Although the relevance and importance of quality assurance and quality control in radiotherapy is generally accepted, only recently, methods for monitor unit (MU) calculation and verification have been addressed in recognized recommendations, published by the European Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology (ESTRO) and by the Netherlands Commission on Radiation Dosimetry (Dutreix A, Bjärngard BE, Bridier A, Mijnheer B, Shaw JE, Svensson H. Monitor unit calculation for high-energy photon beams. Physics for clinical radiotherapy. ESTRO Booklet No. 3. Leuven: Garant, 1997; Netherlands Commission on Radiation Dosimetry (NCS). Determination and use of scatter correction factors of megavoltage photon beams. NCS report 12. Deift: NCS, 1998). Both documents are based on the same principles: (i) the separation of the output factor into a head and a volume (or phantom) scatter component; (ii) the use of a so-called mini-phantom to measure and verify the head scatter component; and (iii) the recommendation to use a single reference depth of 10 cm for all photon beam qualities. However, there are substantial differences between the approach developed in the IAEA-ESTRO task group and the NCS approach for MU calculations, which might lead to confusion and/or misinterpretation if both reports are used simultaneously or if data from the NCS report is applied in the algorithms of the ESTRO report without careful consideration. The aim of the present paper is to discuss and to clearly point out these differences (e.g. field size definitions, phantom scatter parameters, etc.). Additionally, corresponding quantities in the two reports are related where possible and several aspects concerning the use of a mini-phantom (e.g. size, detector position, composition) are addressed.