The International Conference of 2042

On the occasion of the Welcome Address by the Grand President on Monday 4th August, 2042 of the 22nd Fora of Internal Auditors, Risk Management, Fraud Prevention and Corporate Governance Professionals at the Mark Zuckerberg Presidential Library and Convention Centre Menlo Park, California, United States.

Compare prepared to delivered text.

**

Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the 22nd Fora of Internal Auditors, Risk Management, Fraud Prevention and Corporate Governance Professionals (“the Fora”).

It is my great pleasure to be holigraphed before you on this esteemed occasion and to deliver the opening address.

It is customary in moments such as this to look forward and exalt those present to strive harder to reach a goal on their professional and personal horizons.

Today, I will not do that.

Instead today I want to look back over the last 25 years and reflect on the great achievements of our profession that changed forever on that winter Monday morning in 2017 in Sydney, Australia at the third last stand alone Institute of Internal Auditors International Conference.

This most fascinating of journeys started that day and has continued at a pace that we can barely keep up with ever since.

I was but a first year arts / accounting / engineering (well STEM was a new concept at the time) graduate staffing the coffee cart at my organisation’s stall that momentous turn of the calendar but I remember it as if it were yesterday.

Out of the corner of my eye, I can still see three people sitting in the corner off to the side of the crowds.

I didn’t know then, but know now, that those three people – who will remain nameless – were plotting the overthrow of the internal audit profession from within.

They thought that the internal audit profession was losing relevance, was seen as a quaint theoretical construct and had no real relevance to what business wanted or needed.

How wrong they were.

I – again then but a naive youngster ready to enter the world of management – was appalled at their intent.

So as you all know by now I decided to change our profession forever.

This is how I did it.

This is how WE did it.

First and foremost we embraced the machines.

Compared to that day in July 2017, 97.3% of all audit and risk work is now automated.

It seems such a weird concept that we ever talked about sampling but the elders amongst you will remember trying to extrapolate.

How very strange!

We are now communicators not doers – that has been a fundamental change.

Secondly we – some say many decades too late – embraced the awesome power of the internet.

Who ever knew that the same principles of auditing accounts payable were universal?  

Yet for some reason not only did we develop our own approaches under the rationale of being organisationally unique but we didn’t share what we learnt.

My invention in the summer of 2023 of the first global database of audit programs (that was the easy part) and audit findings (that was a little bit more challenging) has fundamentally revolutionised how risk is managed within an organisation.

The Vault – as you have all colloquially since taken to calling it – changed everything.

Of course we were helped along no doubt by the global legislative push for all control improvements to be centrally recorded.  There is a time and a place for government intervention!

Over the last 18 years every one of you has been able to immediately benchmark yourself against the world – the world – in terms of where you sit on the bell curve of good control environments and what we have seen as a consequence is transparency that would have previously been unimaginable.

This then leads me to the third pillar that we embraced.

There is a reason why the Facebook founder upgraded (or is it downgraded?) from knowing all the world’s secrets to being President of the Combined United States and Mexico (let’s be honest none of us saw that coming in 2017 – not the Zuckerberg part; the Mexico part!).

President Zuckerberg understood very early on that there was power in everyone knowing what everyone else was doing.

Now if you recall in the early years of Facebook everyone put up only the most glowing interpretation of their existence.  

That has obviously changed and the documented life is just that.  We all can now instantly recall what we were doing and how we felt years in the past because personal sensory implants have long been accepted by society.

Likewise there is now nothing that happens within the four walls (well who actually goes into an office anymore!) of a business that is not recorded.  Now we can measure anything; absolutely anything and can tell you in real time exactly what is likely to happen in the next five minutes or five years.

We are the masters of our destiny like never before.

We – and likely will be for a long time – are in the world of predictive data analytics or PDA (my parents tells me that PDA meant something very different in their youth).

The fourth thing we embraced was the wisdom of our elders.

What was the crazy thinking that prevailed in yesteryear to discard the collective knowledge of our colleagues at an artificial limit in their relative youth of their late 50s and early 60s.

It was a key deliverable of early Fora to develop a pool of experienced audit, risk, fraud and governance experts that we uber (a word that has long since lost its meaning to those ride sharing companies that disappeared when the self drive car came around) the resources.

If – as it is – that the average life span is 113, why in the world would we not use that skill set so that they can take us on a journey that us youngsters in the late 40s still years off middle age cannot even begin to imagine.

Finally we as a Fora and we as a combined profession embraced the world.

Of the 1.3 million people virtually or physically attending this Fora we are representative of every country, every gender, every language, every demographic imaginable.

We are a world profession because we come from the world.

**

I finish my welcome speech today again as that shy, humble girl born in a village 50 miles south of Launda in Angola at a time when that moment of fate should have dictated a very different life experience.

The world has changed.

We have changed.

Our profession has changed.

We have never been more relevant.

Just imagine what it will be like in 2067 – bring on the next 25 years.

Welcome.

Subscribe to Receive Our Email Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.