what is a compliance officer?

As a compliance officer, you ensure a company follows the relevant laws and guidelines. You collaborate with various departments in the company to ensure their operations follow regulations. You rely on your research skills to provide information on legal requirements and complex industry standards. As a compliance officer, you also review and interpret internal policies to ensure they align with ethical standards. 

As businesses evolve, you ensure they adapt to changing regulations. Aside from reviewing and implementing rules, you also help the company avoid fines, legal action or penalties for non-compliance. A compliance officer's duties depend on the position they hold. When you work for a small company, you will likely complete all the compliance tasks alone. In large organisations, you work alongside a team of compliance professionals to handle complex legal requirements.

the importance of a compliance officer

A compliance officer manages the internal and external compliance requirements of a company. You assist businesses in managing risks associated with health and safety non-compliance. You also help companies maintain a good reputation by ensuring industry practices are ethical and legal. By helping businesses avoid litigation or disputes, you enable them to focus on their strategic goals and expansion into new markets.

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average compliance officer salary

As a compliance officer, your typical annual salary is $80,000. Your pay fluctuates depending on your experience, credentials and industry. As an entry-level compliance officer, your remuneration package begins at $70,000 annually. The earnings increase as your experience develops. High-level compliance officers have a remuneration package of above $90,000 per year. Aside from the basic salaries, you may receive various benefits, including car allowances and annual leave days.

what factors affect the salary of a compliance officer?

The remuneration package of a compliance officer depends on educational qualifications and experience levels. For instance, when you have exceptional credentials, you can negotiate a higher salary than compliance officers with minimal qualifications. In your first year, you earn entry-level earnings. As your experience increases, your expertise improves, which translates to a higher remuneration package.

The industry you work in also affects your earnings. For instance, your earnings increase when you work in business sectors with complex compliance requirements like finance and insurance. The location also affects your earnings. When you work in metro areas, your take-home salary is higher due to the higher cost of living and demand for compliance officers.

Want to know what you will earn as a compliance officer? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.


compliance officer salary

types of compliance officers

Some types of compliance officers include:

  • business compliance officers: as a business compliance officer, you ensure your company adheres to business laws and regulations. You research the operational regulations, tax laws and security standards a business should operate under and ensure compliance. You implement the internal and external regulations associated with business operations.
  • healthcare compliance officers: as a healthcare compliance officer, you assist hospitals and healthcare institutions in meeting the healthcare standards and regulations. You ensure the hospital has internal policies to protect patients and employees.
  • government compliance officers: as a government compliance officer, you ensure compliance with laws and ethical standards. You can work as an ethics officer or fraud investigator to ensure compliance with industry regulations.
types of compliance officers
types of compliance officers

working as a compliance officer

Compliance officers help organisations comply with regulations and ethics in the information technology, business, healthcare, manufacturing, mining and finance sectors. Here are compliance officers' specific duties, work environments and career prospects:


education and skills

Formal qualifications are not essential, but some employers prefer candidates with the following academic credentials:

  • degree course: to become a compliance officer, pursue a bachelor's degree in your area of interest. For instance, pursue business administration courses if you want to become a business compliance officer. You may also pursue a degree in engineering, law, management or finance. The qualifications build your industry experience.
  • certification: instead of completing a degree course, gain certification from a TAFE or registered training organisation. You can pursue a Certificate IV in compliance and risk management or a diploma in quality auditing or business compliance.
  • work experience: you can join the compliance career by working as an intern to gain work experience. Alternatively, find entry-level jobs to help you build your skills and work up to a senior compliance officer position.

compliance officer skills and competencies

Some of the skills that a compliance officer needs include:

  • research skills: you rely on research skills to analyse a business's project proposals and internal policies. Your research skills also help you understand safety protocols and legal standards. With extensive research, you can advise the company managers on the best ways to improve company policies.
  • project management skills: as a compliance officer, you support organisational growth. Hence, you require project management skills to guide professionals and ensure business processes comply with relevant laws. With your skills, you can provide clear guidance on policy changes and the regulations that a company should follow.
  • communication skills: compliance officers provide extensive information about industry regulations, standards and policies. You rely on verbal communication skills to explain policy-related issues to executives and regulatory authorities.
  • detail-oriented skills: you should be attentive to details to stay updated on changing industry standards and regulations. Your detail-oriented skills are also important when analysing large data sets and auditing company processes for compliance.

FAQs about working as a compliance officer

Here are the most asked questions about working as a compliance officer:

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