What is the difference between ISO Certification & Accreditation?

Discover the key differences between ISO certification and accreditation. Learn how each impacts your business and the vital role they play in maintaining international quality standards.
What is the difference between ISO Certification & Accreditation?

The International Standards Organisation (ISO) creates a wide variety of internationally recognised standards, including the well-known ISO 9001 for Quality Management Systems, ISO 14001 for Environmental Management, ISO 22000 for Food Safety Management, ISO 27001 for Information Security, ISO 45001 for Occupational Health and Safety, and ISO 55001 for Asset Management. These standards apply not only to products but also to services, ensuring quality and consistency across various sectors in international organisations.

Understanding the ISO accreditation meaning, and ISO certification meaning is crucial, as these terms, though often used interchangeably by the general public, have distinct definitions. The terms represent significantly different concepts, and comprehending how they contrast—especially in the context of ‘ISO certification vs accreditation’—is important for clarity and accuracy in business operations. Both concepts are integral to continuous improvement within organisations.

ISO certification applies to specific products, processes, systems, or persons

An ISO certification, a form of written assurance, is granted by an accredited certification body. This certification confirms that a particular product, process, system, or even a person meets specific ISO requirements, contributing to the continuous improvement of a product or service.

Through a series of conformity assessments, checks, and audits, these certification bodies evaluate compliance with international standards. If compliance is met, the accredited certification body provides a formal recognition in the form of a certificate, affirming that the system, process, or product adheres to specific ISO standards. The certification bodies issue certificates that are critical for international recognition.

However, ISO certification is not a blanket endorsement for a company. It’s specific to the certified aspect—be it a process, system, product or service. This specificity is a key distinction in ISO accreditation or certification discussions.

ISO accreditation applies to entire companies that provide ISO Certification

In general, ISO accreditation and ISO certification are terms used interchangeably. But, what is ISO accreditation specifically? ISO accreditation refers to the formal recognition of a company’s competence to perform ISO testing and quality checks, adhering to international standards.

Accreditation indicates that an organisation possesses the necessary Quality Management Systems and can perform tests and assessments as per their accreditation scope. For instance, JAS-ANZ, an authoritative body in Australia and New Zealand, can issue ISO accreditation to entities, endorsing their credibility and competence in assessing compliance with ISO standards.

This accreditation enables certification bodies to issue ISO certifications, as they are recognised by JAS-ANZ as an independent, ISO-certified accreditation body, capable of a wide range of conformity assessment tasks.

In essence, ISO certification signifies compliance with ISO standards by a company, granted by a third-party assessment body. In contrast, ISO accreditation indicates the ability of a company to assess and certify other companies against ISO standards.

Always seek ISO certification from an ISO-certified accreditation body

When seeking ISO certification, it’s vital to engage with an ISO-certified accreditation body. The significance lies in the fact that an unaccredited certification body may offer ISO certification services, but without formal accreditation, their certificates may lack national and international recognition.

Therefore, verifying the accreditation status of the assessment company or ISO-certified accreditation body is crucial.

Contact Citation Certification today!

For ISO certification and training, Citation Certification stands ready to assist. We support a wide range of industries and specialisations. Contact us today to explore our certification offerings.

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