What is ISO certification and accreditation?

ISO is an international standard-setting body which comprises of representatives of standard organizations from various Nations. The headquarters of ISO is in Geneva, Switzerland and it was established in the year 1947, Feb 23.

ISO is an independent, Non- profitable and Non-governmental organization which is involved in publishing the standards and it is not engaged in issuing the certification. It has published more than 22000 + of rules and it has 164 member countries working for it.

And each standard describes a specific requirement based on the organization’s scope.

There are Certification bodies to issue the certification for different standards which has been published by ISO. ISO certification and ISO accreditation are two different things.

But both are a formal process of implementing the standard which involves a procedure for describing, evaluating, authorizing and testing the activities or systems which are essential to the operation.

Coming to the definitions of certification and accreditation, certification is a comprehensive evaluation of system, process, products and skills which are estimated against some specific standards or norms.

And it is considered to be an approval of seal from external bodies to make sure that the companies are meeting the specific International standard requirements.

This ISO certification can be used as a proof for the company’s credibility and helps to build confidence.

Certification bodies which are been accredited can perform only certain functions of assessments or an audit and it should not get involved in setting up the certification process the way which the other certification bodies does which are not accredited.

And about the accreditation part, it is a kind of license given to the certification bodies to perform the audits and to issue the certificates.

In other words, accreditation can be defined as a process of assessments or evaluation of organizations or entities against the specific requirements to make sure their excellence or competency.

Due to this reason many certification bodies are getting accredited and so the companies are getting certified. There should be only one accreditation body for each country and it can operate several certification bodies.

If the certifications institutions are not accredited, it does not mean they are not reputable, as it’s a choice not an obligation of the individual certification bodies. And above the Accreditation bodies comes a forum called as IAF, where only own accreditation bodies would be a member.

IAF is an association of conformity assessment accreditation bodies and other interested bodies in the field of management systems,services, products and any other programs related to conformity assessment (Conformity assessment defined as the certification bodies or the registration bodies, accredited from IAF members that issues the certificates which attest the organization’s products, management or personnel to meet with specific standard requirements).

The main aim of IAF is to develop a program worldwide for conformity assessment which will help to promote the businesses by reducing the risk and gives an assurance to the customers that the accredited certificates to be relied upon around the world.

So to be more productive and reputable, it is necessary to be a member of IAF.

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