Guide to Identifying Your Compliance Obligations

This Guide to Identifying Your Compliance Obligations provides a methodical approach for determining the rules and regulations your business may be subject to and the related compliance obligations imposed on your organisation.

There are an overwhelming number of regulations and an even more number of resources that provide information on such regulations. The intention of this Guide is not to regurgitate what is already out there but to provide you with a systemic process for identifying your compliance obligations and a central reference point for doing so.

The individual responsible for managing compliance in an organisation may use this Guide to Identifying Your Compliance Obligations as a template for developing compliance documentation for the organisation’s compliance program.

This Guide to Identifying Your Compliance Obligations is not intended to replace a lawyer or advisor. If you have any specific matters you may be concerned about, or if you would like to have someone review your compliance obligations, documentation and processes for you, please refer to a Compliance Consultant.


  1. Methodology. 1
  2. Document information. 4



There are 4 stages to the process for identifying compliance obligations:

  1. Stage 1 – Determine business activities, products and services
  2. Stage 2 – Identify applicable rules and regulations
  3. Stage 3 – Determine compliance obligations
  4. Stage 4 – Create your compliance register

Business activities, products and services

The first stage of the process is to list down all the activities your organisation and each member of the organisation carry on. Such activities should cover all operational processes to external dealings with your customers or clients, third parties and vendors or suppliers.

Along with identifying all your business activities, you will also need to determine the players or actors for each business activity. For example, all sales activities involve interactions with potential customers or clients and your sales team. If you have a large organisation, sales activities may also include the involvement of your marketing department, customer service department and more.

Example  this is an example of a Business Activities Checklist which sets out the usual activities carried out by a business, the players involved and the corresponding areas of law that may apply to such business activities.

Applicable areas of law

Once you have identified all your business activities, the next step is to identify the relevant areas of law that apply to such activities. There are those that apply to every business in Australia and these include the following areas of law:

  • Advertising and promotion
  • Anti-bribery and corruption
  • Business organisation and corporations
  • Competition and consumer protection
  • Contract (including sale of goods and supply of services)
  • Environment
  • Intellectual property
  • Privacy and data protection
  • Tax and accounting
  • Trade practices
  • If you hire staff:
    • Employment relations
    • Workplace conduct
    • Workplace health and safety

Other laws including building and property rules and regulations may apply depending on your business activities.

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