Before you explore the differences between certification and accreditation, it is important to understand the terms in their real sense. Certification and accreditation is a process adopted by individuals and/or organizations to implement formal processes. Also known as C&A, this procedure is a must for activities performed by the system and includes evaluation, testing, descriptions as well as authorization to function and is used all over the world.

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The information on credibility of an organization through a certification is generally public as it can be accessed on public forums. This allows consumers, clients and end-users to judge the competence and reliability of the organization in a fair manner. Additionally, information on withdrawn, suspended as well as expired certificates are also made public available at their respective establishments or online forums.

What is accreditation?

In the simplest terms, accreditation is a formal declaration provided by an approved body to individuals or organizations in order to perform certain tasks. These bodies can be topic-specific or county based. This process includes the assessment of different processes adopted by certification bodies. Certification assessments are often supported by periodic audits and checks to ensure that all practices, operations and procedures are being carried out to standard. If a certification body does not meet the required quality standards, their accreditation is revoked.

Accreditation is an important quality control measure that promises credibility of certification bodies. These bodies evaluate and assess the operations and processes of certification bodies independently through demonstrations on their impartiality, competence and capability of performance. All accreditation bodies are required to be members of the global association called IAF i.e. International Accreditation Forum. This membership allows accreditation bodies to certify and approve companies from a diverse range of niches and industries.[widgetkit id=3]

What is Certification?

On the other hand, certification is an all-inclusive evaluation of a standard or process. It is generally not related to any specific region, county, process or standard. This process includes a company receiving certification or approval to specific standards like ISO and is performed by certification bodies like LRQA, BSI or other organizations based on the country. This certification allows companies to promise certain quality standards and reliability on all their products and services, raising their credibility.

Certification of quality and compliance for a company or organization is never performed internally. In fact, this process is carried out by an independent third party to ensure fairness and non-bias. Only accredited certification bodies can perform these assessment, re-assessments as well as annual audits to verify the current quality standards for all business processes. To ensure accurate, fair and transparent assessment, organizations approach nationally accredited certification bodies that carry out stringent checks and quality control. These certification bodies are required to follow standard procedures to determine competence and quality.

Other common requirements for certification bodies to perform checks include compliance with nationalized ISO companies, meeting of quality criteria for auditors as well as technical competence in the field of the organization in question. Auditors are not just required to hold authority from a nationalized body, but also expertise in the functioning of the company.[widgetkit id=28]

Importance of accreditation and certification

Regardless of the niche your organization belongs to, receiving certification and accreditation is an important process that can help establish you or your organization as a credible service provider. Whether you are providing life coaching, personal training, environmental services or anything else, a certification allows you to promise quality and competence to your customers. Accreditation is an important step to the progress of your company, especially if you are newly established. If you are applying for certification or accreditation, ensure that you approach a nationally recognized accreditation body to receive an authentic and credible certificate.


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