Audit & Beyond 2022 Takeaways

Thousands of audit, risk, sustainability, and compliance professionals tuned in virtually for Audit Beyond 2022 Audit Board’s fourth annual user conference, joined by hundreds who attended the event in person at Terranea Resort in Los Angeles, CA. Several key themes emerged across thought leadership sessions, many of which grappled with the challenges organizations face in today’s dynamic business environment and the need for an integrated, data-driven approach to managing risk. 

A Connected Risk Model Is Critical for Closing the Business Resilience Gap

In the year since Audit Board introduced the concept of the business resilience gap at Audit & Beyond 2021, the velocity and breadth of risk has increased, with new economic and geopolitical realities, as well as ESG, becoming a greater area of focus for regulators, investors, and consumers. Audit Board’s 2022 executive keynote addressed the challenges associated with the expansion of risk into new areas, as well as how a connected risk model can provide the holistic view of risk required to empower business leaders to priorities appropriately and take action effectively.

“In a connected risk model, rather than approaching risk as something to eliminate or even prohibit, you now have a mandate to actively optimize the risk/value relationship.”

Today’s risks defy a segmented approach to risk management. Audit, risk, sustainability, and compliance teams are adopting modern methodologies supported by a linked risk platform with a unified data core to better protect and create value in a world that moves at digital speed – where hazards can appear without warning. Audit Board unveiled a new ESG solution designed to operationalize ESG programmes by automating tedious operations, simplifying framework reporting and disclosures, and ensuring ESG data is audit-ready during the CEO keynote. This latest addition to Audit Board’s connected risk platform furthers Audit Board’s mission of extending the front lines by engaging business owners and third parties; elevating your impact by empowering your teams to be more productive and employee-first in their experience; and connecting insights and data across platforms.

Risk management is a tool, not an end in itself.

No organization exists solely to defend itself; rather, it exists to add value to the lives of its stakeholders. As Richard Chambers, Audit Board’s Senior Internal Audit Advisor, noted in his keynote on Five Risk Imperatives for 2023, the mission of audit, risk, and compliance professionals must include not only protecting, but also creating value — which necessitates remembering that risk management isn’t synonymous with “success.” It’s merely a means to an end.

“Risk management is a means to an end: it helps your firm achieve its goals.” We’ll always be on a mission to safeguard value, but we need to get more comfortable giving solutions that help achieve results.” – Chambers, Richard

Risk management is how we assist our organizations to develop and protect value, and risk chaos is not the time to put our heads down. It’s time to stand up, speak out, and develop new ways to collaborate on risk management. Most importantly, Chambers emphasized, it’s time to supplement hindsight and insight by providing the foresight our companies require.

With Connected Risk, you can go from expecting the unexpected to embracing the unexpected.

The issues you confront in your company will be governed by two forces that emerged during the pandemic: operational disruption and digital acceleration. In his speech, John Wheeler, former Gartner IRM analyst and Audit Board’s Senior Advisor, Risk and Technology, discussed what successful firms must do to reduce the scale and scope of disruptions while increasing the speed and pace of digital growth. Leaders are looking for answers as industry develops accustomed to the maxim “expect the unexpected.”

“By connecting risk, you’ll move beyond just expecting the unexpected to embracing the unexpected – being ready to accelerate through the curves and gain an edge.” – Mr. John Wheeler

The mix of humans and technology in risk management provides increased awareness and comprehension of such risks, enabling superior business decision-making. John Wheeler envisioned a transition from today’s linked risk dashboard to tomorrow’s future risk windshield, with a heads-up display of future risk scenarios and repercussions assisting you in navigating the twists and turns that lie ahead.

Culture is a set of behaviors; base yours on values.

How can businesses establish a winning, engaged culture that attracts top people, promotes effective internal collaborations, and drives peak performance? Ann Rhodes, a corporate culture creator, highlighted strategies to creating a values-based, socially responsible culture that she learned while building excellent teams at JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, and other well-known firms.

You can’t start a culture by writing anything on the wall. Ann Rhodes discussed her perspective on culture as a collection of an organization’s actions, and she walked through how successful firms construct cultures based on values-driven behaviors. To begin, be deliberate in developing your values to create a blueprint for your culture. Choose and keep “A” players who reflect those ideals – competencies can be taught, but values cannot. Hold each other accountable for living your principles and achieving the best results possible. The long-term goal is to create a sustainable, engaged culture in which everyone understands and feels empowered to act on the company’s values in order to promote organizational success.

We hope that all of the audit, risk, sustainability, and compliance professionals who attended us in person or electronically left energized, inspired, and equipped with practical insights to provide value to their organizations.