With the continuously increasing demand for traceable and often accredited measurements in the scientific community, the quality management of laboratory activity according to international ISO standards can be a valuable and proficient solution. In this paper, we describe a decade of work in this direction. The implementation of quality management according to the ISO/IEC 17025 ‘General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories’ in a surface science research-oriented analytical laboratory is presented. We analyze difficulties and drawbacks as well as benefits and permanent improvements that followed the accreditation, its maintenance, and extension to new methods. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.