- money that is earned from doing work or received from investments
- a company's profit in a particular period of time
Neither of these meet the Office of National Statistics definition. They apparently want some stats from us, as they do occasionally, and this time it was our "income for June", or "turnover for June"...
Now, I, and Alex, actually assumed that would be VAT exclusive invoiced total for invoices in June. Or possible adjusted for the invoice period for services, e.g. if an invoice was for June+July, we would only total the June part. Both of these are figures we have available from our accounts without too much bother.
It is interesting that the dictionary (it was just one I looked at) says for a company it would be profit which is different yet again. But they did say "turnover" as well as "income" pretty interchangeably. Even so, may not be impossible to get from the accounts.
The ONS, however, have a special definition - they want to know the actual money received. I.e. what went in to the bank.
OK, that is again not either of the dictionary definitions, as we "earned" money simply for doing work and invoicing for it even if that money has not yet arrived. Even so, that is not too hard to find. We have the banking data, we can look at the total of incoming payments.
But no, they want the VAT exclusive total of received payments. Now that is harder. Whether a payment has a VAT element depends on which invoice it relates to. If someone sends money we will allocate by default to the earliest invoice. Now if that was a late payment penalty with no VAT then that payment has no VAT. If we then find they did not pay the late payment invoice but a later invoice, when we re-allocate the payment, now it does have VAT as part of it.
So working out the VAT exclusive value of payments is both complicated, and can change after your worked it out.
It is also odd as we have people that we trade both ways with and the actual money transferred either way will be the balance, and not reflect what we have invoiced at all. This will probably account for many thousands, and so will impact their statistics.
Why on earth are they picking such an obscure statistic to collect, and why not simply ask for actual total money instead of expecting us to work out a VAT exclusive figure. And finally, why are they not asking the bank! I suspect they have the power to.
Update: We called back with the figure, and now they say "no, we want the VAT exclusive invoice total". Here is the call recording to prove we are not going barmy here (MP3).