Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Chapter 24: Data Requirements for Cost Accounting in the Mail Communication System
* Leon A. Pintsov and Andrei Obrea The modern age has a false sense of superiority because of the great mass of data at its disposal. But the valid criterion of distinction is rather the extent to which man knows how to form and master the material at his command. J.W. Goethe (1749–1832) 1. INTRODUCTION One of the fundamental challenges concerning governance and operations of modern postal enterprises is cost accounting. It is desirable to make the cost accounting process repeatable, veriﬁable and minimally expensive. The accuracy, reliability, veriﬁability and eﬃciency of the cost accounting depend on cost models and their associated data and conventions. Therefore, it is likely to be beneﬁcial to identify all sources of data that can be brought to bear to improve reliability of data. This chapter attempts to specify the objective (measurable) elements of data required for cost accounting and to identify the main system-wide sources of such data elements. Typically, an internal view of data related to costs is taken in which only data available from the postal operator itself is considered for cost accounting purposes. This chapter argues that, in fact, other parties, including the sender and receiver of mail, may provide very valuable additional sources of data of interest in estimating costs for direct and support services provided by postal operators. This topic is likely to become a central theme for strategy and regulation as liberalization drives price and value closer to cost. Interestingly, detailed data concerning actual...
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