Survey Participant Information - Economic Activity Survey - Administrative and Support Services

ECONOMIC ACTIVITY SURVEY - ADMINISTRATIVE AND SUPPORT SERVICES

Welcome to the help page for the Economic Activity Survey - Administrative and Support Services 2016-17.

If you have received a survey form, your business has been selected this year to represent your industry, irrespective of business type (including not-for-profit organisations) or the size of the business. Small businesses have different characteristics from large and medium size businesses and make an important contribution to the Australian economy. The data you provide in the survey will contribute to the compilation of Australian National Accounts including Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures.

For general information about participation in business surveys please see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and for assistance with using the online survey form, please see eSurvey - Help.

This help page includes the following sections:

  • General Information
  • Employment
  • Income Items
  • Expense Items
  • Inventories
  • Capital Expenditure and Disposal of Assets
  • Multi-state Operations
  • Checklist.


GENERAL INFORMATION

The questions have been tailored to capture industry specific items; however, not all the information referenced below is relevant to all businesses completing the Economic Activity Survey - Administrative and Support Services 2016-17.

Only include information for the business named at the start of the survey.

What should I report if my business does not engage in administrative and support services?

If your business does not engage in administrative and support services, you will still be required to complete the survey. Some of the tailored questions will not be relevant to your business and these can be left blank. For most sections of the survey, there is a response option for 'Other' and you will be able to report your information here. You will still have to specify the nature of these 'Other' items. There is also a comments section at the end of the survey which you may wish to use to provide further details about your business.

What should I do if I cannot report at the necessary level of detail for some survey items?

The ABS requires information that is as accurate as possible. The information supplied by your business is used to produce estimates for all businesses within the same industry operating in Australia. The more accurate the figures you supply, the more accurate the estimates will be. However, if accurate data is not readily available, careful estimates will be accepted.


EMPLOYMENT

How should I report employment?

Employment
is a headcount of all persons who worked for the business as proprietors, partners, salaried directors or other employees in the last pay period ending in June 2017. You should report for the last pay period ending in June 2017 even if this is not the last pay period in your financial reporting year.

Working proprietors and partners

If you are the owner-operator or partner of an unincorporated business, include yourself (and other partners) under Working proprietors and partners. Salaried directors of Pty Ltd companies should not be counted as working proprietors, but should be includedas Salaried directors. Non salaried directors are excluded and should not be counted in Employment.

Other employees

This is a headcount of all persons who worked for the business and were paid through the payroll in the last pay period ending in June 2017 excluding salaried directors for incorporated businesses or working proprietors and partners for unincorporated businesses.

What about persons working for the business under contract?
  • Contractors and subcontractors who are other businesses, (i.e. have their own ABN and are paid on a fee for service or commission only basis), should not be counted in Employment.
  • If the business paid another business for contract staff, and those persons were on the payroll of the other business, they should not be counted in Employment.
  • Persons employed on a fixed-term contract, e.g. temporary staff, should be included in Other employees, only if they were paid through the payroll in the last pay period of June 2017 and Pay As You Go (PAYG) tax was deducted for them.

INCOME ITEMS

What should be reported as Income from services?

Generally, payment received for the provision of any services, regardless of whether they are a primary or secondary activity of the business, should be reported in the relevant Income from services category. This includes contract, subcontract and commission income. Examples of Income from services that might be directly asked include:
  • Employment placement and recruitment services
  • Call centre operations
  • Office administrative services
  • Travel agency and tour arrangement services
  • Building and other industrial cleaning services
  • Packaging services

What if I cannot split income across the different types of services and products asked?

If you are unable to split the income from your business across the different types of services and products asked, please record a careful estimate. For example, many businesses generate income from a full line offering of services (including the on-selling of hardware, equipment and machinery) which may be recorded on a business segment, project or contract basis. Careful estimates from management accounts are accepted.

If you are still having difficulty in assigning income across the different services, please report against the primary nature of the service your business provides. For example, if a building cleaning business is engaged primarily for cleaning, but they also offer gardening services, but cannot split the two income streams, then the business should report against the primary service and note this in the comments section at the end of the survey.

If the relevant income from services category is not listed on your form, please include and detail the income from this activity in Income from other services.

What is the difference between Sales of goods produced and Sales of goods not produced?

Sales of goods produced occur when the business that sells a good is the same business which undertook production of the good, or had the good produced for it by a third party on a contract, sub-contract or commission basis.
Sales of goods not produced are those goods the business purchased ready-made, then resold without making changes to the goods. Both wholesale and retail sales of goods should be reported here.

Note: If this business had instead provided a customised packaging solution, this income would be included in the appropriate Income from services category. For businesses within the packaging industries, this income would be included in packaging services; for other businesses, this income would be included in Income from other services.

What should I report in Other income?

The Other income question is designed for providers to report the effects of all non-operating items in their Income Statement. Both profit and loss effects should be included from items such as equity investments, variations in exchange rates and sales of other assets. Asset revaluations should be reported under Other income as either a net gain or loss.

How to report income from various sources/activities? Although this list is not exhaustive, it does address some of the common reporting problems encountered by businesses.

Commissions and rebates: Income received from commissions and rebates based on volume sale incentives for accommodation and travel bookings should be reported as overriding commissions income.

For example, a travel agent business has an airfare allocation of 20,000 seats with an airline. The business has an agreement with the airline that if they sell all of their allocation within the reporting period they receive 500 seats at no cost. If this happens, the sale of these seats are considered a rebate and should be reported by the business as overriding commission income.

Government funding: Any income received through government funding (e.g. Job Active, apprenticeship and traineeship schemes, funding for training) should be reported as Funding from federal, state and/or local government. This question is split to allow reporting for funding for operational costs (e.g. wages and salaries, rent and food) and funding provided for specific capital items.

Progress payments billed on long term contracts: Where a business has entered into a long term contract to supply goods or services, and recognises expenses and progress payments in its accounts, the progress payments should be reported as Sales of goods or Income from services, depending on the nature of the contract.

Sponsorship income: Sponsorship is not considered the same as a donation, as it involves a transaction, usually advertising or promotional benefits for the individual or business making the payment. It should therefore be reported as Income from other services, unlike donations, which are reported as Other income.

How do I report the number of employment placements during the reporting period?

This question seeks information on the number of permanent and temporary/contract job vacancies filled by a business for another in exchange for income.

Figures reported should be the total number of placements (persons) for the reporting period. If this data or the finer split is unavailable, please provide a careful estimate using your best judgement.

How do I report the percentage split of my businesses top methods of sale?

This question seeks information on businesses method of sale - online, telephone or in-store. If this data or the finer split is unavailable, please provide a careful estimate using your best judgement.

What if I don't know who my main client industry is by income?

There are two questions that seek information on the key buying markets for your business.

First the percentage of income items reported split by three client sectors is required.
    The next question requires a further percentage split of income items generated from Australian private businesses only. This is a further breakdown by client industry of the figure reported in part (a) of the question above. Your business/organisation has most likely not generated income from all the industries listed under this question, please only report for those client industries that are relevant. If a client industry of your business is not on the list please write this into the other field.

    For these questions please record a careful estimate of your sales and services income by client sector and industry (both totals should equal 100%). If you encounter difficulty, you may look at your businesses top 10 income generating clients and use this to guide your response.

    Example: A labour supply business services a number of industries and is unsure how to report to this question. The businesses top 10 income generating clients include four construction, four mining, and two retail businesses. Using this intelligence, the business estimate their client industries as being construction (40%), mining and resources (40%) and retail and wholesale (20%).


    EXPENSE ITEMS

    How should I report Labour costs?

    Labour costs do not include payments to contractors or sub-contractors operating under their own ABN. Information on Payments to contractors can be found under How should I report payments made to contractors and other businesses for services?

    Payments made to another (related or unrelated) business for the supply of staff on a fee or contract basis, where the staff entitlements are paid by the business supplying the employees, should be recorded in the Labour Costs question Payments to other businesses/organisations (e.g. employment agencies) for staff. Payment to another business for recruitment services (i.e. advertising vacancies, conducting interviews) on behalf of your business should also be included in Payments to other businesses/organisations (e.g. employment agencies) for staff. However, any costs incurred by your business in the conduct of its own recruitment processes (e.g. payment directly to newspapers for running job vacancy advertisements) should be reported in Other operating expenses.

    Employer contributions paid into superannuation should not include personal superannuation contributions for business owners not drawing a wage.

    Payroll tax
    is levied by State/Territory governments on businesses with large payrolls (usually greater than $0.5 million for the year). It does not refer to income tax withholding for employees.

    Wages and salaries including provisions for employee entitlements
    - gross (i.e. before tax) wages and salaries should be reported.
    Capitalised wages and salaries (i.e. wages and salaries for work relating to the creation of capital assets) should not be included in Labour costs but instead at Capitalised wages and salaries.

    How should I report payments made to contractors, subcontractors and consultants?

    Reporting of payments to contractors, subcontractors and consultants depends on the type of service contracted and how the contractors are paid. To identify these workers, consider that contractors, subcontractors and consultants are not employees of your business and therefore do not receive a payment summary.

    The following are examples of how some commonly incurred expenses should be reported:
    • When a contractor or subcontractor who has their own business, and therefore their own ABN, is paid for purchased services (e.g. building cleaning services), these payments should be reported in Payments made to contractors, subcontractors and consultants. This includes contractors paid on invoice.
    • Where a business hires staff from an employment agency or labour hire firm, and payments made to this business for the supply of staff are on a fee or contract basis, then these payments should be reported in Labour costs under Payments to other businesses/organisations for staff.
    • Payments made to contracted and owner drivers to transport goods, equipment and other assets on behalf of this business/organisation should be reported in Freight and cartage expenses.
    • Payments to businesses for general services should be included in the relevant expense item, if available (e.g. Travel, accommodation and entertainment expenses). Otherwise, they should be included in Other operating expenses.
    • Capitalised contractor payments should be reported in Other capitalised costs.

    How should I report Purchases?

    If a good is purchased to be used or consumed in the production of goods or services (including office consumables) or for repairs and maintenance of equipment, its cost should be reported as Purchases of materials, components, containers, packaging materials, electricity, fuels and water.

    If the same good is purchased simply to be on-sold in the same form (without transformation), its cost should be reported as Purchases of finished goods for resale. Note: In the context of selling finished goods, Purchases (expenses) are not the same as cost of goods sold. Purchases represent the amount actually expended by the business in the reporting period. Cost of goods sold, which is not collected in this form, represents the amount expended only on goods actually sold in the reporting period (cost of goods sold is equal to purchases plus opening inventories minus closing inventories).

    Purchases of materials that have been capitalised i.e. purchases made to create capital assets, should not be reported here. Instead, they should be reported in Capitalised expenditure including cost of capital assets developed in-house by employees of this business/organisation.

    Where do I report my specific expense item?

    Although this list is not exhaustive, it does address some of the common reporting problems encountered by businesses:

    Travel, accommodation and entertainment expenses include payments the business made for for airline tickets, accommodation, meals and other hospitality purchases while travelling.

    Advertising, marketing and promotion expenses include payments to advertising agencies and payments made directly to the media for the sale of advertising time and space. It also includes attendance at conferences for the purposes of business promotion, printed advertising materials (e.g. brochures, displays) and online advertising (e.g. placing job advertisements on a online job board). It does not include the wages and salaries of advertising and marketing staff employed by the business; these should be included in Labour costs.

    Consumables: the purchase of consumables required for the delivery of services such as cleaning materials (e.g. paper towel, toilet paper, bin liners) should be reported as Purchases of materials, components, containers and packaging materials, electricity, fuels and water.

    Rent, leasing and hiring expenses includes those expenses incurred in the running of the business, such as:
    • The rent paid for business premises such as a building, distribution centre or studio facility;
    • Operating lease payments such as those made for a motor vehicle used by the business;
    • Transport charter for tours (e.g. boat, coach);

    If vehicles, machinery or equipment are hired with an operator or crew, it should be reported in the appropriate expense item as it is a service expense.

    Discounts/Rebates given: Discounts or rebates given by your business to its customers should not be reported as an expense item, but should be netted off the income item to which the discount/rebate applied, e.g. Sales of goods or Income from other services.

    Royalties expenses refer to expenses incurred from the use of rights or intellectual property of another business or individual. This includes payments under licensing arrangements, payments for the use of patents and copyrights, and franchise fees.

    Finance lease payments: When an asset, e.g. company car, is acquired under a finance lease arrangement, the value of the acquisition should be included in Capital expenditure. If any work is undertaken by own employees of this business to install any asset acquired under a financial lease to make it operational, please include the cost of this work within Capital expenditure and Cost of capital assets developed in-house by employees of this business/organisation (if applicable). Repayments under a finance lease agreement consist of two components: interest and capital repayments. Capital repayments should not be reported in this form. The interest component only should be included in Interest expenses.

    Motor vehicle insurance premiums:
    • Optional third party insurance premiums, payable at the discretion of the business, should be included in Insurance premiums.
    • Compulsory third party insurance premiums, payable as part of the vehicle registration process should be included in Other operating expenses.

    Sponsorship payments are not considered the same as a donation, as it involves a transaction, usually advertising or promotional benefits for the individual or business making the payment. It should therefore be reported as Other operating expenses, whereas donations are excluded altogether.


    INVENTORIES

    How should I report inventories?

    Inventories are divided into three sections: Raw materials, Work in progress and Finished goods.
    • Raw materials consist of goods that a business holds with the intention of using to produce other goods or in rendering services. For example, paper supplies for use in printing newspapers (good produced) or raw food to make a meal (provide a service).
    • Work in progress consists of goods that still require work to reach the condition they are to be sold in, such as partially assembled machinery. The value of work in progress inventories should be reported net of progress payments billed.
    • Finished goods consist of goods that are to be sold in their current condition, including goods for resale.

    Inventories do not include depreciable assets of the business. These should be reported in Capital expenditure and Disposal of assets.


    CAPITAL EXPENDITURE AND DISPOSAL OF ASSETS

    How should I report capital expenditure?


    Capital expenditure and disposal of assets

    Capital expenditure
    refers to the amount spent by a business in the current reporting period on the acquisition of non-current assets. It can be considered the amount spent to purchase or upgrade productive assets like buildings or machinery to increase the business’ capacity or efficiency. If the business hires contractors to carry out capital work, then these contractor payments should be included in the cost of the capital works. It does not include additions to inventories.

    Additions
    : represents the expenditure on assets on an accruals basis, further to this you are required to report any Capital Work in Progress (CWIP) values against the relevant asset, as best as you possibly can.
    This survey aims to capture the activity and production in the economy as it is happening rather than when the asset is capitalised.

    Disposals
    : Refers to the sale of the asset to another individual or business. It can also include the discarding of an asset. For survey purposes we only require businesses to report the proceeds from sales of the assets.
    The examples against each asset are intended to give an indication of the nature of assets a business may have to report in each category however it is not an exhaustive list. Further examples for each asset type can be found below.

    Land
    : purchases or acquisition of land.

    Dwellings, other buildings and structures
    :
    • Dwellings: used entirely as residences including structures such as garages, and all permanent fixtures customarily installed in residences.
    • Other buildings and structures: comprise of non-residential buildings, other structures and land improvements. These may include things such as highways, roads, airfield runways, bridges, tunnels, subways, harbours, dams and other water works, pipelines, communication and power lines, constructions for mining and manufacturing, warehouses and industrial or commercial buildings. Leasehold improvements that alter and improve the structure and value of the building should be included here (this does not include things such as painting and carpet additions but refers more to structural changes).

    Machinery & Equipment
    Road vehicles
    : this category is for vehicles that are primarily to be used on the road such as cars, trucks, motorcycles and utes.

    Other transport vehicles and equipment
    : this category consists of equipment and vehicles for moving people and objects. This may include items such as trailers, semi-trailers, ships, railway and tramway locomotives, rolling stock and aircraft.

    Industrial machinery and equipment
    : whilst some items within this category may be mobile and capable of transporting people or goods, their primary business function is for use in the production of goods and/or services which is why they fall under this category. Additional items that could be included are:
    • engines and turbines
    • pumps, compressors, hydraulic power engines
    • lifting and handling equipment
    • machine tools and accessories (Hand tools, tools customarily in a workshop)
    • equipment for food, beverage preparation
    • point of sale terminals, booking systems
    • industrial cooking appliances
    • domestic appliances for production purposes
    • climate control systems and other equipment used in core production.

    Electrical machinery and electronic equipment
    : this may include things such as electrical generators and motors, electrical transformers, static converters and inductors, electricity distribution or control apparatus, lighting equipment, electrical ignition or starting equipment, and electrical signalling equipment.

    Communications equipment
    : this may include things such as radio broadcast and television receivers, video and digital cameras, microphones, loudspeakers, amplifiers.

    Other plant and equipment
    : consists of machinery and equipment not elsewhere classified, this may include items such as office furniture and fencing materials.

    Information Technology
    Computer hardware
    : this may include things such as, hard drives, monitor screens, mouses, keyboards, printers, scanners, automatic data processing machines, and sound/video and/or network cards.

    Computer software
    : any software that may be installed in the businesses systems that enable it to operate more efficiently such as Microsoft suite, financial systems, software that operates large machinery etc.

    Computer software purchased from another business/organisation: any software that has been purchased from another business to be installed on computers used by your staff to enable them to operate and perform their work.
    Computer software developed in
    -house by employees of this business: any software that may have been developed for use by employees of your business.

    Intangibles
    : This may include items such as trademarks, mastheads, spectrums, company brand, customer bases, licenses, patents and goodwill etc.

    What is the cost of capital assets developed in-house by employees of this business/organisation?

    This question aims to capture the extra layer of production in the economy that might never be exchanged in the market. Activity reported here is a subset of that reported at Capital expenditure (and therefore should not exceed it).

    Example: if your staff develop a new piece of software that improves the efficiency and the production process of your business but is only used in-house and never sold to another business, then the cost of this production activity needs to be reported under the Cost of capital assets developed in-house by employees of this business/organisation question. For our survey purposes, we want to know the wages and salaries of employees of your business that contribute to the development, building, construction and/or creation of the asset (including any additional ‘on-costs’ such as Fringe Benefits Tax, workers compensation, superannuation) that is used exclusively for business purposes (not for resale). This is deemed to be capitalised wages and salaries.

    Another example may be an employee of your business who is tasked with project managing the building and construction of an asset. Whilst they aren’t actually involved in the physical build of the asset, their insight and involvement is integral to the completion of the asset and as a result their wages are deemed as ‘capitalised wages’. The other capital costs such as hiring contractors and the materials purchased to build the asset would be deemed as ‘other capitalised costs’.

    'Other capitalised costs’
    may include both capitalised services and capitalised goods used as inputs to assist in the building and development of the asset. For example if an upgrade or improvement to an existing building or infrastructure such as a road was project managed in-house then the cost of any goods or materials used and/or contractors undertaking the work would need to be reported in Other capitalised costs with the wages of the employees project managing reported under Capitalised wages and salaries.


    MULTI-STATE OPERATIONS

    How do I report income from sales of goods and services by state?
    Income from sales of goods and services should be reported against the state or territory where the sale was made or the service was provided. For export sales, report against the state or territory from which the sale was made.


    CHECKLIST

    The purpose of this checklist is to assist you, if you wish, to check the information which you have supplied in the form before submitting it to ABS. Use of the checklist may reduce the need for us to contact you with further enquiries. The points covered reflect some of the most common reporting errors.

    Employment
    • Are the reported numbers a headcount of persons working for the business? (Should not be FTE.)
    • Have you reported only those who worked for the business in the last pay period ending in June 2017?
    • Working proprietors and partners should only be reported for an unincorporated business, not if the business is incorporated (e.g. Pty Ltd).
    • If the business had offices/locations with staff in more than one state or territory, does the total for Australia equal both the sum of components and Total number of persons?

    Financial information
    • Are all reported financial items reported in $'000s ( thousands)? For example, if business income for the year were $123,456, it should be reported as 123 on the survey.
    • Have income items been properly split into detailed services and goods categories?
    • Have you provided a percentage split of sales and service income by client sector? And by industry for Australian private businesses only? Do both totals sum to 100%?
    • Have the nature and amount of the main components of 'Other...' items been provided in questions such Income from other services, Other Income and Other operating expenses?
    • If income from Sales of goods not produced by the business has been reported, have purchases been reported correctly, i.e. as Purchases of finished goods for resale?
    • Have data items related to contractors been properly recorded and categorised (i.e. avoiding double counting as part of contractors expenses and other operating expenses)?
    • Have the values of both opening and closing inventories been reported, where applicable?
    • If Cost of capital assets developed in-house by employees of this business/organisation is reported, the value must be less than or equal to the sum of Capital expenditure items reported prior.

    Other information
    • Have you provided comments on any unusual movements regarding the information you have supplied? By taking the opportunity to do this you will enhance the value of the data you supply as well as minimising the chance of ABS staff being required to call you directly for clarification.
    • Have you provided an estimate of the time taken to complete this form? (Please note that we use the time taken information to help us to design effective survey forms while minimising the burden on our providers).