Why Is There a Difference in Profits Between Daily Reports and Actual Payments?

We’ve noticed that a lot of developers are confused when it comes to understanding Apple’s payment system, and with reason. And while Apple has been very clear that daily/weekly reports should not be used for financial purposes, they never explained why.

We bring you the explanation!

Before we go into the actual explanation keep in mind that financial reports follow a fiscal calendar that is different from the normal calendar. You can see Apple’s fiscal calendar for 2010 here.

So here’s the big difference:

Daily/weekly reports record downloads as they happen, while financial reports record credit card transactions as they clear with the bank.

This means that downloads that occur at the end of the fiscal month will be reported in the daily report but not in the financial report, and it can go either way depending on the previous fiscal month.
With that in mind let’s look at actual numbers.

Here’s real data for the fiscal month of Aug. 09 (8/2 – 8/29).

Here’s a comparison of estimated vs. actual profit for the data above:

Profit (from daily): $7,739.90
Actual Payment: $7,767.00
Difference: $32.90
Last 3 days: $30.80

* These results may be a bit skewed because the app was featured early in the month.

Conclusions:

  1. Credit card charges may take more than a day to clear.
  2. There’s a delay between when a download occurs to when it is posted.
  3. Because of 1 and 2, downloads that took place over the last 3-6 days of the fiscal month may not count towards that month’s payment.
  4. This results in a difference in profit of the total of the last 3 – 6 days of the month

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