How to Manage Multiple Compliance Deadlines: A Case Study

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Compliance managers in the energy sector are constantly juggling a large work load with competing deadlines. Managing time effectively is a core skill for compliance managers. In this article, we will present a hypothetical case study of a compliance manager in an energy retailer who has to juggle multiple compliance tasks and deadlines, and how they can use some strategies and tools to manage their workload and prioritise effectively. We will also share some insights and tips from Compliance Quarter, a consultancy that helps energy businesses with regulatory compliance.

The Case Study

Meet Alice, a compliance manager in a medium-sized energy retailer that operates in several states and territories. Alice is responsible for ensuring that the retailer complies with the relevant laws, rules, codes, and standards that apply to its operations, such as the National Energy Retail Law, the National Energy Retail Rules, the Australian Consumer Law, and the Privacy Act. Alice also has to monitor and report on the retailer’s compliance performance, conduct audits and reviews, and manage any compliance issues or breaches that may arise.

Alice loves her job, but she often feels overwhelmed by the amount and complexity of the compliance tasks and deadlines that she has to deal with. For example, in the next month, Alice has to:

  • Prepare and submit the retailer’s compliance report to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), which requires her to collect and analyse a lot of data and evidence on the retailer’s compliance performance and activities.
  • Respond to a notice from the AER requesting information and documents on the retailer’s hardship policy and practices, as part of a compliance audit that the AER is conducting on the retailer’s obligations to assist customers in financial difficulty.
  • Review and update the retailer’s pricing and associated processes, in light of the recent changes to the National Energy Retail Rules and the upcoming changes to the Default Market Offer and the Victorian Default Offer.
  • Conduct a compliance training session for the retailer’s staff, to raise their awareness and understanding of the retailer’s compliance obligations and expectations.
  • Investigate and report on a potential compliance breach that occurred when the retailer’s billing system malfunctioned and overcharged some customers.

How can Alice manage these multiple compliance deadlines without compromising the quality of her work, or her own well-being? Here are some of the strategies and tools that Alice can use, and that Compliance Quarter can help her with.

The Strategies and Tools

One of the key skills that Alice needs to develop and apply is prioritisation. Prioritisation is the process of deciding which tasks are more important or urgent than others, and allocating the appropriate time and resources to them. Prioritisation can help Alice to focus on the most critical and impactful compliance tasks and deadlines, and to avoid wasting time and energy on less important or trivial ones. Prioritisation can also help Alice to reduce stress and anxiety, and to achieve a better work-life balance.

There are many methods and frameworks that Alice can use to prioritise her compliance tasks and deadlines, such as the Eisenhower Matrix, the Pareto Principle, the MoSCoW Method, and the ABCDE Method. However, the most effective method for Alice may depend on her personal preferences, work style, and the nature and context of her compliance tasks and deadlines. Therefore, Alice should experiment with different methods and find the one that works best for her.

Here is an example of how Alice can use the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritise her compliance tasks and deadlines. The Eisenhower Matrix is a simple and popular tool that helps to categorise tasks based on their importance and urgency, and to decide what to do with them. The matrix has four quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1: Important and Urgent. These are the tasks that have a high impact and a tight deadline, and that require immediate attention and action. For example, Alice’s task of investigating and reporting on the potential compliance breach falls into this quadrant, as it may have serious consequences for the retailer and its customers, and it may have a legal or regulatory deadline.
  • Quadrant 2: Important but Not Urgent. These are the tasks that have a high impact but a flexible or no deadline, and that require planning and preparation. For example, Alice’s task of reviewing and updating the retailer’s compliance program and policies falls into this quadrant, as it may have a long-term benefit for the retailer and its compliance performance, but it does not have a specific or immediate deadline.
  • Quadrant 3: Not Important but Urgent. These are the tasks that have a low impact but a tight deadline, and that require delegation or negotiation. For example, Alice’s task of conducting a compliance training session for the retailer’s staff falls into this quadrant, as it may have a low or indirect impact on the retailer’s compliance performance, but it may have a scheduled or expected deadline.
  • Quadrant 4: Not Important and Not Urgent. These are the tasks that have a low impact and a flexible or no deadline, and that require elimination or postponement. For example, Alice’s task of responding to some routine compliance queries from the retailer’s staff or customers falls into this quadrant, as it may have a negligible or minimal impact on the retailer’s compliance performance, and it does not have a pressing or fixed deadline.

Why not try to categorise your own tasks using our Eisenhower Matrix Task Manager app below (it is free to use!). Simply add your tasks and allocate them to a quadrant, then download as a PDF.

Based on the Eisenhower Matrix, Alice can decide to do the following with her compliance tasks and deadlines:

  • Do the tasks in Quadrant 1 first, as they are the most important and urgent ones. For example, Alice can allocate the most time and resources to investigating and reporting on the potential compliance breach, and to completing it as soon as possible.
  • Schedule the tasks in Quadrant 2 next, as they are the most important but not urgent ones. For example, Alice can allocate some time and resources to reviewing and updating the retailer’s compliance program and policies, and to completing it within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Delegate or negotiate the tasks in Quadrant 3, as they are the least important but urgent ones. For example, Alice can delegate some of the compliance training tasks to other compliance staff, or negotiate the timing or scope of the training session with the retailer’s management.
  • Eliminate or postpone the tasks in Quadrant 4, as they are the least important and not urgent ones. For example, Alice can eliminate some of the compliance queries that are irrelevant or redundant, or postpone some of the queries that are not urgent or critical.

By using the Eisenhower Matrix, Alice can prioritise her compliance tasks and deadlines more effectively, and manage her workload more efficiently.

The Conclusion

Managing multiple compliance deadlines can be a daunting and stressful challenge for compliance managers in the energy sector. However, by using some strategies and tools, such as prioritisation methods and frameworks, compliance managers can overcome this challenge and achieve their compliance goals and objectives. Compliance Quarter can assist compliance managers with these strategies and tools, and provide them with expert advice and guidance on regulatory compliance. If you are a compliance manager in the energy sector, and you need help with managing your compliance tasks and deadlines, contact Compliance Quarter today and find out how we can help you.

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