Exploring FCPA Training: What It Is, Who Needs It, and the Benefits Offered

There is no shortage of corporate training required today. Compliance training, leadership training, safety training – these are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. However, some businesses must take it a step farther. FCPA training is a necessary consideration for many companies. Not sure what it is, what’s involved, who it applies to, or the benefits this training offers? We’ll discuss that and more below.

What Is FCPA Training?

FCPA is an acronym for the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It was passed back in 1977 as a direct result of American businesses involved with graft (paying money or giving gifts to foreign parties).  The intention of the Act was to eliminate bribery, hold American businesses to a higher standard, and revive the public’s faltering trust in the US business system. Enforcement of the act is done through FCPA training, which is developed by the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (these agencies do not deliver the training – they simply ensure that all accredited training programmes meet standards).

What Is Involved with FCPA Training?

FCPA training includes a wide range of topics, all of which are covered in the Resource Guide published by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission as requirements for training. While training programmes will vary somewhat in terms of topic areas covered, most will touch on the following:

  • Gifts and money payments
  • Compliance requirements with the FCPA
  • Consequences of not complying with requirements
  • Warning signs to watch for that may indicate non-compliance
  • Travel expenses, meals, and entertainment
  • Corrupt intent
  • The definition of “foreign official”
  • Recordkeeping
  • Reporting methods

The Resource Guide goes further in recommending that, while all businesses will have varying compliance needs, an FCPA training and compliance program should include the following:

  • A commitment from upper management to be anti-corruption
  • A codified code of conduct
  • Codified compliance policies
  • Autonomous oversight
  • In-depth risk assessment
  • FCPA training for all employees who require it (and accurate identification of those employees)
  • Accurate, regular reporting

One of the most important considerations of a training programme should be developing an understanding of what employees can give to customers (or vice-versa). Within the FCPA guidelines, you will find a very loose definition of “anything of value”. This can include anything from stocks and bonds to meals out at restaurants, or even tickets to a performance. There is no need for the gift to be material, either. It simply needs to have value, and that value must be conveyed in a corrupt manner.

Who Needs FCPA Training?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the question posed above. Not all businesses will require FCPA training. Generally, it is only those that will do business with American companies or other US-based entities. However, “doing business” is a loose term and it may not require actual financial transactions or an exchange of goods or services.

However, it is generally considered good practice that if your business has any type of FCPA policy in place, you should provide FCPA training for all of your employees regardless of whether they will interact with US-based entities. All executives and senior managers will require this training, and some may require one-on-one training, rather than online training or general classroom training. Finally, all sales and accounting staff members who occupy a “frontline” position must have FCPA training if you have an FCPA policy.

What Benefits Does FCPA Training Deliver?

In the end, the primary benefit of FCPA training and policy codification is risk mitigation. It ensures that you will not be found out of compliance with these rules and regulations. It also helps to smooth international business relations and speed up transactions.

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