The Gulf in perception

Director of International Audit, Risk & Compliance for Commerce & Industry, Matthew Harrison, summarises his thoughts on Hanami’s recent trip to the IIA conference 2018, held in Dubai.

PHOTO 2018 05 31 10 57 31 uai 516x688Having recently returned from the 2018 IIA Global Audit Conference in Dubai last month, the question from a lot of people outside of the audit profession was (as a non-Auditor) “why did you go to an audit conference?”. I thought it was worth answering this question properly to help spread the word, break some misconceptions and explain why Hanami International sends its highest performers, not to Ibiza or Las Vegas… but to an audit conference!

(Matt along with Managing Consultant Bradley Alexander at the IIA conference in Dubai, 2018)

One consistent theme was the look on people’s faces when they asked the question “why would you go to an audit conference?” There is still a certain perception when I mention auditors to the outside world and the reality could not be any different. Audit is fundamentally a people’s job. The level of diplomacy, subtlety, empathy, influencing, open-mindedness, confidence, humility and an array of other qualities needed to be a great auditor is unique. It is a higher level of communication and requires a well-adjusted, multi-layered individual.

Yes, audit is a technical role in many ways and you need both intelligence and knowledge to be successful, but you also require critical thinking and an out-of-the-box mentality than any other profession would deem as highly creative. All of this means internal auditors are in general very good company.

Matt along with Managing Consultant Bradley Alexander at the IIA conference in Dubai, 2018

But there are great people everywhere. So why go to the conference? Hanami recruits internal auditors all over the world, and the conference is a meeting point for the audit community. We have clients in Paris, for example, that have colleagues and teammates in New York, Sao Paulo, Sydney or Tokyo. It is a highly international profession and the opportunity to meet at the conference is sometimes the only chance we will have. To meet our network, be up to date on the key themes is good for us and good for the clients we recruit for. They can talk to us intelligently about the profession and know we are serious about what we do. The conference helps us in our mission to be experts in our field.

So why not Las Vegas? No reason – I am sure Las Vegas is brilliant and maybe if we are fortunate enough we will go next year, given the conference is in California. We are lucky that the audit calendar gives us a chance to reward our top performers with a fantastic trip to a global hub, soak up some sunshine and culture and come back better professionals than we were before!

Thanks to all the people we met at the conference – Dubai is a great location and everyone seemed to enjoy it and have time to switch off too. Sorry to those we couldn’t meet – maybe see you in California!

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