APPENDIX 1 AUSTRALIAN UNITS MODEL
1 The ABS reviewed its units model in 2012. The first review was done in 2000 in response to major taxation reforms which had implications for the availability and use of tax information in economic statistics. The review aimed to ensure that the definition of the new units model:
2 The ABS released two information papers on these issues: ABS Statistics and The New Tax System (cat. no. 1358.0), released in April 2000, and Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from The New Tax System] (cat. no. 1372.0), released in May 2002.
- met 1993 SNA and ABS national accounting requirements;
- produced homogeneous industry data at the two digit ANZSIC level;
- allowed for the appropriate treatment of ancillary units;
- allowed for the correct application of ABS classifications to units;
- reflected reporting structures used by units with statutory obligations (e.g. banks); and
- defined units suitable for activity (e.g. agriculture) and labour collections (a state-based unit).
3 The ABS uses the Australian Business Register (ABR) as its primary source to identify new businesses and this information flows through to the ABS Business Register. The ABS Business Register is used primarily as a register or frame for the various business surveys run by the ABS.
4 Businesses are included on the ABR when they register with the Australian Tax Office for an Australian Business Number (ABN). The Commonwealth Government requires all government departments and agencies to make use of the ABR to reduce businesses' reporting load to government, and to use the ABN as the primary reference number for all dealings between government and business.
ABS UNITS MODEL
5 The units model used by the ABS in determining the structure of businesses is consistent with Australia's Corporations Law and with the definition of institutional units recommended by 1993 SNA. The model consists of the enterprise group (EG), one or more enterprises (ENs) and one or more type of activity units (TAUs). The EN is comprised of one or more legal entities (LEs). The EG, EN and LE are institutional units and the TAU is a producing unit.
6 ENs and TAUs, which are the main institutional and producing units used by the ABS to produce its statistical outputs, do not have a universal relationship with each other, e.g. one to one, one to many, many to one. A variety of relationships exist in some of the larger and more complex Australian enterprise groups. The ABS units model does not impose a particular type of relationship on these units for statistical purposes.
7 This is a limited departure from the 1993 SNA, which states that there is a hierarchical relationship between institutional and producing units. The 1993 SNA states that 'an institutional unit contains one or more entire establishments' and that 'an establishment belongs to one and only one institutional unit'. While many ENs consist of one or more TAUs, there are some cases where this does not occur. In these cases, the 1993 SNA statement is still true at the EG level, but not at the EN level.
8 Diagram 1 illustrates the nature of the relationships between the main unit types in the model. The LE is represented by the ABN in the diagram, as they are usually the same.
9 For statistical purposes, a legal entity is defined as a unit covering all the operations in Australia of an entity which possesses some or all of the rights and obligations of individual persons or corporations, or which behaves as such in respect of those matters of concern for economic statistics. Examples of legal entities include companies, partnerships, trusts, sole (business) proprietorships, government departments and statutory authorities. Legal entities are institutional units.
Diagram 1: ABS Units Model
10 The enterprise group is an institutional unit covering all the operations in Australia of one or more legal entities under common ownership and/or control. It covers all the operations in Australia of legal entities which are related in terms of the current Corporations Law (as amended by the Corporations Legislation Amendment Act 1991). These may be legal entities, such as trusts and partnerships, as well as companies. Majority ownership is not required for control to be exercised.
11 The enterprise is an institutional unit comprising a single legal entity, or a grouping of legal entities, within an enterprise group, classifiable to the same institutional subsector, as per the Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA). In general, an enterprise will equate to a single entity, except where groupings of entities align with legal reporting units suitable for ABS purposes e.g. units regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA). Separate entities can be grouped for statistical reporting purposes to form a single enterprise provided they are in the same SISCA subsector and conform to all data collection requirements.
Type of activity unit
12 The type of activity unit is a producing unit comprising one or more business entities, sub-entities or branches of a business entity that can report production and employment activities via a minimum set of data items. The activity of the unit should be as homogeneous as possible. If accounts sufficient to approximate Industry Value Added (IVA) are available at the ANZSIC Subdivision level, a TAU will be formed. Where a business cannot supply adequate data to form a TAU for an individual ANZSIC Subdivision, a TAU will be formed which contains activity in two or more ANZSIC Subdivisions.
13 In its simplest form, the TAU relates to a business' ABN. However, in the case of complex and varied business structures, it may be inappropriate for the TAU to be created to refer to the ABN.
14 Ideally, all TAUs are constructed so that two digit ANZSIC homogeneity is observed. This ensures that good quality industry estimates can be calculated by the ABS at that level. However, not all businesses are able to supply a complete set of accounts for every ANZSIC Subdivision in which they have activity.
15 Only a small number of data items are required to be available on a quarterly basis. The data items are total capital expenditure, income from the sale of goods and services, wages and salaries, total inventories and total purchases and selected expenses. Where not all of these data items are available from business accounts, a TAU can still be formed if careful estimates can be provided.
16 Where businesses cannot provide the necessary data for separate activities, and if separate activities are being carried out at a significant level (in relation to the known/estimated activity of those industries), the TAU may be a candidate for unit splitting.
17 If it is decided to split the TAU for statistical purposes, two or more new TAUs are formed as the statistical units and the former TAU becomes the reporting unit i.e. data will be reported by the former TAU for its multiple activities and the ABS will apportion it to the new split TAUs for statistical outputs. The estimates for the split units will be produced using benchmarks determined at the time of splitting.
TAU State unit
18 TAUs are not created based on any geographic criteria. However, it is necessary to create special state and territory units for some TAUs in order to accommodate state estimates in labour and some other statistics. This unit is referred to as the TAU State. The TAU State is not stored as a specific unit on the ABS Business Register. Rather, information which allows the TAU State unit to be formed is stored.
19 A business unit's productive activity is described as ancillary when its sole function is to provide common types of services for intermediate consumption within the same enterprise group. These are typically services likely to be needed in most enterprise groups, whatever their principal activities e.g. transportation, purchasing, sales and marketing, various financial or business services, personnel, computing and communications, security, maintenance and cleaning.
20 The 1993 SNA treatment of ancillary units is that they should be classified to the subdivision of the units they serve i.e. receive a 'reflected' industry code. The ABS does not currently apply the recommended 1993 SNA treatment to ancillary TAUs, as the treatment cannot be applied to all units on the ABS Business Register.
21 Location or farm information is important for the compilation of statistics on agricultural activity. Agricultural units are placed in the ABS Business Register if they have more than one farm. The necessary location information is stored on the ABS Business Register against the unit with the agricultural activity. When an agriculture frame is created, the location information is used to create 'farm units' for selection in agricultural surveys. In these cases, the TAU will have more than one 'farm unit' associated with it.
Classification of units
22 ANZSIC codes are reflected from the TAU level to the ENs within a group, and to the EG, but are generally not used in any statistical sense above the TAU level. A high degree of caution needs to be exercised in analysing EN and EG related data classified by ANZSIC. This is because the higher level units do not always correspond to an aggregation of one or more producing units, and because the set of activities performed are often too heterogeneous to assign to a single industry, however broadly defined.
23 The ABS uses the TAU unit as its producing unit to collect industry and some other economic statistics. The unit used is sometimes simply referred to as the TAU/ABN unit. For some activity and labour collections, the ABS uses sub-TAU units e.g. farm units, TAU State units.