Failed an ISO Certification Audit? Guide on what to do next.

Facing a setback in an ISO certification audit can be disheartening, but it's crucial to view it as an opportunity for improvement. This guide will walk you through the steps to take after a failed ISO certification audit, helping you turn the experience into a catalyst for positive change.

Understand the Reasons for Failure:

Begin by comprehensively understanding the audit findings. Identify specific areas where your organization fell short of meeting ISO standards. This analysis is the foundation for corrective actions.

Gather Feedback from Auditors:

Engage in a constructive dialogue with the auditors. Seek detailed feedback on the non-conformities observed during the audit. Clarify any uncertainties and request suggestions for improvement.

Prioritize Corrective Actions:

Create a priority list of corrective actions based on the severity and impact of the non-conformities. This will help you focus on addressing the most critical issues first, ensuring a more efficient recovery process.

Develop a Corrective Action Plan:

Formulate a detailed corrective action plan, outlining specific steps, responsibilities, and timelines. Clearly define how each non-conformity will be addressed and corrected to align with ISO standards.

Implement Corrective Measures:

Execute the corrective action plan diligently. Involve relevant personnel and departments, providing necessary training and resources to ensure that the identified issues are rectified effectively.

Monitor Progress:

Establish a robust monitoring system to track the progress of corrective actions. Regularly assess and document the improvements made, ensuring that each non-conformity is addressed thoroughly.

Re-engage with Auditors:

Schedule a follow-up meeting with the auditors to present the corrective actions taken. Demonstrate the changes made and provide evidence of compliance. This proactive approach showcases your commitment to quality standards.

Conduct Internal Audits:

Strengthen your internal audit processes to identify potential issues before external audits. Regular internal assessments contribute to a continuous improvement mindset and ensure ongoing compliance.

Document Lessons Learned:

Document the entire experience, including the reasons for failure, corrective actions taken, and the outcomes. Use this documentation to reinforce a culture of learning within the organization.

Prepare for Reassessment:

Once you've implemented corrective measures and demonstrated sustained compliance, work towards scheduling a reassessment with the certification body. Be transparent about the improvements made.


While failing an ISO certification audit can be discouraging, it's a valuable opportunity for organizational growth. By understanding the reasons for failure, taking corrective actions, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, you can not only regain certification but also strengthen your commitment to excellence. Remember, setbacks are stepping stones to success.