5514.0.55.001 - Australian System of Government Finance Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/10/2003   
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4.16. Input editing involves application of pre-specified edits to unit level data. The edits performed are unit edits, intra-sector edits and aggregate edits, each of which is described below. The process involves passing the unit data through editing programs, producing error reports, and making amendments to obtain a ‘clean’ data file.


4.17. Three main types of unit edits are applied in the system: classification edits, account balance edits, and subtotalling edits.

4.18. Classification edits are edits designed to check the validity of GFS classification codes assigned to flows and stocks. Three types of classification edits are applied:

  • legality edits, which check that the unit and flows and stocks classification codes allocated actually exist in the classifications concerned;
  • code combination edits, which check whether the combination of classification codes applied to each flow and stock item is valid within the GFS system;
  • code existence edits, which check that where a given classification code has been allocated to a flow or stock item, codes from all of the relevant other classifications that are associated with that item have also been allocated;
  • level of coding edits, which check that the prescribed minimum level of coding has been observed (see chapter 5 for an explanation of the minimum level of coding).

4.19. Account balance edits are edits to check that the values for data items have been correctly entered; that data are not duplicated; and that data items entered into the system for each unit account for all items in that unit's source records.

4.20. As discussed previously, under the double-entry convention used in the system revenues, decreases in assets, and increase in liabilities and equity are treated as credits (Cr), and expenses, increases in assets, and decreases in liabilities and equity are treated as debits (Dr). Credits are stored in the system with a negative sign and debits with a positive sign. The account balance edit checks that the total of debits for a unit equals the total of credits.

4.21. To help locate account balance errors within a unit, data items are divided into balance groups for assets, liabilities and equity, revenues and expenses. The system checks that the accounting identity, Assets = Liabilities + Equity + Net Worth, is satisfied.

4.22. Subtotalling edits are used with account balance edits to pinpoint balancing errors within a unit. These edits are used whenever a set of data items should sum to a subtotal and where a set of subtotals should add to a control total.


4.23. Intra-sector edits are performed in order to identify flow (and stock) imbalances. This is done using the Source/Destination Code (SDC) assigned to most GFS items. The SDC identifies the source of the funds if a transaction is an operating revenue or a cash receipt, and the destination of the funds if the transaction is an operating expense or a cash payment. For Balance Sheet items the asset SDC identifies the sector in which the asset is held and for the liability SDC this code identifies where the sector to which the liability is owed.

4.24. The identification and reconciliation of flow imbalances is necessary in order to achieve reasonably accurate consolidated results. However, not all flow imbalances can be resolved within GFS publication deadlines which means that the remaining imbalances contribute to the non-additivity of GFS measures across sectors and levels of government. A different approach is taken for other users of GFS. For example, because National Accounts and International bodies such as the IMF and the OECD require 'balanced' GFS output, adjustments are made to force both sides to align based on an accepted order of precedence, eg Commonwealth figures take precedence over lower levels of government, State figures take precedence over local etc.


4.25. Aggregate edits are applied after unit and intra-sector edits have been completed and resultant amendments made. These edits generally involve checking of period to period changes in aggregates relating to the main GFS classifications.

4.26. The purpose of the edits is to identify any significant or unusual movements in important aggregates (e.g. expenses, net acquisition of non-financial assets, revenues, debt) so as to provide a check on the consistency of coding.


4.27. When input editing has been completed, aggregation, derivation and consolidation processes are undertaken. During the phase, the unit information is no longer relevant and therefore removed. The data resulting data is classification and sector based.

4.28. These processes are summarised below:

  • the aggregation of records with identical classification keys;
  • the derivation of items not collected, eg SDCs for liabilities - these are derived from the asset side for each instrument;
  • consolidation, ie the elimination of flows within and between the Public Sector sectors;
  • estimation for uncollected or missing data;
  • the creation of a classification and sector-based output data store.

4.29 The aggregation step involves the summing of records with identical classifications within each of the 155 output sectors (listed in 5.1 of Chapter 5). This step results in the generation of unique aggregated lines, ie there are no duplicates in the final data store.

4.30. Derivation of special output data items involves creation, in unit records of general government and public non-financial corporations, of items required specifically for the Australian national accounts. Because no direct sources of data exist for these items, they are derived by applying selected ratios to the relevant aggregates. The ratios are obtained from external data (e.g. Commonwealth employment by State).

4.31. The consolidation process eliminates the flows and stock holdings that occur between units for each unique aggregate. It is the process whereby the two sides of the same transaction or stock holding are matched and eliminated to avoid double-counting.

4.32. However, the system procedure used for consolidation is different from the logical process described above. Instead of matching and eliminating flows and stocks of individual units, the system omits from a given aggregate the flows and stocks that carry the source and destination codes (see paragraph 4.10) relevant to that aggregate. For example, in an aggregation relating to Commonwealth general government, all flows and stocks with a Commonwealth general government source or destination code would be omitted from the aggregate. This process has the same effect as matching and eliminating the flows and stocks of individual units.

4.33. Estimation is a process of generating data not collected and is relevant only for quarterly GFS where, due to time and cost constraints, some items are not collected and smaller units are not approached. At the beginning of the financial year forward estimates become available and these are used, together with other information, to estimate the missing data.

4.34. The creation of the output data store is the process of moving the disaggregated data from the unit-based input store to an aggregated and consolidated output store, formatted to enable the efficient production of GFS outputs.

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