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What is the difference between Stage 1 and Stage 2 auditing?

If you haven’t been audited until today, you should have that doubt when you receive in your audit plan the audit dates for stage 1 and stage 2, understand now and get ready.

First of all, we need to understand that a management system is something practical, a set of actions to ensure control of your process from the perspective of a certain standard, in the case of ISO 9001, for example, the Quality Management System.

However, it is not enough to just put it into practice, it is necessary to leave documented information, this serves both for protection and for a better procedural organization of the company, that is when we have the audit of stage 1 and stage 2.


Stage 1

It is nothing more than a document analysis, at this time you, as the person responsible for auditing the organization, will present the documents relevant to the management system. The purpose of this stage is to verify that the management system is implemented and able to be audited in a stage 2 audit
Stage 1 is like a checklist, at this time the effectiveness of the document you presented will not be analyzed, but only IF YOU HAVE such a document. This stage is essential for the auditor to see if the organization meets the minimum requirements to be certified, as well as, it is an important moment for the auditor to know the organization’s processes and prepare the plan for stage 2.


What happens if I “fail” the Stage 1 audit?

Stay calm, you will not be barred from certification, there is no failure in the stage 1 audit. However, you will receive recommendations for improvement or minor non-compliance to provide such documents and MUST PRESENT TO THE AUDITOR AT THE STAGE 2 AUDIT. audit from stage 1 to stage 2 is 90 days, so it is more than enough time to organize everything that was pointed out, however, if you do not present these documents in stage 2, the company will receive a major non-compliance, and will not be recommended certification.


Stage 2 Audit

You should already be more familiar with this type of audit, yes, it is one in which the auditor visits the company and conducts interviews with the team to EVALUATE THE FUNCTIONING OF THE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM. At this stage, the documentation you presented in stage 1 must conform to what the auditor is seeing in the stage 2 audit.

The auditor has the authority to QUESTION ANY PERSON WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION that he considers pertinent to verify the process, so it is essential that all employees are trained in relation to mandatory issues, such as policies, code of conduct, reporting channels, etc.


How does the failure in stage 2 work?

If the auditor only pointed out recommendations for improvement (minor non-conformities), you will have a deadline to present the action plan and thus be recommended for certification.

However, if you have received a major non-conformity, a deadline is offered to make the correction as well, but it will not be enough just to present, you will receive a new audit (follow-up) under the requirement in question and if it is still non-conforming, will not be recommended for certification.

If you have any questions, come learn more with QMS Certification Services North America. Contact us!


QMS Certification Services is a fully accredited third-party International Certification Body. Operating since 1994, QMS is one of the oldest and most experienced certification bodies auditing and certifying thousands of organizations globally. We have built a great reputation for first-class service, market-leading pricing, and a hassle-free process for our clients. International Recognition: QMS Certification Services is accredited by IAS (INTERNATIONAL ACCREDITATION SERVICE) – a member of the IAF (International Accreditation Forum). All Certificates of Approval are issued under the IAS accredited system in the USA. QMS has auditors and clients all over the world, allowing for multi-country certification for clients.


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