ISO 9001 Audit Myths


For individuals who are new to ISO 9001 or have never been certified to an ISO standard before, there might be various rumors, misconceptions, and preconceived ideas floating around. It's quite possible that you may encounter some of these while conducting your research, gathering information, or conversing with experts in the field. This information will help you form a comprehensive understanding before reaching out to a registrar or making your final decision.
Quality Standards
Quality Standards
Beware of These Common ISO 9001 Certification Myths!
ISO 9001 stands as a potent tool embraced by businesses, public sector entities, and non-profit organizations, serving as the ultimate guardian of their service and product quality. Furthermore, it opens the gateway to a host of advantages that certification bestows, including heightened operational efficiency, diminished errors in processes, and the optimization of resources. All these tangible benefits result from the seamless integration of a robust Quality Management System (QMS). However, despite these merits, there remains a cloud of misconceptions, especially among smaller enterprises, casting doubts on the wisdom of pursuing ISO certification.


Implementing ISO 9001 properly is important, but it can be criticized for taking up a lot of time and resources. Many people argue that the time spent on meeting the requirements of ISO 9001 could be better used for growing the business and offering support.  Another common complaint is that some managers focus too much on paperwork and numbers instead of understanding the day-to-day operations in their workplace. While data and statistics are important, they may not always provide a complete picture. It’s important to note that not all of these complaints apply to every situation, and the benefits of ISO 9001 can still outweigh the drawbacks. However, being aware of these potential problems allows businesses to deal with them effectively. Hiring a highly recommended consultant can be a cost-effective solution for businesses looking to overcome these challenges.

Here are some of the most common myths:

  • Achieving compliance can be time-consuming and costly.
  • Implementing ISO 9001 necessitates a significant amount of administrative effort.
  • While it does bring about consistency, it can also inadvertently constrain innovation and adaptability.
  • Many companies opt for ISO 9001 not out of a deep understanding but because it’s a marketplace requirement or expectation.
  • This standard often leans too heavily on general principles and may not effectively address the challenges posed by poor management.
  • In certain instances, the focus on adhering to formalities may take precedence over tangible results.
  • Furthermore, it may seem to benefit auditors more than the businesses themselves.
  • Although it is applicable to various industries, ISO 9001 is often perceived as favoring manufacturing firms.
  • Lastly, the associated costs should also be carefully considered.
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Myth 1: ISO 9001 Certification Doesn’t Mean a Radical Change in Business Operations

Some businesses express hesitancy about pursuing ISO 9001 certification, believing that conforming to its requirements will necessitate a significant overhaul of their operations. However, this is not entirely accurate. The ISO 9001 standard is designed to streamline your existing processes and promote a more systematic way of conducting business.

Myth 2: ISO Certification is a Lengthy and Costly Process

It’s true that implementing a Quality Management System (QMS) will involve additional costs for your business. However, these expenses need not be prohibitively high for small businesses. The investment in certification can be recouped through the long-term benefits it provides, such as more efficient processes, satisfied customers due to high-quality products, an enhanced reputation, and increased business opportunities. 

Myth 3: QMS Requires Excessive and Ineffective Documentation

ISO certification does necessitate substantial documentation to formalize the QMS and its implementation within your organization. However, dismissing this documentation as useless and merely a bureaucratic requirement is incorrect. Documentation services serve the crucial purpose of enabling different organizations to understand how your QMS operates and how it aligns with ISO 9001 requirements. It demonstrates to the certification body that your business adheres to a standardized QMS in compliance with ISO 9001.

Myth 4: ISO 9001 Certification Doesn’t Offer a Desirable Return on Investment

Some businesses question whether the return on investment (ROI) from ISO 9001 certification justifies the effort and cost involved. They often base this assessment on short-term returns, which may not appear immediately significant. However, they overlook the fact that ISO 9001 certification, coupled with an effective QMS, paves the way for consistent business growth and stability. When customers recognize your commitment to quality, they are more likely to remain loyal to your products or services. Similarly, suppliers may prioritize your business to enhance their industry image, and distributors will seek partnerships with you to showcase their credibility and compliance with quality standards. In essence, ISO 9001 certification brings substantial value additions to your business, making it a highly worthwhile investment.

Frequently Asked Question

ISO certification follows the same process, regardless of the ISO standard you are seeking:

  1. Establish, implement and verify your ISO management system
  2. Stage 1 audit – Documentation Review
  3. Stage 2 audit – Full system audit
  4. Closure of any findings
  5. Certification!

The standards that best suit your company vary by the industry you are in. In order to identify the standards that will provide your company with the greatest benefits, we recommend the following:

  1. Talk to your customers – many of them may require certain ISO standards.
  2. Evaluate your companies risks – see where your companies great liabilities are what needs to be controlled (e.g. quality, environmental aspects, health & safety hazards, IT security, etc.).
  3. Be proactive and identify new business opportunities – evaluate new areas / industries you want to grow your business. Often times, these new industries may require some sort of certification in order to enter. Certification takes time, so being proactive and having the certifications before bidding on projects can put you ahead of your competition.

The time to become ISO certified really depends on a few different factors:

  1. The resources you have available to support the ISO process
  2. Your own internal timeframe that you need / want to be certified by
  3. The standard’s requirement for how much evidence you need to support certification

Certification requires you to show through objective evidence that you have an effective ISO management system in place. In order to do this, you need to show that you have sufficient evidence available to support this claim. At a minimum, most standards will require 3 months of evidence of implementing your management system in order to be certified.

Some standards, such as IATF 16949, may require a minimum of one year of evidence to support certification.

The cost for certification can vary greatly from one company to another. There are typically several factors that go into the costs for certification:

  1. Certification body fees
  2. Certification body audit day rates
  3. Auditor travel costs
  4. Standard license fees (e.g. R2, RIOS, eStewards license fees)
  5. Consulting Fees

Audit time and consulting time is typically based on the following factors:

  1. Number of employees
  2. Number of processes and the risks associated with those processes
  3. Number of locations

We have the experience to help you navigate the certification body costs and possible discounts they can offer.

You can Request a Quote here or get an Instant Quote here

ISO certification shows your customers that you follow industry best practices and that your business is well structured and ready for growth.

Each ISO standard has its own benefits, for example:

  • ISO 9001 – Ensures you provide your customers with a quality product or service
  • ISO 27001 – Protects your information, data and reputation
  • ISO 14001 – Reduces your environmental impact
  • ISO 45001 – Protects your workers
  • Responsible Recycling (R2) – ensures responsible management of used electronics

Common benefits across all ISO standard include:

  • Increased efficiency
  • Reduced costs
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • More engaged employees
  • Reduced risks
  • Reduced insurance premiums
  • Helps with project bidding

By achieving and maintaining an ISO certification, you are showing your company’s commitment to achieving your objectives, improving your business and increasing the credibility and customer confidence in your product or service.

Yes. We have been providing remote auditing and consulting services for years. We have found remote auditing and consulting to be just as effective as on-site. We use a variety of tools to ensure we are thorough in our remote services, while saving you time and money.

The great thing about working with Glacier consulting is that you don’t need anything in place to get started. We will work with you ever step of the way to ensure you have everything you need to get certified.

Most companies have far more in place than they realize. Just because it may not be documented, doesn’t mean you don’t have processes in place. We will work with your team to improve, streamline and formalize these processes.

One of the most common questions we get is how much time and effort does it take to get and maintain certification. The bulk of the effort should be at the beginning to get your management system established and implemented. To do this, we take what you already do and formalize it to meet the standard requirements. There may be some minor tweaking done, but this typically only improves and streamlines your process.

Once your ISO management system is in place, maintaining it should be as easy as breathing because it should become part of your culture and everyday operations. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t think of it as your ISO system, you should think of it as simply your way of operating your company.

We work with countless ISO standards. We’ve only listed the most common ISO standards typically sought after. We have a diverse team with tremendous knowledge in many of the ISO standards. Contact us and let us know what standard you are interested in. If we don’t offer that service, we can find you someone who can.

We can tailor a service specific to your needs to help you along your ISO journey. We can provide basic guidance to full “White Glove” support. If it’s business or ISO related, we’ve got you covered. A few of our services include:

  1. General ISO Consulting
  2. Documentation Prep
  3. Training
  4. Auditing
  5. Maintenance

Contact us with any questions you have or for services not listed here.