As this is my final column for 2021, now is the perfect time to reflect on the year gone by and look forward to the new year ahead. For 2021, I am probably like many others who would say that the year turned out nothing like we expected! I recall at the end of 2020 thinking that we had all the madness of Covid behind us and we would be returning to a more normal 2021. How wrong could that have been? As it turned out, the disruption continued through the year, with some parts of the world faring better than others both in public health terms and business terms. The main impact of the pandemic continues to be the tragic loss of life and long-lasting illness. Our condolences go to anyone affected anywhere.
Despite the ‘brave new world’ we have found ourselves in, 2021 for Exemplar Global has been a time for making positive change. During the last two or three years we have embarked on a journey to become more relevant to more people in the community we serve, the conformity world. This sector was already facing challenges before Covid; during the pandemic, more challenges came along. These also provided opportunity and renewed examination of how we might do things. I am of the view that this is a good thing and opens our minds to ‘what could be possible?’
For us, we continued developing both current and new services. We strove to make more services more accessible to more members of our community. We encouraged ongoing professional development without diminishing from those areas where CPD may be required for individual certification or re-certification. It is our intention to engage everyone in CPD not because they have to but because they want to, as a way to recognize that it is good for them and their careers! For example, some of the understated benefits of any certification with Exemplar Global include access to events through the year, receipt of our Auditor Online e-magazine, and countless resources in our library, all of which are offered within the fee structure of certification. I might conservatively suggest there we offer at least 25 hours of CPD opportunities each year, all at no additional cost.
In 2021 we also launched our Audit Simulator, which helps our customers learn new standards, gain hands-on experience, and conduct an industry-typical audit—all from the comfort of one’s computer. I am not aware that anyone else has tried this. We will continue to build and further develop these resources.
All of this highlights that we are serving a community of people with common or overlapping interests. Not everyone is the same nor has the same needs; indeed, as a community our needs and wishes are quite diverse. We aim to satisfy our customers through the use of technology to support our services, and thereby encourage as many of you to join our community as possible.
In 2021 Exemplar Global made much positive progress. I would like to thank every one of our customers who supported our mission with presentations, sponsorships, and advertising. And I’d like to add a personal note of thanks to the Exemplar Global team, without whom nothing would get done. We work with several partners and collaborate with them to bring many services to you. It is in this spirit of collaboration that I wish to close 2021 and look toward to 2022.
It is tempting for some in our sector and the wider conformity community to want to compete or diminish the efforts of others. Increasingly, however, it is clear that not only can we perform better through collaboration, it is becoming essential that we do so if we want to thrive. Technology offers a perfect example in the aggregation of data (better known by some as ‘Big Data’), which is only possible through the collaboration of multiple parties. This does not in any way mean that competition is not possible. I am a strong advocate of healthy competition but there are times when the greater good can only be achieved through working together. When it comes to the bigger issues like the future of auditing and how we want auditors to perform, it is only by agreeing to work together that we can describe an agreed set of criteria to serve all stakeholders. If we do not, and we become stuck with the ‘now,’ that will soon become the past and others will move into the future without us.
That, for me is the aim for 2022, to find ways to collaborate with auditors, CBs, scheme owners, accreditation bodies, industry groups, indeed any stakeholders, to promote the profession and professionals we serve, to make the profession more attractive, to lead more people to consider these careers, and to encourage all to continue with personal development.
I hope every one of you has a joyous, safe, and restful holiday season if holidays are upon you, and I also wish you all a most happy and successful 2022.
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