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It is important to know how your company is categorized by the government. Beginning in the 1930's, this was detailed via Standardized Industrial Codes (SIC) and controlled by the Office of Management & Budget. In recent years, rapid changes in the U.S. and world economies brought the SIC under increasing criticism.
Beginning in 1997, the SIC was replaced by the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). The first revision was done in 2002 and since then most categorization is done using NAICS numbers, although SIC still has applications, including by OSHA. The NAICS will automatically be updated each 5 years, with the next revision due in 2007. The change over from SIC has enabled government to broaden analyzation from the 10 broad categories to 1,170 industries detailed in the NAICS. The development of NAICS has changed the landscape of business analysis; the system has added the previously non-categorized Information Industry and has greatly expanded how we look at construction related entities.
The NORTH AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM (NAICS) is a 6 digit numbering system that is jointly used by Canada, Mexico, and the United States. NAICS allows for legislative interaction of the Patriot Act, NAFTRA*, NAPCS**, the Census Bureau, and the Federal Tax Code. Beginning in 2007, the Census Bureau will use this system on all its forms and beginning in 2008, business related tax forms will be using this system. Most numbers that apply to businesses in the Trade Show Industry can be found in:
1. The "23" series, or
2. The "56" series.
238390 is the number assigned to Trade Show Exhibit Installation/Dismantle Contractors;
while, 561920 is the number assigned to Convention Services.
The STANDARDIZED INDUSTRIAL CODE (SIC) is a 4 digit numbering system that is still used within the U.S. (only) for some applications. Government sections such as the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics will, until 2012, continue to convert data using a NAICS/SIC overlap. A SIC chart and NAICS/SIC comparative search tool is available at:
As you work to get your company in line with the NAICS approach, you may find that you are scrambling for information. The absolute best source of information is located at the NAICS Association's website at http://www.naics.com. There is no reason to get tricked into paying for a service (such as www.sic-naics-codes.com) to define your business or to obtain printed materials about the system; what you need is readily available for free. Once you reference the system's listing, you simply, on your own, choose the category that you feel best describes your business. The exception to this rule is: if your business has a potential environmental inpact on the community, then the EPA will assign you a code. Although the SIC is still used in some limited, but important applications, we strongly recommend that you convert to the NAICS as soon as practical for your situation.
*NAFTRA = North American Free Trade Act
** NAPCS = North American Product Classification System
Trade Show Safety Professionals
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