Definitions for TrueValueMetrics
Credible data. It is essential that data are credible. This may best be achieved by some level of independence in data collection, as well as independent checks. It is possible for those with an interest in the outcome to be a part of the process of data accumulation, but they must never be the sole source of data. The data may be contributed by anyone ... and data may be validated by anyone. The data may be used by anyone who is working to improve community progress. While anyone may contribute to the TVM dataflows, there are internal checks to ensure that the data and analysis remain objective and independent.
The data associated with accountancy are boring ... but the system does what it can to ensure that the data are reliable and may be trusted. The techniques used for this include organization so that there is both internal control and internal check. The quality of accountancy data are enhanced by the professionalism of accountants who address the details that is so essential to data reliability.
The data reliability of accountancy is very much greater than what may be achieved using statistical method on top of small surveys. While there is a case for the statistical approach in some limited circumstances, it is not a useful alternative for financial control and for most accountancy reporting purposes.
Scientists face the problem of measurement that changes what is being measured ... this and more apply in the area of socio-economic measurement. If people can they will manipulate the data so that they look good ... this is human nature ... but it makes a nonsense of the data and any subsequent analysis. Good corporate accountancy addresses this problem seriously with independent accounting teams and systems that cannot be manipulated by the operating staff. Good corporate accountancy goes further with systems of internal check to ensure the data remain untainted ... and on top of this there are both internal and external audit functions. TVM facilitates multiple independent flows of data that enables a range of cross checks and validation.
There is a need to have data ... and accounting ... independent. This helps to ensure that the data and the accounting reports reflect reality and are not merely some fiction desired by operating management. There are many different approaches that can be taken to have this independence ... it is, however, usually not enough to have an independent audit to provide this independent view when the structure itself is deeply flawed.
Inadequate independence. Most accounting data originate in an operating environment.
In the relief and development industry most activities are funded by donors who want feedback, and frequently donors fund Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) to get this feedback ... but is this good enough. In some cases it is not, and in other cases the feedback is appropriate ... but there is no systemic internal control or internal check that ensures that the data are reliable and neutral.