Consulting Services Price Index (COSPI)
Detailed information for first quarter 2019
The Consulting Services Price Index measures quarterly price changes for various consulting services such as management, environmental, and scientific and technical consulting services.
Data release - August 14, 2019
The Consulting Services Price Index measures quarterly price changes for various consulting services such as management, environmental, and scientific and technical consulting services. This price index is a useful indicator of economic activity in the consulting services industry, and can also prove helpful as a supplementary tool for performance evaluation, cost monitoring, contract assessment and benchmark comparisons. In addition, the indexes are used by the Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts to arrive at estimates of real value-added for the industry and to measure changes in productivity in this industry.
These indexes are a part of the Services Producer Price Index program (SPPI) at Statistics Canada.
The SPPI program develops and produces price indexes for a number of business service categories. This initiative fills an important data gap in the area of economic statistics, has resulted in a more comprehensive set of service price indexes, and allows Statistics Canada to produce more accurate estimates of real-value added (Gross Domestic Product) and changes in productivity.
Reference period: The time period for which the index equals 100 - currently this is the year 2014.
Collection period: Collection begins one month after the end of the time period (i.e. quarter) to which the level of the price index refers. The length of the collection period is 45 days.
- Business, consumer and property services
- Prices and price indexes
- Professional, scientific and technical services
- Service price indexes
Data sources and methodology
For the management consulting component of this survey, the target population consists of all businesses in Canada that engage in the provision and sale of management consulting services.
For the environmental, scientific and technical consulting component of this survey, the target population consists of all businesses in Canada that engage in the provision and sale of environmental, scientific and technical consulting services.
The questionnaire used for the Consulting Services Price Index was developed by subject-matter experts at Statistics Canada and tested in consultation with consulting firms across Canada. The survey questionnaire was also developed in consultation with the Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC-Canada).
This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design and a longitudinal follow-up.
For the management consulting component of this survey the sampling frame was built by combining the companies on Statistics Canada's Business Register (BR) that are primarily engaged in the provision and sale of management consulting services (those companies classified to either NAICS 541611, 541612 or 541619) with an inventory of management consulting companies provided to Statistics Canada by the Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC-Canada). The companies selected to participate in this component of the survey are based on the judgment of subject-matter experts. The sample size is 48 companies.
For the environmental, scientific and technical consulting component of this survey, the sampling frame consists of all companies on Statistics Canada's Business Register (BR) that are primarily engaged in the provision and sale of either environmental or scientific and technical consulting services (those companies classified to either NAICS 541620 or 541690). The probability of a company being selected to participate in this component of the survey is proportional to its revenue. The sample size is 75 companies.
Responding to this survey is mandatory.
Data are collected directly from survey respondents.
Following sample selection, new survey participants (respondents) are introduced to the survey through telephone calls. During this initial phase of data collection, respondents are guided through the process of selecting representative products for which prices will be monitored. This process typically spans several collection cycles until respondents become conversant with the survey.
In subsequent cycles, data are collected on a quarterly basis via electronic questionnaire and by mail out, mail back paper questionnaires, while telephone communication (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) is used for non-response and data follow-up. Several follow-up contacts can be made including sending out a reminder fax or letter in order to collect data.
Information about the time it takes respondents to complete the survey questionnaire is collected and monitored closely. Currently, it takes respondents an average of 60 minutes to complete the survey.
View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .
Error detection is conducted at the time of data collection and also during post collection processing, using a set of systematized error detection procedures to identify outliers and possible reporting anomalies. Records that fail these edits are reviewed for editing and correction when necessary or edit failure may trigger a follow-up with the respondent.
Time and effort is devoted to keeping the specifications constant such that only the pure changes in price are tracked. Some information are also collected in order to ensure, as much as possible, that the collected data correspond to the same specifications over time. This constant quality price then feeds into the Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts' (CSMA) estimates of constant dollar GDP.
Missing data are generally estimated by a systematized imputation process. In any given period, price data may not be available for estimation. In such cases, missing data are imputed using the average price movement of remaining units within the same stratum (overall mean or targeted mean imputation method).
The prices collected for the Consulting Services Price Index are defined as the average invoiced consulting (hourly/daily) rates for the various professional consulting levels at each company.
The company-level price indexes are a weighted average of the average invoiced consulting rates for the various professional levels at that company. The weight for each professional level is the total amount of time billed to consulting services for that level. The company-level price indexes are combined into an overall price index for the industry using their relative revenues as weights.
Estimates are produced by calculating a weighted average of price relatives by industry, which are chained together to form an index series. The COSPI is a Laspeyres chain linked index, available at the Canada level only.
An in-depth assessment of quality is conducted prior to the dissemination of estimates. This assessment is based on two key elements of quality (accuracy and coherence); as defined in Statistics Canada's guidelines for the validation of statistical outputs.
The survey's data collection strategy is designed to ensure that targeted response rates are met every cycle. Analysts pay close attention to this metric and react appropriately to ensure that the survey's coverage of the industry is thorough. Particular attention is also given to ensuring that sampled products or services are representative of actual transactions happening in the market place. These two activities, fundamental to the overall quality of the estimates, are done consistently.
Analysts also undertake additional validation activities every cycle to ensure the coherence of survey estimates. These include among others activities: analysis of price changes over time (including analysis of trends), at the business/company, industry, subsector and sector levels; certification of key contributors to price change; and confrontation of estimates against other related data sources. Contextual analysis of survey results is also performed in light of prevailing economic conditions.
Engagements with relevant stakeholders are also undertaken periodically. Forums involving other Statistics Canada analysts, industry stakeholders and partners at other national and international statistical agencies provide valuable insights that inform the development and research agenda of the program.
Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.
Collected data are converted to price indexes and data are released as such, so that it is not possible to identify the suppliers of raw prices.
Revisions and seasonal adjustment
With each release, data for the previous quarter may have been revised. Data are also subject to an annual revision with the release of second quarter data of the following reference year.
The index is not seasonally adjusted. Data are available at the Canada level only.
The survey achieves a response rate of approximately 80% and uses a methodology designed to control for errors and reduce their potential effects on estimates. However, the survey results remain subject to both sampling and non-sampling errors. Sampling error results when observations are made only on a sample and not on the entire population. All other errors arising from the various phases of a survey are referred to as non-sampling errors. For example, these type of errors can occur when a respondent provides incorrect information or does not answer certain questions; when a unit in the target population is omitted or covered more than once; when an out of scope unit is included by mistake or when errors occur in data processing, such as coding or capture errors.
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