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A Message from the President and CEO, January 2022

 

 

Happy New Year and welcome to 2022! I sincerely hope that this finds everyone safe and well as we continue our journey through the unknown world that is COVID and, hopefully post-COVID.

Traditionally a new year is a time when we reflect on the past and look ahead to the future. It’s a time when we perhaps set some resolutions for the near or long term. These are sometimes old chestnut resolutions that we try, and fail, to achieve each year. Some are more sincere and those are the ones we really intend to meet to make some positive change that we see as desirable or necessary. So, what about 2022? As I reflected in my last column, 2021 turned out nothing like we imagined, so will we be any better forecasting what is to come in ’22?

Uncertainty abounds around this pandemic. Nothing plays out as we thought, new variants come along, local and international restrictions come…and go…and return again. What I think we can be sure of is exactly this very point: We can be confident, even certain, that uncertainty will continue. How can we, individually and collectively, prepare for and respond to that prevailing environment where uncertainty is constant? I think we can base our answers around what we do know, or at least, what we believe. For example:

  • Assurances of quality/safety/environment/food safety/etc. will still be required
  • Therefore, management systems assurances/product assurances/systems/testing/etc. will still be required
  • Internal assurances will be necessary (meaning internal auditors will be necessary)
  • Supply chain assurances will be required (meaning second-party auditors will be required)
  • Independent audits will be demanded (meaning third-party auditors will be demanded)
  • Regulatory, national standards, international standards, customer requirements, voluntary standards, and schemes will all still be part of a trading environment that links the world

So, if we accept that these will all be needed in some form, that can be the basis for our outlook and planning. As to how we do these things, well, that may change but we can be ready for adapting our ‘how,’ if we are willing and prepared to do so.

As Individuals, we can still invest in our careers to prepare ourselves for whatever is to come. Arguably there is now more opportunity than ever as standards and schemes continue to be defined, and as technology both imposes change and offers an opportunity to harness said change. Customer safety and satisfaction continues to be prevalent but the ‘how’ of auditing is clearly in a state of flux when one considers remote auditing and the use of technology. What is certain is that auditing, be it internal, second party, or third party, will continue to be important. For those who choose to embrace auditing as a career and ‘ride the next wave,’ I forecast an exciting and rewarding future.

For businesses like our training provider customers or certification bodies, scheme owners, and corporate entities with internal and second-party auditors, business will still be demanding. Your brand can be enhanced, and your risk exposure reduced, by adapting to change in your training methodologies or content, with new material presented in new ways—or by engaging highly trained and competent audit practitioners. The benefits are very real but as risk changes so the demand on those practitioners is ever evolving. They need you to allow, encourage, or even require that they keep up with best practice and maintain their own professional development.

I cannot tell you exactly what 2022 might look like, let alone 2025 or 2035, but what I can tell you is that at Exemplar Global, we are here for that long term and will be trying our best to work with all of you to foresee what is required, to devise and develop solutions, to work with all stakeholders to collaborate, to help auditors improve themselves, and to meet the changing demands of our world. Exemplar Global has exciting plans for this year, not least of which is our showcase Excellence in Auditing Expo coming up in March, which will present a very different format and approach to knowledge sharing and community building.

Take a moment early in this new year to consider how you might invest in yourself. That investment might well be time or effort as much as money. I encourage you all to come and look around Exemplar Global and Exemplar LINK. We are so much more than certification; Exemplar Global is a real community of like-minded professionals with common interests and goals…even in an uncertain world.

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