ANSWER: It depends on your level of ISO accreditation knowledge and your ability to develop and manage an ISO level quality management system.
Preparing an organization for ISO accreditation can be a daunting task especially if you are not familiar with ISO standards, their interpretation, and implementation. Significant time and effort can be spent learning and properly applying the requirements, which can be frustrating further delaying the process. In situations where a lack of understanding is the challenge, it could take numerous resources several months, if not years, to prepare for accreditation. In many cases, a lack of understanding is not the only challenge; the size of the organization or facility to be accredited can also delay the process, but only because of the additional work needed to ensure all aspects are addressed.
I have read numerous articles that referenced program development times ranging from 1 – 3 years for a new “from scratch” program. At the top end, an organization could spend upwards of 6,000 hours and over $275,000 for a single employee to build out the program with no real assurance it will get them ISO accredited.
Based on those numbers and if you do not have the needed ISO accreditation knowledge or the ability to develop and manage an ISO quality management system, then you should probably consider hiring a forensic ISO accreditation consultant.