In the present paper the influence of the reference system with regard to the characterization of the surface finishing is analyzed. The effect of the reference system's choice on the most representative surface finishing parameters (e.g. roughness average Ra and root mean square values Rq) is studied. The study can also be applied to their equivalent parameters in waviness and primary profiles. Based on ISO and ASME standards, three different types of regression lines (central, mean and orthogonal) are theoretically and experimentally analyzed, identifying the validity and applicability fields of each one depending on profile's geometry.