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What is the difference between compliance and ethics in business?

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2023 | Investigations & Regulatory Compliance

At its most basic, it’s all about doing the right thing – isn’t it? Compliance and ethics both have important parts to play in your business and they’re not separate from one another. They do, however, mean different things to different people and it’s hard to put an exact definition on what each one is. 

Having said that, how do you know what’s ethics and what’s compliance and how can you make sure you’re accounting for both in your business?

Compliance is following laws and regulations 

Which is why it’s perhaps easier to describe. There’s often a regulatory framework that needs to be followed and there’s very little room for interpretation. The purpose is to make sure the business and the people within it do not find themselves in legal trouble. 

Ethics is more personal to each individual 

At its heart it comes down to making sure you do the right thing. This intertwines with compliance because adhering to the rules and laws set down is, in essence, “doing the right thing”. People are often guided by their own personal set of values when they act and they will make the choices they believe to be right. 

You need both in business to be successful 

Compliance and ethics go hand-in-hand when running your business. Making sure you employ the right people at the outset, and encourage a workplace environment that promotes ethical behavior, is important to creating a team that’s compliant. 

Making sure you understand your compliance obligations is essential to not falling foul of seemingly endless laws and regulations. Finding out more about ethics and compliance programs can help your business stay ahead of the game.