2015 Survey of Service Industries: Software Development and Computer Services

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Integrated Business Statistics Program (IBSP)

Reporting Guide

This guide is designed to assist you as you complete the 2015 Survey of Service Industries. If you need more information, please call the Statistics Canada Help Line at the number below.

Your answers are confidential.

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act.

Statistics Canada will use information from this survey for statistical purposes.

Help Line: 1-800-972-9692

Table of contents

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Business activity
Reporting period information
Industry characteristics
Sales by type of client
International transactions

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Business activity

The description on file for this business comes from the North American Industrial Classifications System (NAICS). This database contains a limited number of activity classifications. The classifications on file might be applicable for this business or organization, even if it is not exactly how you would describe this business or organization's main activity.

By selecting "Yes, this is the main activity.", you indicate that the description is applicable, and it describes the main economic activity which typically generates the most revenue for this business or organization.

By selecting "No, this is secondary activity." you indicate that the description is applicable, but that there is a different economic activity which typically generates more revenue for this business or organization. You will be given a chance to describe this business or organization’s main activity, and select an appropriate classification.

By selecting "No, this description is not applicable." you indicate that this description is not applicable as a main or a secondary activity of this business or organization. You will be given a chance to describe this business or organization’s main activity, and provide an appropriate classification.

If none of the above activities describes your main source of revenue, please call 1-800-972-9692 for further instructions.

Reporting period information

Here are twelve common fiscal periods that fall within the targeted dates:

  • May 1, 2014 to April 30, 2015
  • June 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015
  • July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015
  • August 1, 2014 to July 31, 2015
  • September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2015
  • October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015
  • November 1, 2014 to October 31, 2015
  • December 1, 2014 to November 30, 2015
  • January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015
  • February 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016
  • March 1, 2015 to February 28, 2016
  • April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016

Here are other examples of fiscal periods that fall within the required dates:

  • September 18, 2014 to September 15, 2015 (e.g., floating year-end)
  • June 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015 (e.g., a newly opened business)


  1. Sales of goods and services (e.g., fees, commissions, services revenue)

Report net of returns and allowances.
Sales of goods and services are defined as amounts derived from the sale of goods and services (cash or credit), falling within a business’s ordinary activities. Sales should be reported net of trade discount, value added tax and other taxes based on sales.

Include: Sales from Canadian locations (domestic and export sales); Transfers to other business units or a head office of your firm.

Exclude: Transfers into inventory and consignment sales; Federal, provincial and territorial sales taxes and excise duties and taxes; intercompany sales in consolidated financial statements.

  1. Rental and leasing

Include: Rental or leasing of apartments, commercial buildings, land, office space, residential housing, investments in co-tenancies and co-ownerships, hotel or motel rooms, long and short term vehicle leasing, machinery or equipment, storage lockers, etc.

  1. Commissions

Include: Commissions earned on the sale of products or services by businesses such as advertising agencies, brokers, insurance agents, lottery ticket sales, sales representatives, and travel agencies - compensation could also be reported under this item (for example, compensation for collecting sales tax).

  1. Subsidies (including grants, donations, fundraising and sponsorships)

Include: Non-repayable grants, contributions and subsidies from all levels of government; Revenue from private sector (corporate and individual) sponsorships, donations and fundraising.

  1. Royalties, rights, licensing and franchise fees

A royalty is defined as a payment received by the holder of a copyright, trademark or patent.

Include: Revenue received from the sale or use of all intellectual property rights of copyrighted materials such as musical, literary, artistic or dramatic works, sound recordings or the broadcasting of communication signals.

  1. Dividends

Include: Dividend income; Dividends from Canadian sources; Dividends from foreign sources; Patronage dividends.
Exclude: Equity income from investments in subsidiaries or affiliates.

  1. Interest

Include: Investment revenue; Interest from foreign sources; Interest from Canadian bonds and debentures; Interest from Canadian mortgage loans; Interest from other Canadian sources.
Exclude: Equity income from investments in subsidiaries or affiliates.

  1. Other revenue - specify

Include: Amounts not included in questions (1) to (7).

  1. Total revenue

The sum of sub-questions (1) to (8).


  1. Cost of goods sold

Many business units distinguish their costs of materials from their other business expenses (selling, general and administrative). This item is included to allow you to easily record your costs/expenses according to your normal accounting practices.

Include: Cost of raw materials and/or goods purchased for resale – net of discounts earned on purchases; Freight in and duty.

Exclude: all costs associated with: salaries, wages, benefits, commissions and subcontracts from question 1. These values should be included in question 2 and 3 below.

  1. Employment costs and expenses
  1. Salaries, wages and commissions

Please report all salaries and wages (including taxable allowances and employment commissions as defined on the T4 – Statement of Remuneration Paid) before deductions for this reporting period.

Include: Vacation pay; Bonuses (including profit sharing); Employee commissions; Taxable allowances (e.g., room and board, vehicle allowances, gifts such as airline tickets for holidays); Severance pay.
Exclude: All payments and expenses associated with casual labour and outside contract workers (report these amounts at sub-question (3) - Subcontracts).

  1. Employee benefits

Include contributions to: Health plans; Insurance plans; Employment insurance; Pension plans; Workers’ compensation; Association dues; Contributions to any other employee benefits such as child care and supplementary unemployment  benefit (SUB) plans; Contributions to provincial and territorial health and education payroll taxes.

  1. Subcontracts

Subcontract expense refers to the purchasing of services from outside of the company rather than providing them in-house.

Include: Hired casual labour and outside contract workers; Custom work and contract work; Subcontract and outside labour; Hired labour.

  1. Research and development fees

Expenses from activities conducted with the intention of making a discovery that could either lead to the development of new products or procedures, or to the improvement of existing products or procedures.

  1. Professional and business fees 

Include: Legal services; Accounting and auditing fees; Consulting fees; Education and training fees; Appraisal fees; Management and administration fees; Property management fees; Information technology (IT) consulting and service fees (purchased); Architectural fees; Engineering fees; Scientific and technical service fees; Other consulting fees (management, technical and scientific); Veterinary fees; Fees for human health services; Payroll preparation fees; All other professional and business service fees.
Exclude: Service fees paid to Head Office (report at sub-question (21) - All other expenses).

  1. Utilities 

Utility expenses related to operating your business unit such as water, electricity, gas, heating and hydro.

Include: Diesel, fuel wood, natural gas, oil and propane; Sewage. 
Exclude: Energy expenses covered in your rental and leasing contracts; Telephone, Internet and other telecommunication (report at sub-question (8) - Telephone, Internet and other telecommunication); Vehicle fuel (report at sub-question (21) - All other expenses).

  1. Office and computer related expenses

Include: Office stationery and supplies, paper and other supplies for photocopiers, printers and fax machines; Postage and courier (used in the day to day office business activity); Computer and peripherals upgrade expenses; Data processing.
Exclude: Telephone, Internet and other telecommunication expenses (report this amount at sub-question (8) - Telephone, Internet and other telecommunication).

  1. Telephone, Internet and other telecommunication

Include: Internet; Telephone and telecommunication; Cellular telephone; Fax machine; Pager.

  1. Business taxes, licenses and permits

Include: Property taxes paid directly and property transfer taxes; Vehicle license fees; Beverage taxes and business taxes; Trade license fees; Membership fees and professional license fees; Provincial capital tax.

  1. Royalties, franchise fees and memberships

Include: Amounts paid to holders of patents, copyrights, performing rights and trademarks; Gross overriding royalty expenses and direct royalty costs; Resident and non-resident royalty expenses; Franchise fees.
Exclude: Crown royalties

  1. Crown charges

Federal or Provincial royalty, tax, lease or rental payments made in relation to the acquisition, development or ownership of Canadian resource properties.  

Include: Crown royalties; Crown leases and rentals; Oil sand leases; Stumpage fees.

  1. Rental and leasing

Include: Lease rental expenses, real estate rental expenses, condominium fees and equipment rental expenses; Motor vehicle rental and leasing expenses; Studio lighting and scaffolding; Machinery and equipment rental expenses; Storage expenses; Road and construction equipment rental; Fuel and other utility costs covered in your rental and leasing contracts.

  1. Repair and maintenance

Include: Buildings and structures; Machinery and equipment; Security equipment; Vehicles; Costs related to materials, parts and external labour associated with these expenses; Janitorial and cleaning services and garbage removal.

  1. Amortization and depreciation

Include: Direct cost depreciation of tangible assets and amortization of leasehold improvements; Amortization of intangible assets (e.g., amortization of goodwill, patents, franchises, copyrights, trademarks, deferred charges, organizational costs).

  1. Insurance

Insurance recovery income should be deducted from insurance expenses.

Include: Professional and other liability insurance; Motor vehicle and property insurance; Executive life insurance; Bonding, business interruption insurance and fire insurance.

  1. Advertising, marketing, promotion, meals and entertainment

Include: Newspaper advertising and media expenses; Catalogues, presentations and displays; Tickets for theatre, concerts and sporting events for business promotion; Fundraising expenses; Meals, entertainment and hospitality purchases for clients.

  1. Travel, meetings and conventions

Include: Travel expenses; Meeting and convention expenses, seminars; Passenger transportation (e.g., airfare, bus, train, etc.); Accommodations; Travel allowance and meals while travelling; Other travel expenses.

  1. Financial services 

Include: Explicit service charges for financial services; Credit and debit card commissions and charges; Collection expenses and transfer fees; Registrar and transfer agent fees; Security and exchange commission fees; Other financial service fees.
Exclude: Interest expenses (report at sub-question (19) - Interest expense).

  1. Interest expense

Report the cost of servicing your company’s debt.

Include: Interest; Bank charges; Finance charges; Interest payments on capital leases; Amortization of bond discounts; Interest on short-term and long-term debt, mortgages, bonds and debentures.

  1. Other non-production-related costs and expenses

Include: Charitable donations and political contributions; Bad Debt expense; Loan losses; Provisions for loan losses (minus Bad debt recoveries); Inventory adjustments

  1. All other costs and expenses (including intracompany expenses)

Production costs; Pipeline operations, drilling, site restoration; Gross overriding royalty; Other producing property rentals; Well operating, fuel and equipment; Other lease rentals; Other direct costs; Equipment hire and operation; Log yard expense, forestry costs, logging road costs; Freight in and duty; Overhead expenses allocated to costs of sales; Other expenses; Cash over/short (negative expense); Reimbursement of parent company expense; Warranty expense; Recruiting expenses; General and administrative expenses; Interdivisional expenses; Interfund transfer (minus expense recoveries); Exploration and Development (including prospect/geological, well abandonment & dry holes, exploration expenses, development expenses); Amounts not included in sub-questions (1) to (20) above.

  1. Total expenses

(sum of sub-questions 1 to 21)

Industry characteristics

  1. Information technology (IT) technical consulting services

The provision of advice or expert opinion on technical matters related to the use of information technology. This includes advice on matters such as hardware and software requirements and procurement, systems integration and systems security. The provision of expert testimony on IT-related issues are also included here.

  1. Custom software design and development services 
  1. Website design and development services

    This service consists of designing the structure and content of a web page and/or writing the computer code necessary to create and implement a web page.
  1. Database design and development services

This service consists of designing the structure and content of a database and/or of writing the computer code necessary to create and implement a database (data warehouse). Exclude contracts where the design and development of a database is bundled with the on-going management of the data holdings and are classified in the data management services sub category.

  1. Customization and integration of packaged software

This service consists of adapting (modifying, configuring, etc.) and installing an existing application so that it is functional within the clients’ information system environment.

  1. Other custom software development services

This service consists of adapting (modifying, configuring, etc.) and installing an existing application so that it is functional within the client's information system environment or creating software to meet the specific needs of the clients.

  1. Computer systems and network design and development services                                                
  1. Network design and development services (include network security design)

This service consists of designing, developing and implementing customer networks such as Intranets, Extranets and Virtual Private Networks.

  1. Computer systems design, development and integration services

This service consists of assessing an organization’s computer requirements, advising on hardware and software acquisitions, developing system specifications and either putting the new system in place or providing the client with the necessary specifications to put the new system in place.

  1. Hosting and information technology (IT) infrastructure provisioning services (e.g. Website hosting, application service provisioning, business process management services, collocation, data storage and management)

Website hosting services

The service of providing the infrastructure to host a customer’s website and related files in a location that provides fast, reliable connection to the Internet.

Application service provisioning (ASP)

The provision of leased software applications from a centralized, hosted, and managed computing environment.

Business process management services

A bundled service package that combines information-technology-intensive services with labour (manual or professional depending on the solution), machinery and facilities to support, host and manage a business process for a client.


The provision of rack space within a secured facility for the placement of servers and enterprise platforms. The service includes the space for the client's hardware and software, connection to the Internet or other communication networks and routine monitoring of servers. Clients are responsible for the management of the operating system, hardware and software.

Data storage

The service of administering storage and back-up management of data such as remote back-up services, storage or hierarchical storage management (migration).

 Data management

The ongoing management and administration of data as an organizational resource. Services may include performing data modelling, data mobilization, data mapping/rationalization, data mining and system architecture.

  1. IT infrastructure and network management services                                                                     
  1. Network management services

The service of managing and monitoring communication networks and connected hardware to diagnose networking problems and gather capacity and usage statistics for the administration and fine-tuning of network traffic. These services also remotely manage security systems or provide security-related services.

  1. Computer systems management services

Providing day-to-day management and operation of a client’s computer system.

  1. Information and document transformation services (e.g., imaging, data conversion and migration)

The service of converting paper documents into digital or other machine-readable formats. The service generally involves the following components: 1) document preparation, 2) scanning, optical character recognition and other data capture activities, 3) delivery or output of the information captured into a database or a physical medium.

  1. IT technical support services (for hardware or software include; disaster recovery services)

The provision of technical expertise to solve problems for the client in using software, hardware or entire computer system.

The provision of customer support in using or troubleshooting software and includes upgrade services and the provision of patches and updates.

The provision of customer support in using or troubleshooting the computer hardware and software. It includes testing and cleaning on a routine basis and repair of IT equipment. Includes technical assistance in moving a client’s computer system to a new location.

The provision of technical expertise to solve specialized problems for the client using a computer system. These specialized services include computer auditing and assessment, data recovery and disaster recovery.

Services of auditing or assessing computer operations without providing advice or other follow-up action. Includes auditing, assessing and documenting a server, network or process for components, capabilities, performance or security.

Retrieving a client’s data from a damaged or unstable hard drive or other storage medium.

Providing standby computer equipment and duplicate software in a separate location to enable a client to relocate regular staff to resume and maintain routine computerized operations in event of a disaster such as a fire or flood.

  1. Software publishing                                                                                                                          
  1. System software (include programming languages)

Publication of low-level software required to manage computer resources and support the production or execution of application programs but which is not specific to any particular application.

Operating system software

Software that controls a computer and its peripherals. Modern operating systems such as Linux, Macintosh OSX and Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 handle many of a computer’s basic functions.

Network software

Software that monitors an active communications network in order to diagnose problems and gather statistics for administration and fine-tuning.

Database management software

A program that manages all facets of a database. Primary services of database management software include storage, modification and extraction of data. Database management software also regulates user access and protects data against damage.

Development tools and programming languages software

Software used to assist in the development and/or authoring of computer programs. Software products that support the professional developer in the design, development and implementation of a variety of software systems and solutions (includes all program development tools and programming languages software).

  1. Application software

Any self-contained program that performs a specific function directly for the end user.

General business productivity and home use applications

Software used for general business purposes to improve productivity, or in the home for entertainment, reference or educational purposes (includes office suite applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, simple databases, graphics applications, project management software, computer-based training software, games, reference, home education, etc.).

Cross-industry applications

Software that is designed to perform and/or manage a specific business function or process that is not unique to a particular industry (includes professional accounting software, human resource management, customer relations management software, geographic information system software, web page/site design software, etc.).

Vertical market applications

Software that performs a wide range of business functions for a specific industry such as manufacturing, retail, healthcare, engineering, restaurants, etc.

 Utilities software

A small computer program that performs a very specific task. Utilities differ from other software applications in terms of size, cost and complexity. Examples include: compression programs, anti-virus, search engines, font, file viewers and voice recognition software. Software that monitors an active communications network in order to diagnose problems and gather statistics for administration and fine-tuning.

Sales by type of client

This section is designed to measure which sector of the economy purchases your services.

Please provide a percentage breakdown of your sales by type of client.

Please ensure that the sum of percentages reported in this section equals 100%.

1. Clients in Canada

  1. Individuals and households

Please report the percentage of sales to individuals and households who do not represent the business or government sector.

  1. Businesses

Percentage of sales sold to the business sector should be reported here.


  • Sales to Crown corporations.

c. Governments, not-for-profit organizations and public institutions (e.g., hospitals, schools)

Percentage of sales to federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments should be reported here.


  • Sales to hospitals, schools, universities and public utilities.

2. Clients outside Canada

Please report the percentage of total sales to customers or clients located outside Canada including foreign businesses, foreign individuals, foreign institutions and/or governments.


  • Sales to foreign subsidiaries and affiliates.

International transactions

This section is intended to measure the value of international transactions on goods, services, royalties and licenses fees. It covers imported services and goods purchased outside Canada as well as the value of exported services and goods to clients/customers outside Canada. Please report also royalties, rights, licensing and franchise fees paid to and/or received from outside Canada. Services cover a variety of industrial, professional, trade and business services.


Mobile app
Include sales through any app, or application, that is downloaded and designed to run on a handheld device such as a smartphone or tablet (for example, places where a user may download these apps include Apple’s App Store, Google Play or Blackberry App World).


Company website
Include sales through a browser-based website where your organization maintains control of the content.

Third-party website
Include sales through a browser-based website where a third-party maintains the structure of the website and control of the look and feel while your company only provides the product to be sold (for example, Amazon, Expedia, Etsy).

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
A standard format for exchanging business data. EDI is based on the use of message standards, ensuring that all participants use a common language.

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