HQAI requires a self-assessment at the beginning of the audit process and, for independent verification twice in the four year cycle. This self-assessment uses tools that are modelled after the CHS Alliance’s. In particular the indicators are identical. However, the self-assessment required by HQAI uses only a sub-set of the CHS Alliance’s tools and only necessitates a desktop assessment at the head office.
The reason why HQAI's self-assessment is lighter than the CHS Alliance is that the third-party process includes auditors who go to the field to collect data and there is thus no need to duplicate efforts. In a first-party process this data needs to be collected by the organisation itself.
The benefit of using direct parts of the Alliance’s tool is that it ensures compatibility between the outputs of the two process. In practice, this means that the results of a self-assessment based on the Alliance’s tool is valid as the initial step of a third-party audit from HQAI without any additional work.