Hello – I’m just trying to find out which terminology is technically correct:

  • We are an ISO Registered company; OR
  • We are an ISO Certified company.

By holding a Certificate of Registration, I consider the Registered term to be the correct one (you may hold a Certificate of Accreditation…so you are “Accredited”).

Your opinion will be really appreciated!

– Cornel Zanet, Quality Assurance Manager – Precision Fasteners


Hi Cornel,

This is a great question, and one that we are asked quite frequently.  Technically, ISO Certification and ISO Registration are not the same thing, and to give as clear an answer as possible it helps to provide some background information.

Certification Bodies (also frequently referred to as “Registrars”) are entities that audit organizations and, upon success, issue ISO compliance certificates.  Many countries have also formed Accreditation Bodies to authorize (or “accredit”) the Certification Bodies – one example of an Accreditation Body is the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).

ISO certification has to do with issuing a certificate – a written document issued by an independent Certification Body (Registrar) that has audited your QMS and verified that it conforms to the ISO standard requirements.  ISO registration means that your certification has been recorded, or registered, with the auditing body.

So once you have been audited by a Certification Body (Registrar), technically your QMS is both ISO certified and ISO registered.  In order to be registered you must be certified…and all certifications are registered.  For practical purposes these terms can be used interchangeably…and often are…which can lead to some confusion.  In North America we tend to use the word “Registrar” instead of Certification Body, and many people therefore tend to say that they are “ISO registered”.

A related term to be aware of is “accredited” which, in the context of ISO, refers only to the formal recognition by an Accreditation Body that a Certification Body is competent to certify and register quality management systems.  Unless you are an ISO Certification Body (Registrar), it is NOT accurate to say that your company is “accredited” to a standard.

I hope that this explanation is helpful!  Best Regards,

– Ted Annis, President – The BRC



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