The Datatree costing project in Wales has provided the Welsh pathology laboratories with a standard costing package that allows pathologists to understand how their own laboratory's test costs are compiled. The software provides answers to the question "what if? ..." and shows instantly the effect of salary or consumable cost alterations. Resource management at a laboratory level is enhanced by a greater knowledge of costs, particularly in relation to volumes of work. Perhaps this is one of the stepping-stones across the river to the "open market." In the United Kingdom NHS any information of this kind must be regarded as invaluable.