FirstPoint Management Resources just concluded a six-month process of preparation for re-accreditation. Our policies, procedures and documentation was updated by staff teams, required items were communicated to clients, and an internal audit was conducted to make sure we had all required elements in place for the final re-accreditation audit.
The final step in our re-accreditation process was a visit from an outside accreditation auditor who reviewed the materials we prepared, did detailed document sampling to ensure compliance, and studied our policies and procedures to see how they measured up against the required standard. Staff were interviewed to verify the procedures they used to interact with clients. In the end, we received a helpful report to show us areas where we can improve.
Certification and accreditation programs are very helpful to those being accredited/certified and also to those with whom they interact. They help those being accredited because it established a framework of minimum competency or operational practice and measures us against that baseline. Without any basis of comparison how would we know our professional standing or which way we should grow to become more effective? It is also helpful to others who wish to employ, contract, or interact with us in some way. Those who are not already familiar with us can look at the certification or accreditation and be assured that at least in this one area, we have been independently evaluated and met the proscribed requirements. This public validation helps build trust which is one of the most critical pillars of non-profit/association work.