Clinical flow cytometry has evolved from two-parameter quantitative assessment of peripheral blood lymphocytes to six-parameter qualitative evaluation of bone marrow for hematopathology. Leukemia and lymphoma immunophenotyping represent an extremely important complement to morphology in the diagnosis and monitoring of hematopoietic malignancies. The complexity of five- and six-parameter analyses and the interpretation of the data rely on standardization and validation of the instrument, the reagents and the procedure. In addition, flow cytometry laboratories in the U.S. are required to document proficiency testing, sample preparation, method accuracy, specificity, sensitivity and precision. NCCLS and the U.S.-Canadian Consensus Conference have provided recommendations, but each laboratory is ultimately responsible for validating its own qualitative and quantitative procedures. This paper reviews procedures for validation and quality control of all aspects of the operation of a clinical flow cytometry service.