23 Sep How to prepare for your next accreditation renewal
Have you heard that there are now less than one hundred days till Christmas?! If that fills you with dread, how do you feel when you count how many days you have until your next company accreditation deadline?
As with many things in life, be they personal or professional, planning makes perfect. When it comes to Christmas, or your own cultural festivity, we all know we SHOULD start thinking of present ideas, making Christmas puddings, and putting money aside for the big day. But instead, many of us wait until the last minute.
When it comes to accreditation renewals, the same mantra applies – decide on a plan and stick to it!
As specialist providers of Compliance Support Services, KCS Compliance has a team dedicated to accreditation application and renewal. Our tips regarding this topic come from years of experience and inside knowledge about the pitfalls and complications of the process, as well as the satisfaction that comes with sharing a successful recertification with your colleagues, and company directors.
Follow our checklist on how to renew your industry accreditation and get ready to share your success!
Make sure the accreditation still serves your needs
Now is your opportunity, before you do anything, to check that the accreditation still serves your needs, and re-assess if you’ll continue to benefit from being certified. Explore the costs of renewal and measure this against the value of any new business you estimate to win through being accredited. Review other certifying bodies in your industry to determine which of them best address your business needs.
Don’t assume that the process of reaccreditation will be the same as last time.
Dedicate some time
The renewal process takes time, so make some! Don’t expect to fit it in here and there, it’s a big, complicated, multi-faceted project, and so treat it like one.
It also makes sense to consider your own business and time. If the end of the financial year is especially busy for you, then it might be best not to time your accreditation renewals during this period. Similarly with school holidays, if you are thin on the ground with employees during the summer, don’t leave those renewals until July or August.
Nominate staff to help
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to carry out this project alone. You’ll almost certainly need the support and resources of individuals across departments, and even externally too. You may need financial statements from your accountant, for example, and training certificates from HR. Different people within your company will know more about their areas and how to achieve compliance, so they need to be brought into the process.
Depending on the size of your business, think about nominating a dedicated Accreditation Manager, or team. If you work within a smaller business, you can delegate tasks. Another method is to create work groups, which pull together individuals with different specialties, like programming, development, administration and HR, to work together.
But the organisation should be clear and communicated, and someone must have overall responsibility and authority to implement new procedures and practices.
Know what it is you need to prepare – and look for the gaps
Preparing what you need is one of the most vital steps of recertification. To complete an accreditation application, you’re likely to need a plethora of documents, ranging from insurance policies, training certificates, financial statements, risk assessments and site inspection paperwork. First off, you need to determine where the gaps are and to start to fill them. Looking out for out-of-date policies or certificates is crucial, as well as ones that are soon to expire.
Companies are increasingly getting rid of paper and filing cabinets and instead streamlining their processes by digitising files and storing them in a central portal.
The advantages of taking on an automated system, such as KCS’s ComplianceManaged®, is manifold. Documents won’t get lost in someone’s drawer anymore, multiple team members, even auditors, can access documents at the same time, efficiency and competitiveness is improved and it’s just much easier to keep track of when critical documents require action.
Consider third-party help
Accreditation also requires a fair amount of specialised knowledge that you might not have in-house. Outsourcing the task to a specialist compliance service provider like KCS Compliance Services can save high levels of stress and ensure that the job is carried out efficiently and successfully.
Educate your staff
Ensure your staff understand WHY your business needs this accreditation and how you will all benefit. If your team recognises its importance, they will be much more supportive in implementing each policy and procedure, and less likely to react against tricky procedural changes that may seem nonsensical initially.
All involved staff must be trained in new procedures and processes, and all training must be documented. Staff training and education is also vital when it comes to successful on-site inspections, which are usually unannounced.
Don’t forget to pay
It may sound obvious, but when all the hard work has been done and the renewal application submitted, don’t forget to make the necessary payment too.
Celebrate – then get back to preparing!
Now it’s time to bask in your and your team’s glory and celebrate your company’s successful reaccreditation.
But please, don’t leave it too long before you pick up your plan again and start thinking about what comes next. Remember that accreditation is not a one-time exercise — it is a process that continues for the life of the provider’s accreditation. It’s better to keep on top of your requirements rather than leave everything to the last minute.
Should you need help with your accreditation renewal or are interested in learning more about KCS’s ComplianceManaged® portal, which helps automate your documents and alert when action is required, please contact us at KCS Compliance Services for a free demonstration of how we can support your business.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 01908 380401