ISO Compliance Myths - Learn from a Certification Body

Posted by Craig Thornton

In this video you will learn about some of the common myths associated with compliance. This is from a Certification Bodies' (CB) point of view.

The presenter Leon Michailidis, from Equal Assurance, describes some of these myths and how they might affect you. You will learn also how you can overcome those myths.


Are All Accredited CBs Created Equal? 

As the chair of the CB industry association in Australia and New Zealand, Leon thinks carefully about whether CBs are of equal competency.

He feels very proud of the fact that he's very much still on the tools. So that when he looks around at his peers, there’s probably only 3 or 4 CBs that are run by technical people, i.e. people that have ‘cut their teeth’ in the industry. 

A lot of CBs are run by business people, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, you have to keep in mind that they're making technical decisions, and decisions that my affect society.

Can you build relationships?

Can the client, the consultant, and the industry build relationships with CBs? 

The answer is yes but there needs to be a balance.

You can be too close with clients and consultants, and equally you can be too distant and take the holier than thou position. So it's a balancing act.

Building suitable relationships is important.

Hidden costs

Leon touches on the fact that he has lost jobs due to not being as cheap as others in the industry.

He always asks if the client has checked the various fees they are being charged.  It is important to consider the way in which those bills are paid. 

Most CBs don’t charge irresponsibly but some do, which is something to be aware of when you are in the decision making process. 

Certificate Mills

The term "certificate mills" is a popular phrase that has been around for a while now. It means that a certifier just rubber stamps the audit, in some cases it doesn’t even go in and do the audit. 

Most developed countries are going to have reasonably mature markets in place so the prevalence of a certificate mill is low. 

This major risk is in the foreign markets, where there can be cases of certificate without an audit.  Sometimes it’s even the CB that writes the audit report and just fabricates evidence and produces a certificate. 

Leon has been exposed to that market.  He quotes “Leon, there’s an opportunity to get 500 certificates here, no problem just don’t do the audit.”  

Therefore certificate mills are a real issue.



  1. Leadership of the certification body is highly important 
  2. There needs to be a balance when trying to build a relationship with certification bodies
  3. Be aware of hidden costs to the audit process 
  4. Certificate Mills and Rubber stampers are real and becoming to be quite a challenge in the industry 
  5. Not all accreditation bodies are equal - you need to ensure the certificates you are getting have been validated

Tags: ISO 9001 certification, ISO 27001 Certification, ISO Certification, Certification Body, process approach