountant will tell you that. Processes and procedures allow you to spot improvement opportunities, saving valuable resources. It also encourages employee engagement – after all, if you give your team the tools to do their jobs effectively and efficiently, surely that has a positive effect on morale, productivity and pride in the job. Moreover, having a third-party impartial audit is also beneficial because it provides a critical friend – a helping hand to improve your business now – and for the future.