QUALITY DECLARATION - SUMMARY
Australian National Accounts, Financial Accounts 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 Information Paper: Implementation of new international statistical standards in ABS National and International Accounts, September 2009 (cat. no. 5310.0.55.002).
There are significant conceptual differences between the 1993 SNA version and the 2008 SNA Australian Financial Accounts (see Information Paper: Product changes to Financial Accounts following revisions to international standards, 2009 (cat. no. 5232.0.55.003). The dataset has been converted to 2008 SNA and backcast to June quarter 1988 (stocks data) and September quarter 1988 (transactions data). 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 most significant change from 1993 SNA to 2008 SNA version has been the expansion to the instruments, sectoral classification applicable to Financial Corporations and the inclusion of reinvested earnings of Investments Funds. The sectoral changes have been adapted to Australian conditions in the Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA), 2008 (cat. no. 1218.0).
The quarterly Australian Financial Accounts is released towards the end of the quarter following the reference quarter. The main data sources for levels (stock) and transactions (flow) provide timely information relating to the latest quarter.
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.
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 information collected by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) are used in the compilation of the Financial Accounts. Of particular importance are the Survey of Financial Information (SFI) and the Survey of International Investment (SII), both of which are conducted quarterly. In the Financial Accounts, there are two parties to financial transactions. As such, a choice is often possible because different data sources provide alternative or counterpart measures of the same item.
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.
Despite the quality assurance undertaken, the data may not be completely accurate for a number of reasons such as when estimates are derived from a sample survey and administrative data sources where the whole population is not enumerated. Estimation methods are applied to incomplete source data.
The ABS publishes large amounts of data on many aspects of the economy. As some of the data are used to compile the Financial Accounts, it is therefore broadly consistent with the published information, for example the international investment position as published in the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (cat. no. 5302.0).
The coherence with other published data is presented in the flow of funds matrix, which brings together the capital and financial accounts. 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 general government and rest of the world sectors.
Financial Accounts 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).
The Financial Accounts contains financial profiles of each sub-sector 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 Explanatory Notes in Australian National Accounts: Financial Accounts (cat. no. 5232.0).
Comprehensive quarterly Financial Accounts statistics are available free of charge from the ABS website. The publication is available in pdf format along with time series spreadsheets for major data series. The publication and ABS website contain 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 National Accounts Topics @ a Glance.
The Financial Accounts tables in Excel spreadsheets can be downloaded from the 'Downloads' tab on this page.