Conducting a Sales Forecasting Audit

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Department or Administrative Unit


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Continuous improvement in sales forecasting is a worthy goal for any organization. This paper describes a methodology for conducting a sales forecasting audit, the goal of which is to help a company understand the status of its sales forecasting processes and identify ways to improve those processes. The methodology described here has been developed over a 5-ycar period. involving multiple auditors, and has been implemented (to date) at 16 organizations. This methodology revolves around three distinct phases: the ·as-is' phase, in which the audit team seeks to understand fully a company's current forecasting process; the 'should-be' phase, in which the audit team presents a vision of what world-class forecasting should look like at the audited company, and the 'way-forward' phase, in which the audit team presents a roadmap of how the company can change its forecasting processes to achieve world-class levels. Those companies that have responded positively to the audit process have experienced significant improvement in their forecasting performance. The paper concludes by presenting lessons from audits conducted to date. as well as implications for management practice and future research.


This article was originally published in International Journal of Forecasting. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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International Journal of Forecasting


© 2002 International Institute of Forecasters