Can I Change the Date of My Audit?
There are no accreditation rules about this and thus what an accreditation agency might expect is that a registrar has a documented policy and procedure for doing this. A good registrar would have this in place and thus simply explain the process – not moan about the difficulties.
If you want to extend your audit temporarily then you probably can without too much difficulty just by arrangement with the scheduler. It is unlikely you will be able to extend it more than 3 months and you will need a good reason to do so (an act of God is usually a good one!). And a peculiarity of 17021 (the standard that registrars follow) is that the first surveillance audit cannot be more than 365 days from the initial audit – and that is firm.
It is a surprisingly common request to permanently move an audit date. Registration was frequently achieved by a target such as the end of the year but there is often a more convenient time to have an audit. If you are audited in November but it would be more convenient in March then you effectively want to move your certificate date by four months. So for that year of moving you need to extend your audit year by 4 months or shorten it by 8. That will mean that you should have a more intensive audit for that period and you should expect to pay for it.
Note that for small companies, you may have a one day audit each year but it may be the “required” auditing is actually less than one day. The guidance table used to calculate duration applies to the initial audit and provides for surveillance audits at 1/3 of that duration. if your initial audit was calculated to 2 days then your surveillance might be one day but only 2/3 of a day is “mandatory” according to the table. In this instance your normal days surveillance audit should be sufficient to extend your audit year in order to move your certificate date – and thus the regular date of your surveillance.
Because there is a new certificate to be issued and there are other administrative records to be maintained (justifying all of this) expect an administrative fee also. If you attempt to move your certificate date during a re-assessment year then it is possible the administrative fees are less or not applicable because a new certificate is issued anyway. But you need to be careful during a reassessment year. You do not want a certificate that shows an expiration in December and a new certificate that starts in April. That gap might cause problems. Thus an extended certificate or an additional certificate will be necessary.
While all this seems to make sense, and there doesn’t seem to be rules against it, it is strongly recommended that you contact the most senior management in the registrar possible. And even then you might need a lot of good luck.
Finally, if your registrar is not helpful in this matter, you should consider transferring to another registrar. It is likely that they would be willing to assign their certificate with a mutually beneficial date and audit schedule in order to gain your business. And transferring is basically a free exercise.