Marcel Trachsel, Founder & Partner
The seal of certification of the Consultancy Management Standard (CMS) gives both employees and clients the certainty that they are dealing with a consulting firm in the communications industry that has a proven track record of quality and professionalism.
Recently, a report appeared in the NZZ am Sonntag entitled 'Governance of Organizations' (in German) about the ISO standard 37 000 , which is currently in preparation. The standard will soon set out uniform principles worldwide that clearly define the social and environmental responsibilities of managers. This is an important step, because public trust in business and management is dwindling, as the extremely close vote on the corporate responsibility initiative recently showed, for example.
The communications industry also has an internationally recognized quality mark for the management system of communications consultancies: the Consultancy Management Standard (CMS). CMS certification attests to the audited firm's adherence to the highest professional, business and ethical principles. The standard was developed in the United Kingdom in the mid-1990s and today ensures professionalism in the communications industry in many countries. The seal of approval is awarded by ICCO, the global umbrella organization for communications consultancies. The ICCO is responsible for the maintenance and further development of the standard, and the third version, CMS III, now exists.
Why should we do this to ourselves?
When we at int/ext Communications were faced with the question in 2006 of whether we wanted to take on the challenge and consider having our management system certified by an external auditor, we had mixed feelings. As a small agency with nine employees, should we really go to the trouble of putting all our business processes down in writing and having them periodically checked by an external auditor?
Our experience from 15 years and seven audits
15 years and seven audits later, this question no longer arises, our experiences are too positive. Dealing with the CMS has triggered an important learning process for us, which makes us better advisors and service providers for our customers. The standard obliges us to intensively scrutinize our management system as well as our range of services and to subject our processes to continuous improvement. The audit by an external expert is just the icing on the cake. int/ext Communications has passed all audits with excellent results. The CMS certification gives both our employees and our clients a great deal of security when working with us.
Certification of consulting firms is becoming increasingly important
Until last year, CMS certification was mandatory in order to be accepted as a member of the industry association BPRA (Association of Swiss PR Agencies). We are committed to ensuring that CMS certification remains in place and continues as the Swiss industry standard even after the merger of the BPRA with the Leading Swiss Agencies (LSA). Because this is more important today than ever and will remain so in the future.