Data Consistency

In a perfect world, your system could sort and organize all individual sales transactions according to BIFMA criteria. These individual transactions could be aggregated by month, by quarter, or for an entire year, and could be sorted by product categories, by geography, as well as by other categorization described. This would be the optimum way to manage your data to accommodate the various surveys you will be completing over the course of a year.

A common challenge for the provider is to make sure that data submitted on the monthly, quarterly, and annual survey forms have consistent subtotals and grand totals. This can be a problem when information comes from different sources. The result can be having to publish restatements if the differences are material, or just simply having less accuracy in reports already published.

Another common difficulty with consistency is that the final amount paid for a product is not always known at the time of invoicing. Discounts, volume incentives, and/or other allowances do not always coincide with a particular shipment. The amount may not be known for some time, perhaps after a particular BIFMA report period has come and gone.

A way around this is to estimate these “future” adjustments, perhaps by applying a percentage factor, to approximate actual net results. For instance, from your own history you determine that volume discounts end up being X% of annual sales; so you adjust your monthly and quarterly data accordingly so they end up equaling the annual. In reality, it may simply not be possible or efficient to achieve this kind of accuracy on a monthly or quarterly basis. What we do want to achieve, however, is as much accuracy and consistency as possible. Internal member procedures to review and approve submitted data may enhance the accuracy and consistency of the data submitted.

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