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CQI’s Audit SIG Conference brings the future to the audit table

Published: 23 Sep 2022

The Chartered Quality Institute’s Audit Special Interest Group met in conference with delegates, on September 15 to discuss the future of the audit industry. 

The Chartered Quality Institute’s Audit SIG Conference, in partnership with Inmarsat and sponsored by Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), took place on September 15, at Inmarsat’s headquarters in London. Attended by auditors from industry sectors spanning from aerospace to global communications, the Audit SIG: Future of Auditing Conference was a melting pot of diverse views and experiences shared among auditors from around the world who rarely get a chance to meet and compare notes.

Featuring speakers from Belfast to South America, the conference was well attended both remotely and in person and included two spirited panel discussions reviewing a wide range of topics including the risks inherent in fraudulent certifications, language and culture barriers to audit processes and the implications of AI for the audit industry.

Welcomed by CQI Chief Executive Officer Vincent Desmond, Audit SIG Chair William Rankin and SGS Global Head of Certification Jonathan Hall, the conference began with Inmarsat’s Director of Quality Management, Martin Rodgers, opening on the difficulties facing quality audit governance in the face of an overabundance of information.

A sense of excitement and camaraderie permeated the air as delegates asked questions and shared stories. Speaking during the first conference break, Audit SIG Committee Member and Quality Lead at Boeing Defence UK, Shareef Bhunnoo, commented: “Really insightful. It’s good to hear that we’re all thinking similar thoughts in terms of the way the industry needs to evolve in the future with remote auditing and how the culture needs to change. [No longer] a red card industry, but instead part of the quality and improvement side of business.”

Throughout the event there was a return to the theme of how audit has changed in the past few decades. From yesterday’s conformance auditing ‘gotchas’ to today’s more holistic coaching processes. Other trending themes focussed on concerns over the future of the industry given the leaps and bounds of artificial intelligence, remote auditing and the overall plans for dealing with a rapidly emerging technology agenda.

“This conference was a statement to the world that audit has a bright future no matter what changes lie ahead. As long as we connect, collaborate and learn together, audit will always be a flexible and trusted positive tool for businesses to rely upon. Audit has no boundaries!”

William Rankin, Audit SIG Chair

In the afternoon theme of the event, Sustainability, Alessandro Cacioni spoke of the need for quality auditing in satellite manufacturing and management. Towards the end of the evening, Jonathan Hall from SGS underlined in the Context part of the conference how time pressure could impact the effectiveness and the future of auditing.

William Rankin summed up the event with: “This conference was a statement to the world that audit has a bright future no matter what changes lie ahead. As long as we connect, collaborate and learn together, audit will always be a flexible and trusted positive tool for businesses to rely upon. Audit has no boundaries!”

Video of the Audit SIG conference to go live soon.