Steps to Take if You Have Failed Your ISO Certification Audit

ISO Certification audits require meticulous efforts to align processes, procedures, and practices with rigorous standards. However, these measures can sometimes fall short of the required mark, causing disappointment for any organization. However, by following this simple guide, you can create an opportunity for evolution and transformation out of this failure.

Why You May Fail Your ISO Certification Audit?

Auditors may raise minor or major non-conformances during your certification audit. Your organization can face an ISO Certification audit failure depending on the severity and the number of non-conformances. Let us understand the various reasons behind possible audit failures.

  • Lack of documented processes and procedures: Documenting all relevant procedures, processes, and business planning is a primary requirement for all ISO Management System Standards. Failure to document key aspects of the system can lead to non-conformance during the audit.
  • Non-conformance with the organization’s own requirements and the ISO standards: ISO Standards are designed to establish a framework for organizations to meet specific requirements. Hence, non-conformances may arise from failure to demonstrate evidence of adherence to processes and procedures.
  • Inadequate training and awareness: Failure to provide adequate training and awareness to the employees may result in major non-conformance during the audit.
  • Poor internal audits and corrective actions: The ISO management system standard requires organizations to perform regular internal audits to assess the effectiveness of their management systems. Failure to take appropriate corrective actions based on audit findings may lead to cnn-conformance and audit failures.

What to Do After an ISO Certification Audit Failure?

The steps you take after failing an ISO certification audit will depend on the type of ISO audit your business is going through, such as Surveillance audit, re-certification, etc., the approach your certification body takes, and how severe the non-conformances are. Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do next.

  • Review the findings: Review the audit report carefully and try to understand the areas where your business did not conform to the ISO standards requirements. It will help you gain insights into the specific issues for each corrective measure.
  • Come up with a corrective plan: You can develop a comprehensive plan to correct the identified non-conformances. Make sure your plan includes specific actions, times, responsible parties, and resources required for each corrective measure.
  • Implement corrective actions: Start with the execution of the corrective plan while ensuring that each step is followed as scheduled. This may include improving processes, updating procedures, making organizational changes, or providing additional training.
  • Schedule a re-audit: If the certification body allows you to re-audit, schedule it as soon as your company is ready to demonstrate conformance with the ISO standard. Make sure you are prepared to present evidence of the implemented corrective actions.
  • Engage expert ISO consultants: A professional ISO consultant team can help you address the changes that need to be made. They will also guide you in implementing the changes more effectively and within the given time frame. The professional team will help with your corrective action report. It may also conduct an internal audit to ensure that your ISO system is now meeting your chosen standards before your re-scheduled external audit.


ISO consultants will help assess the organization’s current state and provide advice on the best way forward. These are professionals who can assist your business in developing and implementing ISO Management SYstem standards.

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