Quality accreditation in higher education exists in many countries, including vietnam. As of may 2018, 80 higher education institutions in vietnam have officially been evaluated and recognised using the national quality standards. This study examined the impact of institutional accreditation on the evaluated university. The qualitative research evaluates the impact of external quality assurance from the perspective of managers of the university. The self-assessment phase helped the university assemble evidence of activities carried out at the university and the status of being recognised was believed to increase its prestige. The process, on the other hand, was also believed to be burdensome, time and cost consuming, which led to no significant changes at the institution. Lack of institutional autonomy and competence of the review team were barriers to any attempts to improve quality of higher education in vietnam. 2018, 2018 Informa uk limited, trading as taylor & francis group.