Original Post Date: Friday, June 4, 2010

One of the great features of the TruePlanning cost management software is the fact that it makes it easy to handle complications of inflation and estimating projects performed in different countries and currencies. The costs associated with doing work in different countries, and the relative value of different currencies is constantly changing. To address this, the cost research team at PRICE does an annual economic update performed by the cost research team, and this blog will introduce some of basic concepts and research that goes into maintaining this feature every year.

The price of goods and services changes over time, and this value is measured by inflation rates (if prices have gone up) or deflation rates (if prices have gone down). These inflation/deflation rates are constantly updated for many different currencies by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In TruePlanning, we use past and predicted inflation rates published by the IMF  to determine the cost in today’s currency of doing work in the future, for whatever currency you want to use. Within the TruePlanning tool, these factors can be applied to help produce a cost estimate of work that takes place over a long period of time, with the cost estimate shown in today’s currency values.

In addition to inflation/deflation rates for different currencies, we also recognize that the price of goods and services may be different from one country to the next (i.e. a U.S. Dollar exchanged and spent in India will buy more haircuts than a dollar spent in the United States). The degree of these price differences can be measured by looking at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) data of a country. Standard PPP values are calculated or compiled and published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The PPP rates published by the OECD are used in the TruePlanning tool to estimate costs of performing projects in different countries, as the cost of doing the same amount of work in different countries can vary significantly.

By automating the application of these and other economic complications of cost estimating, the TruePlanning tool helps create a process in which the effects of these economic factors can be applied consistently and correctly for all your cost estimates.

Gurney Thompson
Cost Research Analyst, PRICE Systems