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ISO Certification by an Accredited Certification Body Equals Increased Credibility

Certification is not a requirement of any of ISO's management system standards. This section provides a basic understanding of what certification and related terms like accreditation, and registration mean.

Do you have an ‘accredited’ ISO 9001:2008 Certification?

Is your ISO Standards based Quality Management System certified by an ‘accredited certification body’?

Certification – the provision by an independent body of written assurance (a certificate) that the product, service or system in question meets specific requirements. Certification is very often referred to as 'registration' in North America.

'Registration' often means that the certifying body (aka Registrar) records the certification in its client register. So, the organization’s management system has been both certified and registered.

Accreditation – the formal recognition by an independent body, generally known as an accreditation body, that a certification body is capable of carrying out certification. Accreditation is not obligatory but it adds another level of confidence, as ‘accredited’ means the certification body has been independently checked to make sure it operates according to international standards.

In the context of ISO 9001:2008 or ISO 14001:2004, 'certification' refers to the issuing of written assurance (the certificate) by an independent external body that it has audited a management system and verified that it conforms to the requirements specified in the standard.

Therefore, in the ISO 9001:2008 or ISO 14001:2004 context, the difference between the two terms is not significant and both are acceptable for general use. “Certification” is the term most widely used worldwide, although registration is often preferred in North America, and the two are used interchangeably.

On the contrary, using 'accreditation' as an interchangeable alternative for certification or registration is a mistake, because it means something different.

In the ISO Standards context, accreditation refers to the formal recognition by a specialized body – an accreditation body – that a certification body is competent to carry out a audit for certification in specified business sectors.

In simple terms, accreditation is like certification of the certification body. Certificates issued by accredited certification bodies are perceived on the market as having increased credibility.

Is your ISO certification by an accredited certification body?

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