5 Values and principles governing an ABC

5.6. Equidistance from the market players

The notion of equidistance is a very important trust factor, especially in establishing and maintaining fair and balanced audit operations.

It is very important that the subjects of the audits (publishers) cannot interfere in the audit process and administration. A publisher should not be able to interact with auditors, the ABC’s administrative personnel, or with how the audit should be carried out.

There must be clear and detailed written protocols on how the audit process is to be carried out, as well as on how publishers have to provide data and documents to the auditors and/or ABC. Based on these rules, the auditor must independently carry out each and every audit.

This disinterested method of handling audit operations ensures thtat the ABC is at “distance” from its audit subject, in completing every audit.

The pricing and quality of audits are also contributors to the equidistance. Similar jobs must be priced in the same way, and the quality of the audits must be the same for each and every (similar) audit.

5.7. Professionalism

It may seem redundant to discuss the need for professionalism, even if when are talking about a not-for-profit, membership-based organization. The need for professionalism is underscored by the very issue of securing and using every members/publishers’ sensitive data.

During the design of an audit system, as well as when the audits are carried out, the ABC (namely: ABC employees, auditors in person) will have access to a long series of sensitive business information and documents (contracts, accounting, etc.) which all belong to the publishers. This is sensitive information many competitors would be eager to get.

The publishers must be totally sure that there is no information leaked to the public, nor to competitors. It is the task of the ABC to guarantee the security of the data; therefore this very sensitive issue must be considered in the very early stages of creating an ABC. It is imperative to “isolate” the data in the hands of an ABC from the rest of the competing marketplace.

5.8. Conclusion

The values discussed above are the cornerstones of an ABC.

In my experience, one of the biggest obstacle in creating an ABC is the lack of trust and understanding among the market players. Some have personal reasons, and some have bad experience. Many can become discontent without professionalism.

Anywhere I have worked in forming an ABC, the market players agreed there is a need to create the organization, while the majority did not want to cooperate. Some people even didn’t want to sit down to talk to others…

I always worked to create a list of all these areas of conflict and ways of overcoming them. In fact, I often used a rating system to prioritize the resolution of such conflicting concerns.