QUALITY DECLARATION - SUMMARY
Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth statistics are produced using information from a wide range of data sources. These include administrative data from various government organisations and ABS survey data. Typically, administrative data are collected for reasons other than statistical analysis, such as administration and enforcement of government policy. Data are extensively analysed by the ABS to ensure they are of appropriate quality for inclusion in ABS statistics.
For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.
The standards governing national accounts are agreed internationally and detailed in the "System of National Accounts 2008" (2008 SNA). 2008 SNA is endorsed by the five major international economic organisations: the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the OECD, the World Bank and the European Commission. The current complete version of 2008 SNA is available on–line: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/nationalaccount/sna2008.asp
The Australian national accounts differ from the recommendations in the 2008 SNA in certain cases where the data is not available to meet these requirements, or it is not considered appropriate to adhere to the standards. For more information on the differences between the Australian national accounts and the 2008 SNA please see Australian National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat no. 5216.0). In addition to 2008 SNA, the concepts employed include elements drawn from the classifications used in the International Monetary Fund's (IMF), sixth edition of the Balance of Payments Manual (BPM6), the IMF's Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001, and the IMF's Manual on Monetary and Financial Statistics 2000.
The quarterly Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth are compiled using data from three consecutive months (e.g January, February and March), with the stock levels compiled as at the last day of the quarter (e.g 31 March). The data is released on the last Thursday of the quarter following the reference period (e.g data for the March quarter will be released on the last Thursday of June).
The ABS uses several estimation methods to account for the less timely source data. Extrapolation methods are used to project particular series forward until survey or administrative results are available. Similarly, when data sources or data models provide data on a less frequent basis than quarterly, data are interpolated between periods to obtain sufficiently frequent estimates.
Accuracy remains the main focus of ABS quality control. However, in the case of the national accounts, it is recognised internationally that an objective accuracy measure in the sense of proximity to the ‘true value’ is impossible to produce. The national accounts are a highly complex set of economic statistics. They combine a very large number of internal and external data sources to derive the estimates in this release. Given the variety of data used, and the transformations and aggregations used in the national accounts process, an assessment of accuracy is necessarily subjective and indirect. It involves an assessment of the national accounts process, the input data and the transformations used to produce the national accounts. The ABS aims to achieve best practice in each of these facets of national accounts compilation.
Sound data collection and methodological systems, conformity to international standard frameworks and the use of analytical tools all contribute to high quality outputs. The ABS ensures that survey based information are designed, tested and evaluated to a high quality standard. Some of these survey based data together with administrative data collected by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) are used in the compilation of Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth. Of particular importance are the ABS Survey of Financial Information (SFI) and the Survey of International Investment (SII), both of which are conducted quarterly. Generally, data based on administrative data sources are subject to classification, processing, coverage and timing adjustments and modelling as appropriate. Where possible, data are validated against independent sources both within the ABS and externally to ensure significant transactions are reflected appropriately.
The ABS publishes large amounts of data on many aspects of the economy. Significant amount of the data used to compile Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth are from administrative data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), ABS Survey of Financial Information (SFI) and the ABS Survey of International Investment (SII), and are therefore consistent with the published information in the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (cat. no. 5302.0) and Managed Funds, Australia (cat no. 5655.0). While there may be, for example some differences in data classifications, there are formal processes in place to ensure that the staff from areas providing data and national accounts staff, come to a common view of the statistical treatment of current economic events.
Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth statistics are also consistent and reconcilable with external data sources such as the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) market capitalisation, Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM) data (e.g. government bond issuances) and Reserve Bank bulletin tables (e.g. components of credit aggregates).
In concept, the net lending/borrowing derived from the capital account is identical to the change in financial position derived from the financial account. However, in practice, this equality is rarely achieved and the extent to which the measures are different is represented in the item 'net errors and omissions'. On a sectoral basis, the ABS maintains net errors and omissions close to zero for the national general government and rest of the world sectors.
Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth contains capital accounts and financial profiles of each sector and some sub-sectors of the economy and the market for each conventional financial instrument. There are tables showing intersectoral financial transactions and measures of sectoral financial surpluses and deficits. Analysis and commentary is also included with each publication to provide more information and discussion of the estimates. For further information, please refer to Australian National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0).
Comprehensive quarterly Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth statistics are available free of charge from the ABS website. The publication is available in web format only along with time series spreadsheets for major data series. The ABS website contains analysis of the latest data and supporting graphs and charts.
For links to all national accounts related data and publications, recent national accounts changes and forthcoming events, relevant websites and a range of other information about the Australian National Accounts, please see the link under National Statistics on the left hand side of the ABS homepage <www.abs.gov.au>.
The Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth tables in Excel spreadsheets can be downloaded from the 'Downloads' tab on this page.