Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Now that I have signed an Agreement for Services (AFS), who will be my contact at SQA?

    In the short term, you may continue to work with the Business Development Manager (BDM) who has been assisting you through the selection process. However, for audit-related information, your primary contact, and the person best equipped to help you will be your assigned lead auditor. Other personnel and their respective duties are listed under "Contacts" at the end of this document.

  2. What issues will my auditor be able to help me with?

    My assigned lead auditor is my point of contact for:

    1. All of my audit scheduling.
    2. Reviewing my documents prior to the Certification Audit.
    3. Coordinating and conducting my Certification Audit.
    4. Interpretations on my quality management system standard.
    5. Future site additions, location, upgrades, etc.
    6. Most questions dealing with SQA and the audit process.
  3. When will my auditor contact me?

    You will be contacted by SQA for your initial audit. Your auditor will follow up regarding subsequent audits.

  4. What documents can I now expect to receive and when?

    The SQA Terms Letter: This letter, specific to the standard(s) you selected, will outline requirements necessary for certification. You should receive this in approximately 10-15 business days.

  5. What will my assigned lead auditor want to know when he/she makes initial contact with me?

    Your assigned lead auditor will want to discuss your expected timing for the required certification activities such as document review and the initial assessment. He/she will need to know if you have elected to have a pre-assessment.

  6. If I am not sure when I want to schedule an auditing activity such as the document review or initial assessment how much notice does my assigned auditor need?

    Your assigned lead auditor could be “booked” as far ahead as 6 months or more. It is a good idea to “reserve” time on their schedule that is realistic and achievable. Should you cancel a scheduled time without ample notice, your assigned lead auditor may or may not be able to accommodate your needs. In that case, another lead auditor may be assigned to your account.

  7. What steps are there in the certification process?

    There are 3 basic steps to a certification process and they are:

    1. Document review
    2. Initial Assessment
    3. Certification Panel Review of recommendation
  8. How is invoicing typically handled?

    Most auditing activities will be invoiced within 10 business days following the activity. Payment terms are due upon receipt. If you are in a “pre-pay” arrangement with SQA, payment would be expected no less than 30 days preceding the audit activity. Determination of “pre” versus “post” pay is in accordance with the results of the Credit Application.

  9. What if I have a conflict during the audit process regarding an interpretation?

    The process of resolving a conflict would be to:

    1. work with your assigned lead auditor;
    2. conduct a phone call with your lead auditor 
    3. conduct a joint phone call between your lead auditor and SQA
    4. lodge a formal complaint; e) lodge a formal appeal.
  10. What happens after my assigned lead auditor recommends my company for certification?

    Your assigned lead auditor must finalize the audit report, gather all the evidence and submit the package to the SQA office. The Executive Certification Panel (ECP) reviews this information and the recommendation is then accepted or, rarely, rejected. If rejected, the auditor may require more information from you. After this process you will be informed by Smithers of your certificate number. This process usually takes 2-3 weeks after a recommendation is made.

  11. When will I receive a certificate?

    Once the recommendation is accepted by the ECP you could expect your formal certificates in about 3 weeks, which is approximately 4-6 weeks from the initial audit.

  12. What happens if I want to change my certificate later?

    Notify your assigned lead auditor of your intentions so that he/she can assess whether additional auditing is necessary. There may be a need to conduct an assessment, depending upon the significance of the changes. Any assessment activity will be charged at the rates in place at the time of the assessment. There is no charge to re-issue the certificate following changes.

Contacts and how they may help you

Phone: 330-762-4231
Fax: 330-762-7447