OFAC compliance doesn’t have to be complex or time-consuming.
If you conduct business in the U.S., or with any U.S. entity, then you already know that complying with OFAC is mandatory. This entails making sure you are not doing business with any country or entity that is sanctioned or embargoed by OFAC.
For most organizations, however, screening can often seem like a daunting process, and with good reason. OFAC regulations and watch lists change on an ongoing basis, and it is up to the individual organization to keep abreast of all the changes and stay on the right side of the law.
But even though every organization is unique, and has its own distinct needs and requirements, there are some general tips and suggestions that we feel would be helpful for all organizations looking to set up – and maintain – an OFAC compliance program:
- Designate a corporate OFAC compliance champion. Organizations that designate an OFAC compliance champion (who can be a person, or a full team) to lead the compliance charge across the whole organization are more likely to get the cooperation of all departments in the long run;
- Screen everyone. This means not just your new clients and customers, but also new vendors, suppliers, new employees, business partners, visitors, mergers and acquisitions, and contractors;
- Rescreen as often as possible. OFAC sanctions and lists change frequently, often on a daily basis. Someone who wasn’t on the list yesterday could very well be on one today—which means that a financial a transaction that was compliant yesterday might be a violation today. The only way to help ensure ongoing compliance is to rescreen frequently;
- Have an OFAC screening workflow. A defined process for screening, escalating, vetting, and resolving matches can formalize and systemize compliance, making it more efficient, and also significantly cut down the chances of errors or lapses along the way; and
- Automate the process. In spite of best intentions, human error can cause compliance lapses; we can forget to screen someone, forget to properly document it, have someone slip through the cracks, and so on. Automating the OFAC compliance and screening process by integrating it with your organization’s business systems can help enhance compliance and also save time and resources that would otherwise have been allocated to time-consuming manual screening processes.
OFAC compliance is a complex and ongoing process, and can be resource- and time-intensive. Using compliance solutions such as Visual OFAC can help expedite screening greatly. If your organization is looking for help with OFAC compliance, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to help you meet your compliance needs.