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Vendor Exchange Rates (Hannah King) ANN ERCELAWN 20 Oct 1993 03:06 UTC

Date: 19 Oct 1993 17:45:21 -0500
Subject: Continuing saga of the exchange rate mystery

I am hoping that my collegues can explain away some of my headaches
with paying serials invoices.  I think I am driving my vendors crazy, and
I want to make sure that I'm not doing so unreasonably.

        I am adding subscription rate and publisher data to our in-house
database and I am confronting problems in finding the correct price for
a title.  If my cover price, which is what we are using and comparing
to our invoiced price, is in foreign currency, I need the exchange rate
to figure out the publishers actual price.  The exchange rate depends
on the date of the order according to publishers I spoke to last year.
This year I am being told that the exchange rate assessed is the one
in effect at the time my order is paid.  Vendors are unable to tell me
exactly when they paid my order.  (Of course, I argue that the exchange rate
in effect at the time I order should be the exchange rate used to calculate
the subscription price.)

        Can the rest of you tell me how you calculate the correct price of
titles that have a fluctuating exchange rate?  And how many demand that their
vendors identify the exchange rate used at the time orders are placed?  How
many accept the premise that the exchange rate should be based on whenever the
vendors send in payment?  Hypothetically, even if a publisher stated that
they had no record of either order or check, if a vendor said they sent the
check and the publisher must have lost it, we would be charged the rate in
effect at the time the publisher was actually paid.

        The basic question is: how can we verify we are being charged the
correct price for titles priced in foreign currency if we can only verify the
price in foreign currency?  If we cannot verify the accuracy of the exchange
rates, how can we verify the accuracy of our invoices?  Today, if one of the
state auditors comes to audit my close to a half million dollar expenditure
on serials, and asks me how I know I being charged the correct price, all I
can say is: my vendor said so and I trust my vendors.  I really don't
feel real comfortable looking naive.

Hannah King
SUNY HSC Library at Syracuse