The International Standards Organization (ISO) creates a wide variety of internationally-recognised standards that apply to organizations – some of the most well-known being ISO 9001, which is related to quality management systems, and ISO 22301, which is related to business continuity and security.
But you may be a bit confused about some of the terminology related to ISO certification and accreditation. Specifically, what is the difference between certification and accreditation?
These terms are often used interchangeably by the general public. So what’s the difference, and does it matter?
ISO Certification Applies To Specific Products, Processes, Systems, Or Persons
An ISO certification is a written assurance from an ISO-certified accreditation body that a particular product, process, system, or even a person meets ISO requirements.
By conducting conformity assessments and a variety of checks and audits, the certified accreditation body can check the compliance of the product, process, or system – and determine whether or not it meets ISO requirements.
If it does, the certified accreditation body can create a written assurance that the relevant system, process, or product meets ISO standards, and issue certificates stating that it has been ISO-certified.
However, this does not apply to entire companies. Rather, it applies specifically to that process, product, or system. This is one of the big differences between ISO certification and accreditation. ISO certification applies only to one particular aspect of a company’s operation – ISO accreditation applies to the company as a whole.
ISO Accreditation Applies To Entire Companies That Provide ISO Certification
In general use, the terms “ISO accreditation” and “ISO certification” are used interchangeably, but there is a difference between these terms. Basically, ISO accreditation involves showing an organization is able to perform ISO testing and quality checks up to certain international standards.
In other words, accreditation is used to verify that organizations have the appropriate quality management systems in place, and are able to properly perform certain test methods according to their scopes of accreditation.
For example, in Australia, JAS-ANZ is the internationally-recognised assessment body. It can issue ISO accreditation to a company such as Best Practice Certification – recognizing the credibility, competence, independence, and integrity of our ability to assess compliance with ISO standards.
This, in turn, allows Best Practice Certification to issue ISO certification to companies in Australia. Since we are a JAS-ANZ and ISO-certified accreditation body, we are able to conduct a wide variety of conformity assessment tasks – and award certification to companies that meet the necessary requirements.
Basically, ISO certification means that a company meets certain ISO standards, and is provided by a third-party assessment body. In contrast, ISO accreditation means that a company can assess other companies to determine if they meet ISO standards – and issue certifications accordingly.
Always Seek ISO Certification From An ISO-Certified Accreditation Body
If you are seeking ISO certification at your company, it’s very important to always work with an ISO-certified accreditation body, such as Best Practice Certification. This is very important because there is nothing preventing an unaccredited certification body from offering “ISO certification services.”
But because these companies have not gone through the formal accreditation process with JAS-ANZ or the other relevant ISO accreditation body, the national and international recognition of the certifications issued by this company will be limited in scope.
Because of this, you should always check the accreditation status of the assessment company or ISO-certified accreditation body that you’re working with. At Best Practice Certification, for example, we are fully accredited by JAS-ANZ, so we can offer internationally-recognised ISO certifications throughout Australia.
Contact Best Practice Certification For ISO Consultancy Services, Certification, And Accreditation!
Whether you need consulting services to ensure you meet ISO standards, or you are ready to seek ISO certification for your business, Best Practice Certification is here to help. As experienced ISO consultants, we’re here to help through every part of the process – and we serve companies in a wide variety of industries and specialisations.
We are an independent body of JAS-ANZ-accredited experts, and are fully capable of assisting with conformity assessments, ISO management, and so much more. To learn more and see a list of the certifications we offer, just contact us online for a consultation.