2.7 Step Seven: Maintain the integrity of your reporting processes and data
Once these processes have been established for your first report and your data prepared, the preparation process of future reports may be more straightforward. We recommend that you maintain both the records of the process you used to produce the report and the data that includes a list of your data sources and the tools or any internal reports used. Stewards are required to maintain documentation for a period of five years from the date the report was due as all reports may be subject to review by the program or third party review.
Each year, weights and material categories should be verified to ensure accuracy. We recommend that you review your processes prior to reporting each year to ensure the accuracy of your reports as retroactive adjustments due to methodology changes are not permitted.
- Specific identification method
The sales report extraction process performed for each report should incorporate the identification of any new products to be reported; weights and materials should also be verified to ensure that they have not changed for existing products.
- ABOM method
The ABOM groups should be examined to verify they are reasonable and whether the packaging materials profile for each ABOM has changed. The ABOM composition and packaging information/data must be maintained and adjusted as required.
- Additional materials
Any weights and materials information obtained from third parties that are still in use should be verified with the vendor to ensure that both weights and materials used have not changed.
- Process documentation
Documenting your detailed reporting processes will ensure unintended changes in the process are not made in subsequent reports. It will also ensure the process is applied consistently irrespective of who prepares the report and provide substantiation of your methodology for any reviews (including third party reviews) that may be requested. Change management is an important aspect of your report preparation process as well as records retention.