This week I will be attending the IIA’s International Conference in Boston. For those of you who have never attended, let me say that it is an opportunity to hear some of the top speakers within the profession, learn about emerging trends and issues, meet colleagues old and new, and (surprisingly to most) have a pretty good time.
For me, international conferences have been the inflection points for many ideas that I’ve been able to use and adapt to internal audit. My first conference was in Phoenix in the early 90s. It was at this conference where I was introduced to TQM (Total Quality Management) and its ramifications for the audit world. It was also my first real experience with people talking about electronic workpapers. Sure, it was nothing more than flowcharting packages and word processing programs – but it was computers making our jobs easier. (Oh yeah, I also got to hold the door for Larry Sawyer.)
And it has been true that almost every international conference I’ve attended led me to new insights. In Anaheim I learned about the impact of matrix organizations (a new concept at the time) on control and on the development of internal audit departments. The New York Conference was where I learned about balanced scorecards and how audit departments were using them. At the Dallas conference I was introduced to some of the first work on the competencies framework. And it was at the Las Vegas conference where I realized that auditors do just as bad a job of dancing to “Celebrate” as any happy hour crowd I’ve ever seen.
So, if you are one of those lucky enough to be attending, gear yourself up for a good time. And, if you happen to stumble across me picking up free tchotchkes from the vendors, walk up and say “Hi.”
And, if you’re not attending, stay tuned and I’ll see if I can portray any of the fun and excitement that comes from these meetings.
And, most importantly, see if you can find a way to finagle your way to next year’s.