Modern remote sensing provides cost-efficient spatial digital data that are more accurate than before. However, the influence of increased accuracy and cost-efficiency on simulations of forest management planning has not been evaluated. The aim of the present study was to analyse the effect of data acquisition accuracy on standwise forest inventory by comparing the accuracy and cost of traditional compartmentwise inventory methods with 2D and 3D measurements of digital aerial photographs and airborne laser scanning. Comparison was based on the expected net present value (NPV), i.e. economic losses that consisted of the inventory costs and incorrect timings of treatments. The reference data, totalling 700 ha, were measured from Central Park in the city of Helsinki, Finland. The data were simulated to final cut with a MOTTI simulator, which is a stand-level analysis tool that can be used to assess the effects of alternative forest management practices on growth and timber yield. The results showed that when inventory costs were not considered there were no significant differences between the expected NPV losses in 3D measurements of digital aerial photographs, laser scanning and the compartmentwise method. When inventory costs were taken into account, the compartmentwise method was still the most efficient inventory method in the study area. Forest inventories, however, are usually directed to larger areas when the costs per hectare of remote-sensing methods decrease. As a result of better accuracies, 3D and compartmentwise methods always produce better results than the 2D method when NPV losses are accounted. Simulations of this type are based on the accuracies and costs of the 3D data available today, assuming that the data can be used in tree-level measurements.