A Snarkling is calculating the odds of chicanery:
It seems strange that there are still discrepancies with contracts and accounting with the top tier publishers? I know it's not a perfect world but do they try it with the noob writers -- to see what they can get away with? How often do you smell a rat when looking over a contract? More importantly, how do you keep on top ALL the other books you've brokered to make sure the numbers are in line.
And a fierce devotion to my abacus.
Royalty statements are an arcane accounting form. There's absolutely no "industry standard" and every publisher does it their own way. It's a frigging pain in the parchment.
Software helps. Royalty statement dates and amounts are equations. You plug in the numbers and set the reminder dates to ping you.
There is a firm in NYC that earns their entire income from the percentage they receive finding mistakes in royalty payouts. They only take a percentage of what they recover for you; no upfront fees. Scary huh.
Most publishers aren't trying to steal from you. They just prefer to keep the money as long as possible. Days. Weeks. Years. Forever. You know..the same amount of time I've stalked Mr. Clooney.