5514.0.55.001 - Australian System of Government Finance Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2005  
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Accrual basis of recording

A recording method in which revenues, expenses, lending and borrowing are recorded as they are earned, accrued or incurred regardless of when payment is made or received.


Instruments or entities over which ownership rights are enforced by institutional units and from which economic benefits may be derived by the assets’ owner by holding them, or using them, over a period of time.

Auxiliary financial services

Services that are closely related to, and designed to facilitate, financial intermediation but are not financial intermediation.

Balance sheet

A statement of an entity's financial position at a specific point in time. Contains information on assets, liabilities and owners' equity at a specific date.

Capital taxes

Taxes imposed at irregular and very infrequent intervals on the value of assets or net worth owned by institutional units, or on the values of assets transferred between institutional units.

Capital transfers

Transactions in which the ownership of an asset (other than cash and inventories) is transferred from one institutional unit to another, in which cash is transferred to enable the recipient to acquire another asset or in which the funds realised by the disposal of another asset are transferred.

Capitalised interest

Interest payable that is debited to an asset account and not expensed.


Notes and coin held, deposits at call with a bank or other financial institution, and highly liquid investments which are readily convertible to cash on hand at the investor's option.

Cash basis of recording

Basis of recording in which transactions are recorded only when cash receipts or payments occur and in which only cash flows are recorded.

Cash flow statement

The GFS financial statement that records cash flows from operating, investing and financing activities.

Central bank

The central bank is the public financial corporation which is a monetary authority; that is, which issues banknotes and coins and holds the international reserves of the country. In Australia, this is the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Central borrowing authority

A public financial corporation established by a state or territory government primarily to provide finance for public corporations and quasi-corporations and other units owned or controlled by the government, and to arrange investment of their surplus funds.

Change in inventories

The change in the value of inventories over the accounting period.

Change in net worth

The closing value of net worth minus the opening value of net worth.

Compensation of employees

The remuneration, in cash or in kind, payable by an enterprise to an employee in return for work done during the accounting period.


The process of elimination of all within-sector asset-liability positions, and all transactions between two units of the same sector. Consolidation can be applied to the statistics of any group of units of analytical interest.

Consumption of fixed capital

Consumption of fixed capital is the decline during the course of an accounting period in the value of fixed assets owned and used as a result of physical deterioration, normal obsolescence, or normal accidental damage. It is valued in the average prices of the period. To calculate consumption of fixed assets, the fixed assets purchased in the past and still in use have to be revalued at the average prices of the current period and assumptions have to be made regarding the remaining service lives of each asset and the rate at which their efficiency is expected to diminish.


Conditions that may affect the financial performance or position of the unit depending on the occurrence or non-occurrence of one or more future events.


The extent to which the defined scope of a statistical system is actually achieved in practice.


Accounting entry representing revenue, a decrease in an asset or an increase in a liability.

Current transfers

Amounts payable or receivable for current purposes for which no economic benefits are receivable or payable in return.


Accounting entry representing expense, an increase in an asset or a decrease in a liability.


The accounting process of systematically allocating the cost less estimated residual value of an asset over its expected useful life. Depreciation as recorded in government financial records may deviate considerably from consumption of fixed capital as depreciation is normally calculated using the original costs of fixed assets.


See ‘Financial derivatives’.

Economic flow

See ‘Flow’.

Economic territory

The geographic territory administered by a government within which persons, goods and capital circulate freely.

Economically significant prices

Prices that have a significant influence on the amount producers are willing to supply or purchasers wish to buy.

Economic stocks

See ‘Stocks’.

Economic type framework (ETF)

The Australian GFS classification used to classify economic flows and stocks according to their economic nature.

Enterprise group unit

A statistical unit comprising a group of legal entities under common ownership and control.

Enterprise unit

A statistical unit comprising all legal entities within an enterprise group that are classified to the same institutional subsector.

Equity assets

Financial claims on other entities entitling the holder to a share of the income of the entities and a right to a share of the residual assets of the entities should they be wound up.


Transactions that reduce net worth.


Transactions in which one unit provides goods, services, assets or labour to another unit and receives something in return of the same value.

Financial asset

An asset in the form of a financial claim on another economic unit, monetary gold or a statutory reserve deposit at the IMF.

Financial derivatives

Financial instruments that are linked to a specific financial instrument or indicator or commodity, and through which specific financial risks can be traded in financial markets in their own right.

Financial intermediation

A productive activity in which an institutional unit incurs liabilities on its own account for the purpose of acquiring financial assets by engaging in financial transactions on the market.

Financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM)

FISIM measures the service implicitly provided by financial intermediaries, such as banks, on deposit and loan facilities. It is measured as the difference between the interest rates on loans and deposits and a pure or reference rate of interest, multiplied by the level of loans and deposits, respectively.


Changes to financial assets, liabilities, shareholders’ funds or other contributed capital that arise from transactions; and, in the GFS cash flow statement, cash receipts or payments resulting from borrowing.

Fixed assets

Produced assets that are used repeatedly, or continuously, in processes of production for more than one year.


Flows are momentary expressions of economic actions engaged in by units and other events affecting the economic status of units that occur within an accounting period.

Functional classification

Classification of expenses and other transactions according to functions (e.g. health, education) of government (See also ‘Government purpose classification’).

General government sector

Institutional sector comprising all government units and non-profit institutions controlled and mainly financed by government.

Government final consumption expenditure

SNA93 concept that refers to government use of goods and services for the satisfaction of individual or collective human needs or wants.

Government purpose classification (GPC)

The GFS classification used to classify transactions according to their government purpose (e.g. health, education, defence).

Government units

Unique kinds of legal entities established by political processes which have legislative, judicial or executive authority over other institutional units within a given area and which: (i) provide goods and services to the community and/or individuals free of charge or at prices that are not economically significant; and (ii) redistribute income and wealth by means of taxes and other compulsory transfers.


All transfers other than subsidies.

Gross fixed capital formation

The value of acquisitions of new and existing produced assets, other than inventories, less the value of disposals of new or existing produced assets, other than inventories.

Gross operating balance

In the IMF GFS system, total revenue less all expenses except consumption of fixed capital.

Institutional sectors

The SNA groupings of all resident institutional units according to their institutional characteristics and functions. Five institutional sectors are recognised: the non-financial corporations sector, the financial corporations sector, the general government sector, the households sector and the non-profit institutions serving households sector.

Institutional unit

An economic entity that is capable, in its own right, of owning assets, incurring liabilities and engaging in economic activities and in transactions with other entities.

Intangible non-financial assets

Patents, copyrights, mineral concessions, and similar non-physical non-financial assets.


Form of property income earned by making financial assets available to other units which is equal to the amount the debtor becomes liable to pay to the creditor over a given period of time without reducing the amount of the principal outstanding.


Stocks of goods held that are intended for sale, use in production, or other use at a later date.


The public sector units over which the Commonwealth Government or an individual state or territory government has direct control or, in the case of local government authorities, the government which administers the legislation under which the authority was established.

Legal entity unit

A statistical unit covering all the operations in Australia of an entity that possesses some or all of the rights and obligations of individual persons or corporations or that behaves as such in respect of those matters of concern for economic statistics.

Level of government (LOG)

The classification comprising the three tiers of government (national, state and territory, local) for which Australia’s GFS are compiled.


Obligations to provide economic value to another economic unit, including the issued shares and other contributed capital of corporations and the net worth of quasi corporations.

Local level of government

The level of government of public sector units that have a local role or function i.e. the political authority underlying their functions is limited to a local government area or other region within a state or territory or the functions involve policies that are primarily of concern at a local level.

Market output

Output that is sold at economically significant prices.

Monetary gold

Gold owned by a country’s monetary authorities which is held as a financial asset and is a component of the country's foreign reserves.

Multi-jurisdictional unit

A unit for which jurisdiction is shared between two or more governments, or its classification to jurisdiction is otherwise unclear. The main type of units currently falling in this sector are public universities.

National level of government

The level of government of public sector units that have a national role or function, i.e. the political authority underlying their functions extends over the entire territory of Australia or the functions involve policies that are primarily of concern at a national level (i.e. the consolidated total of the Commonwealth level of government and all multi-jurisdictional units).

Net acquisition of non-financial assets

Gross fixed capital formation less depreciation plus change in inventories plus other transactions in non-financial assets.

Net assets

Total assets less total liabilities, shareholders’ funds and other contributed capital.

Net debt

Net debt, previously published in the now discontinued publication Public Sector Financial Assets and Liabilities, Australia (cat. no. 5513.0), is included in the balance sheet presentation for information. It is equal to (deposits held plus proceeds from advances plus borrowing) minus (cash and deposits plus investments plus advances outstanding).

Net financial worth

Net financial worth is equal to financial assets minus liabilities. It is a broader measure than net debt in that it incorporates provisions made (such as superannuation, but excluding depreciation and bad debts) as well as holdings of equity. Net financial worth includes all classes of financial assets and liabilities, only some of which are included in net debt.

Net lending/borrowing

The financing requirement of government, calculated as the GFS net operating balance less the net acquisition of non-financial assets. A positive result reflects a net lending position and a negative result reflects a net borrowing position.

Net operating balance

This is calculated as GFS revenue minus GFS expenses. It is equivalent to the change in net worth arising from transactions.


The process of deducting one set of stocks or flows from another and recording only the difference.

Net worth

Assets less liabilities and shares/contributed capital. For the general government sector, net worth is assets less liabilities since shares and contributed capital is zero. It is an economic measure of wealth and reflects the contribution of governments to the wealth of Australia.

Non-financial asset

Any asset that is not in the form of a financial claim on another economic unit, monetary gold or a statutory reserve deposit at the IMF.

Non-financial public sector

The Non-financial Public Sector is a subsector formed by the consolidation of the General Government and Public Non-financial Corporations sectors.

Non-market output

Goods and services that are supplied free or at prices that are not economically significant to other institutional units or the community as a whole.

Non-produced assets

Assets used for production that have not themselves been produced.

Non-profit institution

A legal or social entity that is created for the purpose of producing or distributing goods and services but is not permitted to be a source of income, profit or financial gain for the units that establish, control or finance it.

Operating statement

The Operating Statement presents details of transactions in GFS revenues, GFS expenses and the net acquisition of non-financial assets for an accounting period. GFS revenues are broadly defined as transactions that increase net worth and GFS expenses as transactions that decrease net worth. Net acquisition of non-financial assets equals gross fixed capital formation, less depreciation, plus changes in inventories plus other transactions in non-financial assets. Two key GFS analytical balances in the operating statement are GFS Net Operating Balance (NOB) and GFS Net Lending(+)/Borrowing(-).

Other changes in the volume of assets

Changes in the value of assets, liabilities and net worth arising from events other than transactions and revaluations.

Other economic flows

Changes in the volume or value of an asset or liability that do not result from transactions (i.e. revaluations and other changes in the volume of assets).


Goods and services that are produced within an establishment and become available for use outside that establishment.

Output produced for own final use

Output of goods and services to be retained for their own final use by the owners of the institutional units in which they are produced.

Produced assets

Non-financial assets that have come into existence as outputs of production processes.


Activity carried out under the control and responsibility of an institutional unit that uses inputs of labour, capital, and goods and services to produce outputs of goods and services.

Property expenses

Current expenses for the use financial assets or tangible non-produced assets such as land and sub-soil assets (e.g. interest, dividends, land rent).

Property income

Current income accrued from the ownership of financial assets or tangible non-produced assets such as land and sub-soil assets (e.g. interest, dividends, land rent).

Public corporations

Resident government controlled corporations and quasi-corporations that are created for the purpose of producing goods and services for the market and may be a source of profit or other financial gain to their owner(s).

Public financial corporations

Resident government controlled corporations and quasi-corporations mainly engaged in financial intermediation or provision of auxiliary financial services.

Public non-financial corporations

Resident government controlled corporations and quasi-corporations mainly engaged in the production of market goods and/or non-financial services.

Public sector

The combination of the general government sector, the public non-financial corporations and the public financial corporations.


An unincorporated enterprise that functions as if it were a corporation, has the same relationship with its owner as a corporation, and keeps a separate set of accounts.

Quasi-fiscal activities

Functions of governments performed by units outside the general government sector.


A form of property income and expense that refers to rent for the use of land and other non-produced assets.

Requited transactions

Transactions in which each transactor receives something of economic value.

Resident unit

A unit with a centre of economic interest in the economic territory of the country.


Changes to the value of assets, liabilities and equity arising from price changes, including exchange rate movements.


Transactions that increase net worth.


The group of statistical units that defines the intended boundary of a statistical system.


The profit earned by a government on the issue of coins and notes (i.e. the difference between the face value of coins and notes and the costs of their production).

Social benefits

In SNA93 and the IMF GFS system, current transfers (in cash or kind) to households to provide for needs arising from events such as sickness, unemployment, retirement, housing, education, or family circumstances.

Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)

International reserve assets created by the IMF and allocated to its members to supplement existing reserve assets.

State/territory level of government

The level of government of public sector units that have a state or territory role or function, i.e. the political authority underlying their functions is limited to a state or territory or the functions involve policies that are primarily of concern at a state or territory level.

Statement of stocks and flows

The GFS financial statement that records: (i) the opening balance sheet values of assets and liabilities; (ii) the changes to the assets and liabilities arising from transactions, revaluations and other volume changes; and (iii) the resultant closing balance sheet values of assets and liabilities.

Statistical units

Units about which statistics are tabulated, compiled or published.

Statutory authority

An entity established by the Australian Constitution or by an Act of Parliament of the Commonwealth or one of the states or territories.


An institutional unit’s assets, liabilities, shareholders’ funds and other contributed capital at a point in time.


Current transfers that government units make to enterprises either on the basis of the levels of their production activities or on the basis of the quantities or values of the goods or services that they produce, sell, or import.


Supplementary balance in the GFS cash flow statement that is derived as net cash flows from operating activities plus net cash from investments in non-financial assets less distributions paid less value of assets acquired under finance leases.


Compulsory, unrequited transfers to the general government sector.


Interactions between two institutional units by mutual agreement or actions within a unit that it is analytically useful to treat as transactions.


Transactions in which one unit provides goods, services, assets or labour to another unit and receives nothing in return.

Use of goods and services

In the IMF GFS system, the total value of goods and services used by the general government sector in production, including use of goods acquired for resale.


Produced assets that are not used primarily for purposes of production or consumption, but are held as stores of value over time.