Our Audit Philosophy

Many organizations still experience audits as conformity checks - while the customers of DQS Group see them as an opportunity. For them, the independent auditor's feedback on improvement potentials and risks is just as valuable as a DQS certificate attesting to their quality capability. To keep it that way, we pay strict attention to integrity and objectivity.

How we understand audits

Our customers and their clients can rely on the fact that we always audit impartially, independently, and appropriately. That is why we are accredited and subject ourselves to regular reviews on a global scale by national and international accreditation bodies and system providers such as DAkkS, ANAB, IATF, UNIFE, ZLG and IAGQ. Since our foundation in 1985, we have steadily expanded our experience in auditing and certification.

Characteristic for all types of our audits is that an unbiased person takes a critical look at systems and processes or at product requirements. In the case of nonconformities to requirements, these are documented in reports and presentations. In the case of certification audits, these documents must be reviewed according to the double verification principle before a certification decision can be made.

However, a good audit may include much more than just a statement of conformity. For example, it may assess whether the system and/or your processes are understood, behave robustly when changes are made, and to what extent what is in place is suitable for achieving the planned objectives. This is how our audits provide management with assurance about the effectiveness of leadership and change processes.

Our auditors and experts bring their personal professional experience, in-depth expertise and years of industry knowledge to the table.

Our auditors

Audits by DQS are a highly individualized exchange in which the auditor contributes their personality, high level of professional competence and unlimited integrity. A DQS audit is a dialogue between equal partners, in a working atmosphere that reduces fears and enables openness. We are neither judge nor jury, nor schoolmasters or inspectors.

Our intent is to share our findings with your organization in a way that is fair and appropriate for all partners. We want to understand why your organization chose this particular path to implementation and no other. It is especially important to us that you can understand and benefit from the feedback provided by our auditors and experts.

Our vision ...

Our vision guides the corporate development of DQS Group. It reflects the expectations of our essential stakeholders:

We are the preferred partner for certification, auditing, and assessment. We are recognized for our competence in helping our clients achieve success and the health of the organization.

... and our values

Our values are the determining factor for our intentions and for our actions.

  • Success
    Like our customers, we strive for success.
  • Respect
    We are always respectful in our dealings with others.
  • Customer focus
    The needs of our customers are paramount - we help create value for our customers.
  • Employee orientation
    Our employees and our auditors are instrumental to the success of our organization.
  • Mutual trust
    Mutual trust strengthens cooperation. Together, we achieve our goals.
  • Responsibility
    We accept responsibility for our results and our actions.
  • Integrity and credibility
    Our independence, competence, and objectivity ensure our integrity and credibility.
  • Reliability
    We keep what we promise!

DQS audits - competence around the world

Worldwide, DQS Group performs more than 200 audits every day. This makes us one of the world's most experienced providers of audit services and certification. And by specializing in management systems and processes, we can offer audits for a wide range of standards from a single source.

DQS audits create security

DQS audits provide you with security because we set high standards for the quality of our audits. And this works because we adhere to internationally recognized rules in the performance of our audits. As with the standards for management systems, all important interested parties are involved internationally in the creation and updating of these principles.

This results in specific catalogs of requirements for audits. These documents formulate high standards, are internationally binding, and include all parties involved: Accreditation bodies, certification boards, and organizations.

Globally binding audit principles

The acceptance and application of common principles for audits are among the guarantees that we can expect a lot from management systems. In addition to impartiality and objectivity, the following standards are essential elements in the performance of fair audits and certifications: ISO 17021 and ISO 17065, ISO 17011, and ISO 19011.

ISO/IEC 17021 specifies the requirements for "bodies that audit and certify management systems", ISO/IEC 17065 in turn specifies the requirements for "bodies that certify products, processes and services". These two standards together with their so-called "co-applicable documents" are therefore also binding upon DQS for accreditations worldwide.

In contrast to non-accredited certifiers, DQS thus provides our customers with standard-compliant international comparability and recognition of certificates in the German (DIN), European (EN) and international (ISO) spectrum. And to ensure that DQS "performs the certification of management systems competently, objectively, neutrally and impartially, the national accreditation bodies conduct numerous accreditation audits and witness audits at DQS every year.

ISO/IEC 17021 and ISO/IEC 17065 clearly state why impartiality is so important: because it generates trust in certification. And because certification board decisions must not be "influenced by other interests or other parties." To strengthen this trust, DQS incorporates the following principles into all our activities:

  • Impartiality
  • Competence
  • Responsibility
  • Openness
  • Confidentiality
  • Responsiveness to complaints
  • Risk-based approach

ISO/IEC 17011 describes the "General requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies". Such accreditation bodies are, for example, DAkkS and ANAB. The existence and application of this international standard is only logical: just like the accredited certification board, the accreditation board must also "operate equivalently according to globally recognized requirements". And where the certifier must audit a management system impartially and objectively, the accreditor must also be demonstrably capable of "impartial verification of the competence" of the certification board.

ISO 19011 is the guideline for auditing management systems. It is important to note the key word "guideline." ISO 19011 does not specify requirements for how an audit must be performed, but provides "guidance on how to manage and direct an audit program and how to plan and perform an audit."

It is also important to distinguish ISO 19011 from ISO 17021, which focuses on the certification audit, whereas ISO 19011 focuses on the internal audit (first party audit) or the supplier audit (second party audit).

A look at the table of contents shows how far-reaching - and helpful - the instructions of ISO 19011 are: Audit principles such as integrity and confidentiality are covered, as are the preparation, performance and evaluation of audits. The competencies of auditors are covered, as are the risks involved in auditing management systems.

In short: ISO 19011 is very important in dealing with management systems and is therefore also part of the annual training courses mandatory for DQS auditors.