C. Advantages and disadvantages of surveys

4.14.        Advantages. Once in place, enterprise surveys will have certain advantages.  For example, survey forms are designed to conform to acceptable methodology, and satisfy the needs of various fields of statistics, and can be revised as frequently as necessary.[1]  Also, established contacts at the enterprises may allow compilers to obtain prompt confirmations or corrections in the case of doubts about the reliability of the information submitted.

4.15.        Challenges in the use of surveys. Major challenges encountered in conducting a survey include: (a) frequent correction by enterprises of data previously submitted, leading to substantial revision in the preliminary data; (b) high cost of implementation; (c) additional reporting burden on enterprises; (d) difficulty of ensuring proper completion and submission of survey questionnaires; (e) difficulty of obtaining sufficiently detailed and reliable information (e.g., at the level of six-digit Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) codes) on value and quantity of trade due to the limited sample sizes of surveys and; (f) the case where not all of the required information may be available to those completing the enterprise surveys.  It may be helpful for countries at the initial stage of organizing such surveys to take advantage of the experience of other countries.

[1]  Compilers may find it practical to use the same survey form to collect data on a physical movement basis to ensure consistency with IMTS 2010, Rev.3 recommendations and on a change-of-ownership basis to obtain information needed for System for National Accounts (SNA)/balance of payments statistics.