ISO certification and ISO compliance can often be confused. It is important for you as a business owner to understand what you need as more often than not, compliance is sufficient for most purposes. Do your research to find out whether certification or compliance is the right fit for your organisation.
Do I need certification or is ISO compliance sufficient?
A lot of people don’t realise that there are two steps to certification.
The first is compliance, and the second is an external audit similar to a health check after which, if you are successful, you receive certification from the auditing body.
As you may have guessed, ISO compliance is considerably cheaper than certification and can even be done yourself internally (and therefore more cheaply still) if you have the skills, resources and time.
Certification on the other hand, is a considerable upfront and ongoing expense and is performed by an independent organisation called a “certification body”.
Few people realise that often compliance is sufficient for most purposes.
Are you looking for certification for marketing purposes? You can have an ISO compliant system and tell the world about it without needing a certification body to audit you. Of course, if anybody asks, it makes sense to have evidence of compliance. One cost-effective option is to get a registered auditor to do a compliance assessment of your business once a year and issue you with a certificate. ICS is frequently asked to perform this service for our clients as we have a large pool of qualified and registered auditors who have the necessary credibility to perform this task.
Is your customer requesting certification to an ISO standard? You may be surprised to find that many customers would be happy with a certificate of compliance from a registered auditor rather than a full-blown certification from an external auditing body. If this is the case, you will save a significant amount of money (both upfront and in ongoing charges) and still get all the benefits of an ISO compliant management system.
Sometimes however it is clear that external certification is required. The clue here is that the wording of the request will refer to an independent auditing body or external certification from an approved certification body or something similar. Often government bodies and large corporations are the most inflexible in this regard.
Either way, there is nothing to be lost by asking the question. You may be surprised by the answer.
If you have any more questions on either ISO certification or ISO compliance, feel free to call us on 1300 132 745 or contact us via our website.