You might not at first associate an accounting and audit firm with ISO, especially if those three letters only conjure up images of highly technical quality control of materials and equipment used in aerospace or medicine.

But for one Isle of Man accounting firm, ISO 9001 is central to their business ethos and brand and it just so happens that it has set them completely apart from the other similar businesses in the Island.

Recently, with the help of ISO QA Isle of Man – Moore Stephens Isle of Man (MSIOM) not only passed their 4th annual ISO 9001 recertification audit but achieved that recertification to the new ISO 9001:2015 standard.

“I won’t say it was easy, few things valuable in life ever are,” observed Clive Dixon, Moore Stephens’ Founder and Senior Partner, “But ISO QA Isle of Man got us started early and guided us through the entire process – I can’t imagine trying to do it without them. Now, in addition to ISO 9001, with the EU GDPR on the horizon, we’re talking about ISOQA helping us get ready for that too.”

ISO QA assisted MSIOM with their first ISO 9001:2008 certification four years ago and then with each subsequent annual recertification.
It might seem odd that a firm associated with an international group like Moore Stephens International, with over 27,997 partners and staff in 108 countries across the globe, and with a long association with the global shipping industry wouldn’t be interested in more international credibility.

“But the team at Moore Stephens Isle of Man has really embraced ISO and made it work for them, ” says ISO QA’s Kevin Burnell, “MSIOM uses it in all of their marketing materials, social media and web presence.

“As a confirming statement of the international standard of customer service, our clients, especially potential clients who haven’t had an opportunity to work with us before, see ISO 9001 as assurance of what they can expect from us, especially those involving operations and businesses all over the world,” Clive added.

ISO 9001 certification had been a longterm strategic goal of MSIOM’s Senior Partner, Clive Dixon, who founded the firm over 25 years ago, ultimately growing the business to a 40 person, multi-disciplinary advisory firmbuilt around a traditional accountancy.

“With support from the top, implementing ISO is far easier; at MSIOM we certainly had that,” Burnell observes, “But that high-level support is even more important going forward to make sure the organisation maintains those standards.”

Recognising this challenge, between each annual recertification audit MSIOM and QA worked out a 12 month programme to make sure MSIOM was ready.

“This is where ISO QA added tremendous value,” says Clive, “Those interim preparatory audits throughout the year performed by ISO QA were designed to be very challenging so that when the annual external auditors arrived we were ready.”

Clive sees that same support as essential to MSIOM recent successful transition from ISO 9001:2008 to its latest incarnation, ISO 9001:2015.

“There are some substantial important philosophical differences with the new standard that required a strategic plan to get it all done throughout our firm in what was effectively a short eleven months,” says Clive, “Naturally we turned to ISO QA to help us withthat plan and then depended on them to see that the entire firm adapted and adopted the new discipline in good time.”

With that certification now successfully behind them, MSIOM continues working with ISO QA Isle of Man on ISO 9001:2015 but has also begun preparations for conforming to the exacting and unforgiving legal requirements associated with the GDPR.

“The stakes are even higher with the GDPR,” says Clive, “I can’t imagine trying to do that without ISO QA either.”