Compliance compatriots everywhere, we need your help: the State of Compliance survey, 2012 edition, is now open for business!

Loyal readers of Compliance Week will remember that we unveiled this survey one year ago, a joint effort with PwC to capture comprehensive benchmarking data about compliance departments today—the risks you face, the structures you use, the resources you have. The result was a resounding success and a fascinating glimpse into how Corporate America runs its compliance function, so we're back to conduct the survey again for 2012.

That means we need your help.

Foremost, we need compliance, risk, and audit executives to take the State of Compliance survey. You can find it here:

The survey should take no more than 30 minutes to complete. We do ask lots of questions, but rest assured that the data you submit is stored on secure computer servers and kept totally confidential—even I won't know who submits what answers! But all that data will be collected and collated, and the aggregate results will be boiled into one executive summary. Compliance Week and PwC will then present our findings at the Compliance Week 2012 conference, and publish them online and in our July print magazine.

I should also mention that in addition to the executive summary (take a look at this report of the 2011 data), each compliance executive who participates in the survey will also receive a customized report that compares your specific answers to the group as a whole. The summary that everyone gets gives you a solid overview of benchmarking data, to be sure—but by taking the actual survey you can get a precise, richly detailed comparison of how your department stacks up against everyone else in Corporate America. That's mighty useful intelligence to have when you sit down with the CFO or the audit committee come budget planning time.

Broadly speaking, the survey will focus on four areas:

  • Scope and effectiveness. In addition to benchmarking compliance functions' responsibilities and interactions with other departments, the study will drill into how effectiveness is measured: how often, and using what metrics. We'll also collect data on use of social media in supporting the ethics and compliance program.
  • Use of technology in governance, risk, and compliance. The study will explore what tools and technologies you use to support initiatives, and how satisfied companies with those technologies you actually are.
  • Staffing, budget and resources. The study will collect data on budget levels, staff size and coordination with other departments and business units.
  • Leadership, reporting relationships and organizational structure. The study will probe into the organizational structures and reporting relationships of compliance and ethics programs.  

And now that this is the second year for our State of Compliance survey, we're especially curious to see how these results are changing over time. For example, last year we found that 38 percent of compliance departments don't measure effectiveness at all—I personally am dying to see whether that number has changed, and how.

I don't need to tell you how complex effective compliance can be, and that data to help you compare your compliance operations against others has long been in short supply. Compliance Week and PwC launched the State of Compliance last year to fill that gap, putting all the information you need to help manage your compliance function in one report. But with all that said—we really can't accomplish much without your help. So do take the survey, and stay tuned for more.