The purpose of this handbook is to offer a practical guide for those interested in creating and building an organization which can provide their media and advertising markets with credible, independently verified media information.

The idea to write this guide came in 2008. After a series of discussions about the initiative, the Executive Board of the International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Certification (IFABC) gave the green light for this project in 2009.

The ABC movement has a history of almost 100 years. All existing ABCs were primarily formed to provide audited print media circulation figures. Nowadays, the ABCs provide a long array of services, from circulations audits to web traffic measurement and readership research.

This guide focuses on building the audit organization, while being less about actual audit bureau services. The reason is simple. In order to have the circulation audit service in place, you need to develop first the fundamentals of the organization itself.

The idiosyncrasies of a given market (i.e. level of technological development, legal framework, operating methods and traditions of the production and distribution systems of print media, etc.) are a critical influence on how an audit system can be built and maintained. These factors make each auditing system uniquely complex.

I have written this handbook based on more than 17 years of experience in working with the Hungarian, Romanian and Moldavian ABCs, 14 years of IFABC members membership, and 8 years as an IFABC Executive Board member.