Future auditing – remote and beyond

December 23, 2021

With the Covid-19 pandemic set to dominate into 2022, the dramatic take up in the use of remote techniques for audit, assessment and evaluation out of necessity will continue and evolve.

The health of all those involved in the process – those experiencing audits and those delivering them – is of paramount importance and remote has been a huge enabler for this. Maintaining the creditable status of certificates is also hugely important as so many organisations depend on up-to-date valid certificates for their organisation.

So understanding the effectiveness of remote audits was a key motivator in IIOA Chief Executive Marcus Long leading a joint group of IAF, ILAC and ISO to better understand the views of remote techniques from those experiencing and delivering them. The 4350 respondents showed the real positivity about remote techniques. Maybe more importantly, was the open acceptance of the change that this was creating.

When asked the question, ‘From your experience of carrying out remote audit/assessment/evaluation, how much do you agree that the dramatically increased use of remote techniques and the willingness to change will provide a stimulus to new audit/assessment/evaluation processes (e.g. more frequent & shorter audits, greater use of data, ‘continuous audit/assessment/evaluation’, greater use of specialists)’, 92.5% of the respondents agreed or somewhat agreed.

This presents a great opportunity to take this positivity into the next stages for auditing. To start, the future is not one of no-site or remote, it is blended or hybrid. Hopefully the binary choice disappears as the pandemic does and when it does, the use of risk assessment will be vital in how the ‘blend’ is judged. Factors such as past performance, the type of audit, type and output of the organisation will assist in the assessment.

Beyond remote/on-site, the vision of further new techniques demonstrates that the use of sensors, data feeds and many other factors will see auditing evolve and develop further. This will give greater value and benefit to those who use it and more who will embrace both how assurance and business improvement is delivered.

2022 will see both discussion and development on this key issue for what is set to be an exciting evolution of auditing.

The IAF/ILAC/ISO report on remote techniques is available here.