ISO Audit Terminology: A Glossary of ISO 9001 Terms

Explore our ISO 9001 glossary to quickly grasp key certification terms and concepts, streamlining your path to compliance and continual improvement.
ISO Audit Terminology: A Glossary of ISO 9001 Terms

Brush up on your ISO 9001 key terms and start getting prepared.

We know ISO 9001 terms and definitions can be perplexing when you start looking into ISO certification for your business. However, it’s important to gain a solid understanding of these terms as they can be vital to your organisation’s ability to become certified.

Here, we unravel some common ISO 9001 terms and ISO auditing terminology to make the process simpler.


ISO 9001:2015 is the standard created through a series of quality management systems and processes.

These standards are international and set a benchmark in quality that businesses can work towards. Without standards, organisations have nothing to work towards. Some examples of standards include ISO 14001, ISO 2200 and of course ISO 9001.


Compliance is an indication that a business is trained and adhering to the standards in place for the certification to be achieved.

If a business is compliant, they are eligible to be ISO 9001 certified. If a business is looking to be ISO certified they must make changes to their business to become compliant with the clauses within the standard.

Continual improvement

Continual Improvement is incredibly important for businesses that are ISO certified. As part of the certification, an organisation must show their dedication to improving its systems and processes. This is all proof of the business showing a commitment to ISO standards.

Context of the organisation

The context of the organisation relates to the processes and functions affecting the organisation. This is anything internally or externally which have some form of impact on the organisation – an example could be the values of the organisation and how these values then impact the businesses systems and processes.

The following clauses of ISO 9001:2015 are related to the context of the organisation. These clauses are a vital part of the planning process to become ISO certified:

  • 4.1 Understanding
  • 4.2 Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties
  • 4.3 Determining the scope of the quality management system
  • 4.4 Quality management system and its processes


ISO 9001 dictates the importance of leadership in the standard. Leadership is important in ISO 9001 because it is the leader who will begin creating the systems and culture allowing the ISO standard to be met.

Leadership in an ISO 9001:2015 context relates to the following clauses:

  • 5.1 Leadership & Commitment
  • 5.2 Quality Policy
  • 5.3 Organisational Roles, Responsibilities & Authorities


In the lead up to ISO certification, an organisation needs to be prepared. Preparation for ISO certification can be an extensive task, so planning is extremely beneficial to this process.

Work as a team and create a plan to help your business become ISO compliant – this will help your business in the long term. Planning relates to the following clauses in the ISO 9001:2015 standards:

  • 6.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities
  • 6.2 Quality objectives and planning to achieve them
  • 6.3 Planning of changes


Support in an ISO 9001 context can relate to a few different issues, including documentation and personnel. These are the following clauses in the new ISO 9001:2015 update:

  • 7.1 Resources
  • 7.2 Competence
  • 7.3 Awareness
  • 7.4 Communication
  • 7.5 Documented information


The operation is specifically related to internal and external operations for an organisation. This clause in the ISO 9001:2015 update includes the following clauses:

  • 8.1 Operational planning and control
  • 8.2 Requirements for products and services
  • 8.3 Design and development of products and services
  • 8.4 Control of externally provided processes, products and services
  • 8.5 Production and service provision
  • 8.6 Release of products and services
  • 8.7 control of nonconforming outputs

Performance evaluation

In the name of continual improvement, performance evaluation is mission-critical. Without taking the time to evaluate the performance of a business, its systems and processes. ISO 9001:2015 requires performance evaluation through the following clauses:

  • 9.1 Monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation
  • 9.2 Internal audit
  • 9.3 Management review


ISO 9001 is all about improving systems, processes and communication, so a clear improvement is a huge aspect of this standard. The below clauses are three ways organisations must use improvement to be ISO compliant:

  • 10.1 General
  • 10.2 Nonconformity and corrective action
  • 10.3 Continual improvement

Ask our team about ISO 9001 terms and definitions for more information

Our experts have more than 25 years of experience and unrivalled experience providing first-class service to our clients. As such, we will take the time to educate you and explain the meaning of ISO 9001 terms and definitions so you understand the importance of ISO certification.

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