5256.0 - Australian National Accounts: Non-Profit Institutions Satellite Account, 2012-13 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/08/2015  Reissue
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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 main purpose of the non-profit institutions (NPI) satellite account is to measure the size, structure and contribution to the economy of the non-profit sector in Australia during the 2012-13 financial year. The non-profit institutions satellite account draws on information from a variety of sources, including a survey of the Australian non-profit sector conducted by the ABS and the General Social Survey 2014. Valuation methods used in the satellite account are broadly consistent with those employed throughout the national accounts, and the estimates of gross value added and gross domestic product produced in the satellite account are comparable with those produced for the whole economy. The information contained in the satellite account may be used by government policy makers to assist in policy formulation and review in relation to the non-profit sector, particularly in the context of NPIs engaging in the delivery of government resources to beneficiaries, as well as by private sector analysts.


The ABS aims to publish estimates from its business survey program within twelve months of the end of the reference period. Data contained in this publication are based on a survey of non-profit organisations conducted by the ABS For the purposes of this survey, questionnaires were mailed to a sample of 4,264 non-profit organisations in mid-August 2013. The Non-profit Institutions Satellite Account, 2012-13 (cat. no. 5256.0) was released in June 2014.

A reissued Non-profit Institutions Satellite Account, 2012-13 (cat. no. 5256.0) that incorporates the volunteering services component to complete the NPI satellite account was released in August 2015. Estimates of volunteering services were sourced from unpublished data from the ABS General Social Survey 2014 (cat. no. 4159.0) released on 29 June 2015.


The main data input to the non-profit institutions satellite account is the annual Economic Activity Survey (EAS) 2012-13. The ABS aims to produce high quality data from its industry collections while minimising the reporting burden on businesses/organisations. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into collection and questionnaire, sample design, collection procedures and processing. Over 4000 NPIs were surveyed in the 2012-13 EAS, almost double the number of NPIs that were included in the 2006-07 survey.

The identification of non-profit organisations on the ABS Business Register provides the opportunity for improved non-profit estimates from ABS business surveys. The ability to identify all non-profit organisations in the population, rather than relying on self-identification in the sample, allows the ABS to use alternative estimation techniques to improve the quality of its statistics for the non-profit sector.

Most ABS business surveys use the ABS Business Register of employing and non-employing businesses/organisations to draw a sample frame. The ABS Business Register includes only those businesses/organisations registered with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for an Australian Business Number (ABN). There are many small informal groups in Australia that do not have an ABN. These groups were out of scope on the grounds that such groups do not meet the "organisational existence" criterion set out in the United Nations Handbook on Non-Profit Institutions in the System of National Accounts (the Handbook). Further information about the Handbook criteria can be found in the Explanatory Notes.

Two types of error can occur in estimates that are based on a sample survey: non-sampling error and sampling error.

Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort is made to minimise reporting error by careful design of questionnaires, intensive training of collection analysts and efficient data processing procedures. A significant effort to improve identification of NPIs using tax information was also made to ensure an accurate population from which to draw the survey sample.

Non-sampling error also occurs when information cannot be obtained from all organisations selected in the survey. The survey of non-profit organisations achieved a response rate of 89.3%. Data were imputed for the remaining 10.7% of operating organisations.

Sampling error occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. It reflects the difference between estimates based on a sample and those that would have been obtained had a census been conducted.

The non-profit institutions satellite account was produced largely in accordance with international recommendations as prescribed in the Handbook. By their nature some data contained in the non-profit institutions satellite account are not directly observable and are necessarily modelled estimates. The Handbook provides guidance as to the measurement of such estimates.

Overall the ABS considers that the estimates are of good quality, particularly at the most aggregated level, such as total income and total gross value added. However, some care should be exercised in the use of the finer level components, as sampling error associated with survey data used to compile detailed estimates is generally higher than for the total.


The ABS has previously published NPI satellite accounts in respect of 2006-07 and 1999-2000. While the three satellite accounts are generally based on the same underlying conceptual framework and have been produced in accordance with the Handbook recommendations, there are significant differences in the 1999-2000 compilation methods and classifications which should be noted in undertaking any comparisons between the accounts.

Unlike the 2012-13 and 2006-07 satellite accounts, the 1999-2000 satellite account was not compiled from a survey of NPIs. For compilation of the 1999-2000 satellite account, existing social and economic data from a range of sources was analysed and the NPIs component of each data set was identified. Given the limited data available, the 1999-2000 satellite account contains information about a smaller number of ICNPO categories and less detailed data about the income and expense flows of non-profit organisations than is presented in the 2012-13 and 2006-07 satellite accounts.

A survey of NPIs was the principal data source for both the 2006-07 and 2012-13 satellite accounts. Micro non employing NPIs were out of scope for the surveys but are included in the NPI satellite accounts using Business Activity Statement information collected by the ATO.

Not-for-profit Organisations Australia, 2006-07 (cat. no. 8106.0) presents information from a survey of economically significant non-profit organisations and supplements the 2006-07 non-profit institutions satellite account statistics with a detailed examination of the structure and performance of non-profit organisations for the reference year of the survey. There are important differences between the 2006-07 statistics published in the non-profit institutions satellite account and Not-for-profit Organisations Australia, 2006-07 (cat. no. 8106.0) and users should exercise caution when making comparisons between the two sets of estimates.

The 2012-13 NPI satellite account includes conceptual and methodological improvements which have resulted in revisions to the 2006-07 NPI satellite account. Revised statistics for 2006-07 are included in tables 1-3 of the 2012-13 NPI satellite account and in the accompanying 2006-07 datacube. An explanation of the improvements can be found in Changes in this issue.


Although financial estimates in this publication relate to the full twelve months of 2012-13 financial year, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June 2013. As such, estimates of values per person employed can be affected by any fluctuations in employment during the reference period. Organisation counts reflect only those organisations operating at 30 June 2013.

Further information on terminology and other technical aspects associated with statistics from the non-profit institutions satellite account can be found in the Explanatory Notes, Glossary, Abbreviations and relevant classifications and concordances. Other aids to interpretation may be accessed at the ABS website and include the Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0) for information on national accounting terminology and conventions. The Handbook provides information about how national accounting concepts apply to NPIs.


Data from the 2012-13 non-profit institutions satellite account are available in the following formats free of charge on the ABS website:

  • which includes the main items of interest in the key results and an analysis of each of the broad data item categories, for example NPI gross value added and NPI employment
  • two datacubes, one which contains additional satellite account data for 2012-13 and the other which contains revised satellite account data for 2006-07.

Inquiries about these statistics can be made by contacting the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.