Below are answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the ISO certification process such as cost, benefits, added value, registration process, accreditation, regulation, myths and scams commonly practiced in the industry by dishonest certification bodies, consultants and auditors.

Can ISO certification help my bottom line?
How can I determine if a registrar has the necessary integrity?
What is the cost of ISO certification?
How long does it take from contract to certification?
What role does accreditation play in selecting a registrar?
Is accreditation required or optional?
Is ISO regulated by a governmental entity?



Can ISO certification help my bottom line?

ISO certification can certainly help grow your company’s bottom line. However, ISO itself is not a miracle cure, and therefore, it can result in a wasteful expense. The key is to select a reputable registrar with competent auditors, and make sure you also select a highly skilled consultant capable of meeting your specific needs. Avoid registrars that provide you with so-called “trained” auditors. Find a registrar with auditors that have real-world experience in your industry. Back to Top

How can I determine if a registrar has the necessary integrity?

A good registrar will commit itself in advance to give you value added based upon his reputation for good service, and will support you with your customer audits. They will be there 24/7 when you need them. A good registrar will be directly available to you when you seek their advice – no automated answering recordings, no intermediary personnel to shield him from you. A good registrar will keep your costs both in time and money to a practical minimum. They will do evaluations without production line time lost in needless employee interviews. They will never insist on the reinvention of your process manuals among other cost saving and efficient methods of evaluation. Back to Top

What is the cost of ISO certification?

The cost to you in terms of dollar costs and company time will depend on your wise choice of a registrar. By using experienced, qualified, and motivated professional evaluators, a good registrar will get directly to the needed information with minimum or possibly no interruption to your company activities. The cost also depends upon the number of your employees and the size and complexity of your operations. In addition to these expected factors, the price can vary considerably from one registrar to the next, and it pays to shop accordingly with this in mind. Back to Top

How long does it take from contract to certification?

This also varies greatly from one registrar to another. A good registrar will not attempt to justify prolonged processing. A good registrar should be able to give you an accurate approximate estimation of the time involved before you sign any agreement. Be careful of offers like “Rapid ISO 9001 Implementation in 40 days” or similar proposals. Keep in mind all companies require different time frames based on a number of criteria such as training needed, documentation, customer reviews, number of employees and other factors. If a registrar or consultant is promising to implement ISO within the same time frame for every company, they are scamming you, plain and simple. Back to Top

What role does accreditation play in selecting a registrar?

Once again, integrity trumps accreditation. A registration may choose to be accredited or unaccredited there is no obligation in doing so. Accreditation is an all or nothing business. A certifying body (Registrar) choosing to be accredited is either accredited or not really accredited. Yes, it is as simple as that. There can be no such thing as a probably accredited certifying body (Registrar). Back to Top

Is accreditation required or optional?

No accreditation is not required. The International Standards Organisation states the following: “In most countries (including the United States), accreditation is a choice, not an obligation and the fact that a certification body is not accredited does not, by itself, mean that it is not a reputable organization. For example, a certification body operating nationally in a highly specific sector might enjoy such a good reputation that it does not feel there is any advantage for it to go to the expense of being accredited. That said, many certification bodies choose to seek accreditation, even when it is not compulsory, in order to be able to demonstrate an independent confirmation of their competence.” Back to Top

Is ISO regulated by a governmental entity?

No. There is a popular misconception that ISO 9001 is regulated by the government. Although there are a number of governmental agencies or departments maintaining ISO certification, the standard in itself is not regulated. Once again, please don’t be fooled by claims that ISO is a regulated by a governmental body, federal department, legislation or any other official body for that matter. Back to Top

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.” – Benjamin Franklin