ISO 9001 certification bodies – one size doesn’t fit all

“All ISO 9001 certification bodies are the same, aren’t they?”

This one of the common misconceptions made by organisations who are preparing to certify their quality management system as part of ISO 9001. There are actually notable differences between ISO 9001 certification bodies.  So, there are some really important things to consider when it comes to finding the right body for your company to work with.

ISO 9001 certification bodies and your business sector

No matter how much experience of ISO 9001 certification your shortlisted ISO 9001 certification bodies have, they might not have experience with your industry type. This means that they might need to carefully research and learn about all the complexities of your sector before they can work effectively with you. Unsurprisingly, this could cause delays in you becoming fully accredited, perhaps while their auditors take time to interpret your process documents. Potential for confusion may increase the risk of errors.

Size it up

Certification and audit experience with large companies can be tough to apply to small companies and vice versa. Always check the background of the ISO 9001 certification bodies you’re thinking about working with to see what size of business they usually work with. They appreciate that you are placing a lot of confidence in them, so they may even offer to provide you with their history. A mutually effective relationship begins with honest conversations, starting with their level of experience with companies shaped like yours.

Do you need global recognition?

Perhaps you are an international organisation. Have you considered ISO 9001 certification bodies whose certifications will be recognised by all your customers across the world? If you only need certification in a particular country, then of course it’s fine to use a certification body who is only recognised the country from which they issue ISO 9001. But if you need your certification to translate for all your customers globally, then make sure you look for a suitably global certifier.

If the certification body is from another country, it’s also crucial to check if they are overseen by a larger organisation equivalent to UKAS in the UK e.g. ANAB in the USA. Sometimes this arrangement means that the certification body itself is not actually accredited in their own right. They may only be accredited in the country in which they’re overseen by that parent organisation.

Choose wisely

Choosing your certification body carefully will mean that you get that valuable return on the funds you’ve invested in becoming certified. A strong relationship with the right certification body will allow you to improve your quality management, boost credibility with your customers, and truly contribute to the evolution of your business.

For more information on ISO 9001 certification bodies, contact Approachable Certification’s friendly team on 0161 667 6610 or email