12 Building a print circulations audit system

12.12. Audit program

The audit program goal is to describe in detail the tasks the auditors must execute during the actual audit process. This program is an actual a step-by-step checklist of activities.

An audit program details the process of reconciliation of data against the documentation and information existing in the publisher’s records. It links the definitions to the documentation and information to be verified in order to certify the circulations data.

These protocols should describe the following (although this list is not exhaustive):

• The obligations of auditors.
• The administration and communications the auditors should maintain with the ABC and the audited subjects.
• The reaction times to the ABC audit requests.
• How to prepare the publishers for the audit.
• Advice to be given to the publishers regarding their administration in relation to the audits.
• The extensive list of tasks to be carried out during the actual audit: list of documents and information to be verified, sampling methods, calculations to be made, etc.

Here are some examples:

• How to settle (calculate) the different amounts of copies against the amount of money that is accounted for in the publishers’ books, subcontractor by subcontractor.
• How to deal with the different rates of subscriptions when calculating the above.
• How to calculate the net income of the sales, and deal with VAT, etc.
• Protocols to be followed in case of problems occurring at the audit, including fraudulent practices.
• Deadlines and protocols related to the audit reports to be sent to the ABC.
• Own audit records to be kept by auditors.

Because the audit program is actually the job description for the auditors, it is an essential tool in selecting the auditors to be used by the ABC. Many of the items in the audit program will become part of the contract between the ABC and the auditors.

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