Documentation for Initial Audit

Bylaw 2.8 Publisher Duty to Install and Maintain Records states that it is the responsibility of the publisher (AAM applicant or member) to maintain all records necessary for audit, ensure the records are accurate, and to provide those records to the AAM auditors in a timely manner. This bylaw also states:

“Publisher members may sell copies in quantities through agents, distributors and wholesalers, independent contractors or other third parties, however, the publisher shall remain responsible for the accuracy, completeness and accessibility of the records maintained by such organizations…”

Most third-party fulfillment operations, agents and distributors are familiar with AAM and its audit requirements. However, it is your responsibility to notify these organizations that AAM will be conducting an audit for your title and ensure that the organizations will maintain, and make available to AAM staff, the various reports and documents necessary for the audit. You should also instruct them to fulfill all auditors’ requests for documentation or information in a timely manner, so the audit may continue efficiently.

Regardless of who maintains the records, an AAM audit focuses on:

  • order
  • delivery
  • classification and
  • payment (if circulation is claimed as paid.)

During the initial audit, the auditor will:

  • Conduct an audit of your circulation to ensure compliance with AAM rules, policies and guidelines.
  • Request documentation necessary to complete the audit. Expect timely receipt of documentation, or communication updates regarding status of the documentation.
  • Inquire about your circulation, distribution and accounting practices.
  • Inquire about any analysis results or discoveries resulting from review of documentation.
  • Expect timely responses to all inquiries regarding the audit.
  • Collaborate with you and the audit manager to resolve any audit concerns discovered during the audit process.
  • Discuss any questions or concerns you have about AAM rules, qualification requirements, and reporting formats.
  • Provide feedback regarding any potential record keeping or other improvements that could result in a more efficient future audit.
  • Present a draft audit report and summarize all final audit discoveries and decisions.
  • Require a signature on the draft postal audit report (if you chose to have AAM conduct your postal audit.)

The time it takes to complete your audit, the extent of testing required, and documentation needed is dependent on the specific type(s) of circulation you distribute.