Why Convert to an ABMS?

Why Convert to an ABMS?

Able to be implemented in any type of business throughout the world, an anti-bribery management system fundamentally changes the way an organisation approaches bribery and puts them on the path towards ISO 37001 certification

An ABMS follows a well-heeled, high-level structure used by many of the ISO management system standards, such as the more well-known Quality Management Systems (9001) and Information Security Management Systems (27001). The key value of a management system lies in its flexibility, allowing you to mould it to fit your organisation. By making some slight changes to your current anti-corruption compliance programme (ABAC programme), organisations can leverage their new anti-bribery management system (ABMS) as a true differentiator. Benefits of making this transition include:

Flexibility to cover your unique risks

  • Able to be used by any organisation
  • Easily transition your current programme
  • A tailored system for your needs

Many organisations fear that transitioning to an anti-bribery management system would require them to follow rigid guidelines that are difficult to implement and might also not be the best structure for their organisation. This is not the case with systems built according to ISO standards though, as they were created to be flexible enough for organisations of all sizes and in any sector. Their overarching requirements provide compliance professionals with a guide, stating areas that need to be included (investigation processes, compliance reporting, etc) if you wish to have your system certified. However, you choose the technical aspects that will best reduce risk in your organisation.

A continuous cycle of improvement

  • Build upon your existing ABAC programme
  • Requires audits, reviews, and improvement
  • Identify and fix gaps for a better system over time 

ABAC programmes have a strong top-to-bottom structure, making them somewhat linear compared to an ABMS’s circular design. This can be seen in the ABMS’s cyclical motion of implementing systems, checking them, measuring them, auditing them, reviewing them, and improving them. This is often in stark contrast to an ABAC programme which is often a little light on the audit, review, and improvement side of things.  

Prove the value of your efforts

  • Requires measurements of all processes
  • More easily identify where problems are occuring
  • Highlight areas of achievement to management

An ABMS forces your compliance team to measure any activity that it decides to include in its defined policies and procedures. While this may make some organisations a little uncomfortable, it is essential for preventing potentially costly issues and closing any gaps that might appear in the system. 

Distribute the responsibility of anti-bribery

  • Vigilence for bribery throughout the organisation
  • Creates a system which requires everyone to participate
  • Easily manage new issues as they arrise

Though the compliance department and management own the responsibilities of development, review, approval, and improvement of the ABMS, everyone in the business plays a role in making the system successful. Transitioning from a compliance programme to a management system fundamentally transforms the objective from attempting to ‘comply’ with anti-bribery, to creating a system for the management of an issue and supporting the business to operate within it. 

Accountability throughout the organisation

  • Easily identify who is responsible for non-conformities
  • Take corrective actions so that issues are avoided in the future
  • Ownership is still maintained by legal and compliance

A ‘lack of ownership’ has been frustrating for many businesses using ABAC programmes in the past, making the benefit of transitioning to an ABMS much clearer. The ABMS, through its internal audit process and ultimately the external audit and certification process, will drive people to follow the system to avoid being exposed as the reason it is found to be in non-conformity with the standard. 

Independently certify

  • Prove the strength of your program
  • Measure conformity against a universal standard
  • Gain a competitive advantage

There is no professional way to audit and certify an ABAC programme against an objective standard which doesn’t exist. This concept is evident in businesses throughout the world, as accountants follow a universal standard against which they are then audited by external professionals. 

Though it takes a bit of time and commitment from your organisation, you won’t regret the vast and continual improvements that an ABMS will bring to your anti-bribery efforts.

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