Changes to government regulations can impact various aspects of your business operations, from tax reporting and filing to mandatory cybersecurity measures.
It's essential to stay on top of regulatory changes that might affect your business, or you might inadvertently end up in noncompliance. This can result in severe consequences, from fines to limitations on future business practices. Facebook's data privacy scandal is a textbook case.
Find out how you can keep track of government updates below.
How To Monitor Government Updates
There are different techniques you can use to keep track of government updates.
The first step in policy monitoring is to figure out exactly what policies are relevant to you (see the next section for some ideas). Once this is done, you can start collecting information on those policies and tracking them for changes.
Next, find the relevant government websites and check them for news. If there is an email list you can sign up for updates, do it. For example, say you own a dental clinic. You might check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention oral health vertical, a government resource.
You can also get news via relevant stakeholder organizations. Take the dental clinic example — the American Dental Association is the premiere dentistry lobbying association, and their newsroom offers updates on everything from COVID-19 to the Affordable Care Act.
Attending industry events like conferences and workshops is also useful. Finally, scan the news regularly. Focus on niche publications specific to your field. You might also follow relevant social media accounts or subscribe to podcasts.
Which Types of Changes Are Important To Your Business
You are the expert in your field, and it's your responsibility to know what types of government updates might impact your business.
Here are some possible areas that may affect you:
- Sales tax
- Tariffs and trade policies
- Federal tax overhauls
- Data privacy rules (e.g., the European General Data Protection Regulation)
- The Affordable Care Act
- Sick Leave and minimum wage policies
- COVID-19 regulations
How Often To Check Government Updates
You should check government updates every quarter, at a minimum. Since it usually takes time for governments to push through significant changes, this should give you enough heads-up to prepare for upcoming changes.
If you see that a piece of legislation or regulation is being discussed that will impact your operations, keep an eye on it. You can set a Google News email alert defining critical keywords (like the name of the legislation). You will then be notified whenever relevant headlines appear.
The Final Word: Why You Should Know Changes At Government Level
Tracking policy changes ensures that you can take a proactive approach to prepare for them before they occur. This is preferable to a reactive approach, which can leave you scrambling to maintain business operations, depending on the issue at stake.
Convenience aside, the biggest issue is compliance. You don't want to get in trouble with the government because of noncompliance. Regularly tracking policy updates that are relevant to your business will help prevent this worst-case scenario. Changes in government regulations can have a serious impact on your business. Staying up to date with these changes will help keep your business ahead of the curve when these changes arise.
About the Author, James Webster
James Webster, founder and CEO of ROK Financial has almost two decades of experience within the financial services industry. His passion for helping small business owners and his innovative way of thinking, has allowed him to run multiple successful businesses including National Business Capital & Services. Under the National name, the team was able to help secure over $1 Billion in financing for small businesses nationwide.