What is involved in an external ISO certification audit?

What is involved in an external ISO certification audit?

Posted by:Gavin
ISO Standard, ISO training

Discover what an ISO certification audit entails, including an explanation of ISO standards, audit processes, and FAQs. Prepare for certification to ISO9001:2015 and insights into other standards, with insights from experts. For details on how we can assist with ISO certification projects please contact us.


Embarking on the journey of an external ISO certification audit can be both challenging and rewarding. Understanding the intricacies of ISO standards, the audit procedure, and the significance of ISO certification is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into every aspect, offering valuable insights and answering key questions to help you navigate the process seamlessly. For an overview of the services provided by Quadra visit our YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUb3LWjk-2M

ISO Certification Unveiled

In this section, we unravel the mysteries behind ISO certification, providing a foundational understanding. For details on some of the successful projects delivered by Quadra view our case studies.

What is ISO?

ISO originates from the ancient Greek word meaning of equal or similar value. This prefix is used to demonstrate that a standard has been internationally agreed and is the same across the globe. These standards are created and maintained by the International Organisation for Standardisation. It’s a globally recognised entity responsible for setting international standards, ensuring quality, safety, and efficiency.

ISO Standards Demystified

Explore the diverse array of ISO standards, each catering to specific industries and objectives. From ISO 9001, to ISO14001, to ISO45001, to ISO27001  to sector-specific standards, discover how these benchmarks enhance organizational excellence.

The Audit Journey Begins

This part outlines the initial steps and procedures involved in an ISO certification audit.

Understanding the Audit Process

Gain insights into the audit process itself. From the initial planning stages to the actual audit, understand how auditors assess conformity to ISO standards.

Key Phases of the ISO Certification Audit

Explore the different phases of the ISO certification audit, ensuring you’re well-prepared for each step.

Pre-Audit Preparations

Discover the importance of meticulous preparations before the audit, covering documentation, staff training (for details of training visit https://quadraconsulting.com/public-training-courses/), and internal audits. In preparation for any external audit it is essential to be prepared and to ensure that your management system is suitable and sufficient in terms of its ability to manage the activities which are in scope. It is essential that staff are aware and understand the system and know what they are likely to be asked. It is also important to ensure that your have conducted a set of internal audits and carried out a management review.

On-Site Audit: What to Expect

Navigate through the on-site audit, where auditors evaluate your organization’s adherence to ISO standards. Understand the importance of transparency and cooperation during this critical phase. The auditor is there to assess whether your organisation complies with the required standards, so be prepared to be challenged and have suitable evidence of compliance available. The more prepared you are the smoother the external audit is likely to be. Ensure that staff are briefed and aware. Remember that external auditors are trained professionals and will know about your industry.

Post-Audit Follow-ups

Learn about the post-audit activities, including corrective actions and continuous improvement initiatives to enhance your organisation’s quality or other management systems. Following the external audit make sure that any opportunities for improvement are actioned in a timely manner. Do not leave these to the last minute and ensure that you comply with the process for response from the certification body, this may mean submitting evidence in between audits.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Addressing common queries about ISO certification audits to provide a comprehensive understanding.

  • How long does the ISO certification process take? The duration varies based on factors like organization size and complexity. On average, it takes three to six months.
  • What are the benefits of ISO certification? ISO certification enhances credibility, improves efficiency, and fosters customer trust, leading to increased competitiveness.
  • Do small businesses need ISO certification? Yes, ISO certification is beneficial for businesses of all sizes, demonstrating commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.
  • Can a company fail an ISO certification audit? While failure is possible, audits are more about improvement. Non-conformities may be identified, but organisations are given the opportunity to rectify them.
  • Is ISO certification mandatory? ISO certification is voluntary, but many organisations pursue it to gain a competitive edge and meet customer expectations.
  • How often is recertification required? Recertification occurs every three years, ensuring continuous compliance with ISO standards.


In conclusion, navigating an external ISO certification audit requires meticulous preparation, transparency, and a commitment so be prepared.

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