5232.0 - Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth, Dec 2015 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/03/2016   
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Accrual accounting

The accounting process of recording flows at the time when economic value is created, transformed, exchanged, transferred or extinguished.

Acquisitions less disposals of non-produced non-financial assets

Includes three distinct types of non-produced non-financial assets: natural resources; contracts, leases and licences; and goodwill and marketing assets. At present, estimates of the value of purchased goodwill and marketing assets are not compiled for the ASNA.

Arm’s length

Balances and transactions between unrelated entities negotiated solely on normal commercial criteria. For example, loans to private non-financial corporations from banks are arm's length borrowings for the purpose of Tables 1 and 2; but loans from members of the same enterprise group are not.

Asset-backed security

A debt security which is backed by specific assets (such as mortgages over real estate) rather than the general credit-worthiness of the issuing entity.


Store of value over which ownership rights are enforced by institutional units, individually or collectively, and from which economic benefits may be derived by their owners by holding them, or using them, over a period of time (the economic benefits consist of primary incomes derived from the use of the asset and the value, including possible holding gains/losses, that could be realised by disposing of the asset or terminating it).

Balance sheet

A statement, drawn up in respect of a particular point in time, of the values of assets owned and of the liabilities owed by an institutional unit or group of units. A balance sheet may be drawn up for institutional units, institutional sectors and the total economy.

Bearer securities

Debt securities for which the issuer does not maintain a register of current holders. Settlement of transactions (trades) may be effected by delivery.

Bills of exchange

Is an unconditional order drawn (issued) by one party, sent to another party (usually a bank) for acceptance and made out to, or to the order of, a third party, or to bearer (holder). It is a negotiable instrument with an original term to maturity of 180 days or less. Bills of exchange are also known as ‘banker’s acceptance’.


Long-term securities where the issuer pledges to pay the holder the sum of money shown on the face of the document, on a date which at the time of issue is more than one year in the future. Many bonds on issue in Australia pay interest at a set percentage of face value every six months (known as “coupon interest”) for the life of the bond. Such bonds are known as fixed interest bonds. However, there are a significant amount of variable rate bonds and some deep discount (or zero coupon) bonds on issue.

Capital account

Records the values of the non-financial assets that are acquired, or disposed of, by resident institutional units by engaging in transactions, and shows the change in net worth due to saving and capital transfers or internal bookkeeping transactions linked to production (changes in inventories and consumption of fixed capital).

Capital formation

Represents the use of Financing resources on capital assets. Calculated as the sum of Gross fixed capital formation, Changes in inventories and Acquisitions less disposals of non-produced non-financial assets.

Capital transfers

Unrequited transactions where either;

  • ownership of an asset (other than cash or inventories) is transferred from one institutional unit to another;
  • cash is transferred to enable the recipient to acquire another asset; or
  • the funds realised by the disposal of an asset are transferred.

Examples include general government capital transfers to private schools for the construction of science blocks or libraries, assistance to first home owners and transfers to charitable organisations for the construction of homes for the aged.

Central borrowing authorities

A statutory body - often called a Treasury Corporation - established by a State or Territory government to borrow on its behalf and on behalf of its trading enterprises, and to on-lend the funds raised to those bodies. Most borrowing authorities also manage liquid assets on behalf of government bodies.

Change in financial position

The balance in the financial account is net change in financial position. This is equal to net acquisition of financial assets less net incurrence of liabilities.

Changes in inventories

The difference in value between inventories held at the beginning and end of the reference period by enterprises and general government. For national accounting purposes, physical changes in inventories should be valued at the prices current at the times when the changes occur. For these purposes, changes in inventories are obtained after adjusting the increase in book value of inventories by the inventory valuation adjustment. The need for the latter arises because the changes in the value of inventories as calculated from existing business accounting records do not meet national accounting requirements. The inventory valuation adjustment is the difference between the change in (book) value of inventories and the physical changes valued at current prices. The physical changes at average current quarter prices are calculated by applying average quarterly price indexes to the changes in various categories of inventories in volume terms.

Common fund

An investment fund established by a trustee company to accept monies it holds in trust and other monies invested by the public. Cash common funds are similar to cash management trusts except that they do not issue units nor do they necessarily issue prospectuses.


The accounting process of adding together transactions or balance sheet items after excluding those between entities in the same subsector, company group, or level of government. For example, a loan from one private non-financial corporation to another is eliminated from the consolidated total of assets and liabilities of the subsector because, in such cases, there is no asset or liability held with an entity outside the private non-financial corporations subsector.

Consumer durable

A good that may be used for purposes of consumption repeatedly or continuously over a period of a year or more.

Consumption of fixed capital

The value of the reproducible fixed assets used up during a period of account as a result of normal wear and tear, foreseen obsolescence and the normal rate of accidental damage. Unforeseen obsolescence, major catastrophes and the depletion of natural resources are not taken into account.

Conventional credit markets

Credit markets which are reasonably open to all potential borrowers. Excluded, for example, are loans arranged between related entities. This concept is important for an understanding of the Credit Market Outstandings and Demand for Credit tables in Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth (cat. no. 5232.0).

Conventional financial instruments

These instruments consist of:
  • Currency
  • Deposits
  • Bills of exchange
  • One name paper
  • Bonds etc
  • Derivatives
  • Loans
  • Equity.


Entities that are capable of generating a profit or other financial gain for their owners; are recognised at law as separate legal entities from their owners who enjoy limited liability; and are set up for purposes of engaging in market production. They also include co-operatives, limited liability partnerships, notional resident units and quasi-corporations.


The process of taking the asset record of a sector and using it as the liability record of the counterparty sector, or vice versa. For a market transaction to occur there must be a willing buyer and a willing seller. To the buyer, the seller is the counterparty, and vice versa.

Cultivated biological resources

Includes livestock raised for breeding, dairy, wool, etc., and vineyards, orchards and other plantations of trees yielding repeat products that are under the direct control, responsibility and management of institutional units. Immature cultivated assets are excluded unless produced for own use.


Consists of notes and coins that are of fixed nominal values and are issued or authorised by the central bank or government. For Australia the currency asset refers solely to domestic currency. There is little foreign currency in general circulation, and significant holdings are classified as foreign deposits.

Current prices

Estimates are valued at the prices of the period to which the observation relates. For example, estimates for this financial year are valued using this financial year’s prices. This contrasts to chain volume measures where the prices used in valuation refer to the prices of the previous year.

Debt security

A financial instrument that evidences the issuer’s promise to repay the principal at face value on maturity. It may be issued to investors at a discount, and/or the issuer may promise to pay interest (usually at six monthly intervals) to the holders. Unlike shares, debt securities do not confer on the holders ownership rights in the issuing entity.


Financial instruments that are linked to a specific financial instrument or indicator or commodity, and which provide for market financial risk in a form that can be traded or otherwise offset in the market. Derivatives are used for a number of purposes including risk management, hedging, and speculation. Unlike debt instruments, no principal amount is advanced to be repaid, and no investment income accrues. The value of the derivative derives from the price of the underlying items.

Discount securities

Debt securities which are issued to investors for less than the value appearing on the face of the security. Holders are not paid interest but rather receive capital gains (the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the security).


Buildings, or designated parts of buildings, that are used entirely or primarily as residences, including any associated structures, such as garages, and all permanent fixtures customarily installed in residences. Houseboats, barges, mobile homes and caravans used as principal residences of households are also included, as are public monuments identified primarily as dwellings. The costs of site clearance and preparation are also included in the value of dwellings.

Economically significant prices

Prices which have a significant influence on both the amounts producers are willing to supply and the amounts purchasers wish to buy.


Equity has the distinguishing feature that the holders own a residual claim on the assets of the institutional unit that issued the equity. Equity represents the owner’s funds in the institutional unit.

External account

Records all current transactions between Australian residents and non-residents.

Face value

The value that appears on the face of a debt security being the amount that the issuing entity promises to pay to the holder when the security matures. Also known as the nominal or par value.

Farm inventories

  • inventories held on farms (including wool, wheat, barley, oats, maize, sorghum, hay, fertiliser, apples and pears, and livestock);
  • wool held in store awaiting sale; and
  • produce (e.g. vegetables) held in cold store where ownership remains with the primary producer.

Financial account

Records the net acquisition of financial assets and net incurrence of liabilities for all institutional sectors by type of financial asset.

Financial assets

Are mostly financial claims. Financial claims entitle the owner to receive a payment, or a series of payments, from an institutional unit to which the owner has provided funds. Shares are treated as financial assets even though the financial claim their holders have on the corporation is not a fixed or predetermined monetary amount.

Financial corporations

Mainly engaged in financial market transactions, which involve incurring liabilities and acquiring financial assets, i.e. borrowing and lending money, providing superannuation, life, health or other insurance, financial leasing or investing in financial assets. Also included are corporations providing financial auxiliary services.

Financing resources

Represents the funds available to finance investments. Calculated as the sum of Net saving, Consumption of fixed capital, Net capital transfers and Statistical discrepancy.

Fixed Assets

Produced assets that are used repeatedly, or continuously, in processes of production for more than one year. Fixed assets consist of dwellings, non-dwelling construction, machinery and equipment, weapons systems, cultivated biological resources, ownership transfer costs and intellectual property products.

Forward contract

An arrangement in which two parties, in order to protect themselves against interest rate changes, agree on an interest rate to be paid, at a specified settlement date, on a notional amount of principal that is never exchanged. The only payment that takes place is related to the difference between the agreed forward rate and the prevailing market rate at the time of settlement.

Friendly societies

These are mutual organisations whose members originally came from specific crafts or religions. They aim to provide their members with a wide range of cradle-to-grave services. Examples of these are: life, health, disability, funeral, and general insurances; investment services; financial services similar to those provided by credit unions; and retirement and travel services.

Futures contract

An agreement to buy/sell a standard quantity of a commodity - such as gold, $US or bank bills of exchange - on a specific future date at an agreed price determined at the time the contract is traded on the futures exchange.

Government units

Unique types of legal entities established by political processes and having legislative, judicial or executive authority over other institutional units.

Gross fixed capital formation

Expenditure on new fixed assets plus net expenditure on second-hand fixed assets, including both additions and or replacements. Expenditure on repair and maintenance of fixed assets is excluded, being chargeable to the production account. Compensation of employees and other costs paid by corporations in connection with own-account capital formation are included.


A group of persons who share the same living accommodation, who pool some, or all, of their income and wealth and who consume certain types of goods and services collectively, mainly housing and food.

Household claims on technical reserves of life insurance corporations and pension funds

This represents households’ net equity in, or claims on, the reserves of life insurance corporations and pension funds. In the case of life insurance corporations, it equates in large measure with the net policy liabilities of life offices to households. In the case of pension funds, it represents the funds’ obligations to members including any surpluses and reserves. A claim by householders on insurance technical reserve of non-resident pension funds is also included.

Income account

Shows how gross disposable income is used for final consumption expenditure and the consumption of fixed capital (depreciation), with the balance being net saving. Income flows are divided into primary income and secondary income. Primary incomes are incomes that accrue to institutional units as a consequence of their involvement in processes of production or ownership of assets that may be needed for purposes of production. Secondary incomes are incomes that are redistributed between institutional units by means of payments and receipts of current transfers. Income redistribution also includes social transfers in kind.

Inscribed stock

Debt securities whose issuer maintains a register of current holders. Accordingly, settlement of transactions (trades) in these securities is affected by assignment (marked transfer), not delivery.

Institutional sectors

The resident units that make up the total economy are grouped into four mutually exclusive institutional sectors, namely: the non-financial corporations sector; the financial corporations sector; the general government sector; and the household sector, which includes non-profit institutions serving households.

Insurance technical reserves

Comprises financial assets that are reserves against outstanding risks, reserves for with-profit insurance, prepayments of premiums and reserves against outstanding claims. Insurance technical reserves may be liabilities not only of life or non-life insurance enterprises (whether mutual or incorporated) but also of autonomous pension funds, which are included in the insurance enterprise subsector, and certain non-autonomous pension funds that are included in the institutional sector that manages the funds. Insurance technical reserves are subdivided between net equity of households on life insurance reserves and on pension funds, and prepayments of premiums and reserves against outstanding claims.

Intellectual property products

Are as a result of research and development, investigation or innovations leading to knowledge that the developers can market or use for their own benefit. Includes computer software, research and development, entertainment, literary or artistic originals, and mineral exploration intended to be used for more than a year.


Consist of stocks of outputs that are held at the end of a period by the units that produced them prior to their being further processed, sold, delivered to other units or used in other ways and stocks of products acquired from other units that are intended to be used for intermediate consumption or for resale without further processing.


The use of financing resources on Capital formation and Net financial investment. Also includes Net errors and omissions.


Consists of the ground, including the soil covering and any associated surface waters, over which ownership rights are enforced and from which economic benefits can be derived by their owners by holding or using them.


Is an obligation which requires one unit (the debtor) to make a payment or a series of payments to the other unit (the creditor) in certain circumstances specified in a contract between them.

Listed shares

Equity securities listed on an exchange.


Borrowings which are not evidenced by the issue of debt securities, and are not usually traded and their value does not decline even in a period of rising interest rates.

Long-term debt securities

Debt securities with an original term to maturity of more than one year. They include Treasury bonds, semi-government securities, corporate securities, asset backed bonds and convertible notes prior to conversion. Long-term debt securities also include subordinated debt.

Machinery and equipment

Includes transport equipment and other machinery and equipment, other than that acquired by households for final consumption.

Monetary gold

Treated as a financial asset. Monetary gold is gold owned by monetary authorities (or others subject to effective control by monetary authorities) that is held as a financial asset and as a component of official reserves. Other gold held by any entity (including non-reserve gold held by monetary authorities and all gold held by financial institutions other than the central bank) is treated as a commodity.

Money market funds (MMFs)

Invest in transferable debt instruments with a residual maturity of not more than one year, bank deposits and instruments that pursue a rate of return that approaches the interest rates of money market instruments.

National saving

Calculated as the sum of the net saving of each of the resident sectors – households and unincorporated enterprises, non-financial corporations, financial corporations and general government.

Natural resources

Non-produced non-financial assets consisting of land, mineral and energy resources, native standing timber and radio spectra.

Net equity in reserves

Represents policy-holders’ claims on life insurance businesses and pension funds. These technical reserves are calculated by deducting all repayable liabilities from the value of total assets.

Net errors and omissions

The difference between net lending or borrowing in the capital account and the net change in financial position in the financial account.

Net financial investment

Represents the use of Financing resources on financial assets and liabilities. See also Change in financial position.

Net lending to non-residents

The excess of net acquisition of financial assets in the rest of the world by resident institutional units over their net incurrence of liabilities in the rest of the world.

Net lending (+)/net borrowing (-)

The residual item in the capital account which shows each sector's net acquisition of financial assets. It is calculated as Gross saving and capital transfers less Total capital accumulation. In concept it is the same as the item Net change in financial position in the financial account.

Net saving

Balancing item of the income account, this is equal to total income receivable less total income payable, final consumption expenditure and consumption of fixed capital. Represents the excess of income over consumption.

Net worth

In the national and sectoral balance sheets, net worth represents the difference between the stock of assets (both financial and non-financial) and the stock of liabilities (including shares and other equity). Because it is derived residually, it can be negative.

Neutral holding gains/losses

The value of the holding gain that would accrue if the price of the asset changed in the same proportion as the general price level.

Nominal holding gains/losses

On a given quantity of asset, it is the value of the benefit accruing to the owner of that asset as a result of a change in its price or, more generally, its monetary value, over time.

Non-dwelling construction

Consists of non-residential buildings and other structures. ‘Non-residential buildings’ are buildings other than dwellings, including fixtures, facilities and equipment that are integral parts of the structures and costs of site clearance and preparation.

‘Other structures’ are structures other than buildings, including streets, sewers and site clearance and preparation other than for residential or non-residential buildings. Also included are shafts, tunnels and other structures associated with the extraction of mineral and energy resources. Major improvements to land, such as dams, are also included.

Non-farm inventories

All inventories except those classified to farm and public authorities inventories.

Non-financial assets

Are assets for which no corresponding liabilities are recorded.

Non-financial corporations

Corporations whose principal activity is the production of market goods or non-financial services.

Non-money market financial investment funds (NMMF)

Invest in financial assets other than short-term assets.

Non-produced assets

Non-financial assets that come into existence other than through processes of production. Non-produced assets that occur in nature is where ownership has been enforced or transferred. Environmental assets over which ownership rights have not, or cannot, be enforced, such as international waters or air space, are excluded. They consist of Natural resources (such as land, mineral and energy resources, native standing timber and radio spectra); Contracts, leases and licences; and Purchased goodwill and marketing assets. Purchased goodwill and marketing assets are not included in the ASNA.

Non-profit institutions

Legal or social entities created for the purpose of producing goods or services whose status does not permit them to be a source of income, profit or other financial gain for the units that establish, control or finance them.


The transfer of an entity’s rights and obligations under a contract to a new counterparty.

One name paper

Includes promissory notes, treasury notes and certificate of deposits issued by banks.


Contracts that give the purchaser the right, but not the obligation, to buy (a ‘call’ option) or to sell (a ‘put’ option) a particular financial instrument or commodity at a predetermined price (the ‘strike’ price) within a given time span (American option) or on a given date (European option).

Other accounts receivable/payable

This term is used in two ways. Firstly it is the financial asset consisting of two subordinate classifications: ‘trade credit and advances’, and ‘other accounts receivable/payable’. Alternatively, the item can refer to the actual classification ‘other accounts receivable/payable’.

Accounts receivable and payable include items other than those in the previous paragraph (e.g. in respect of taxes, dividends, purchases and sales of securities, rent, wages and salaries and social contributions). Interest accruing that is not capitalised in the underlying asset may be included.

Other changes in real net wealth

Calculated as the sum of real holding gains, net capital transfers and other changes in the volume of assets.

Other changes in real net wealth - other differences

These arise due to a different treatment of stock and flow concepts between the balance sheet and capital account estimates. Net capital formation in the balance sheet includes plantation standing timber inventories. These are included in the change in net worth in the balance sheet and excluded from the capital account.

Other changes in volume of assets

Changes in the value of assets and liabilities over the accounting period arising from events other than transactions and revaluations.

Other deposits

Comprise all claims, other than transferable deposits, that are represented by evidence of deposit. Typical forms of deposits that should be included are savings deposits (which are always non-transferable), fixed-term deposits and non-negotiable certificates of deposit.

Ownership transfer costs

Consists of fees paid to lawyers, fees and commissions paid to real estate agents and auctioneers, stamp duty, Title Office charges and local government charges. Ownership transfer costs in the ASNA relate to dwellings and non-dwelling construction.

Pension fund claims on life insurance corporations reserves

Represents pension funds’ net equity in, or claims on, life insurance corporation reserves.


Customers’ account balances with entities not regarded as deposit-taking institutions. Examples are account balances of State and local public non-financial corporations with their central borrowing authorities, of public sector pension funds with their State Treasuries, and 11am money placed with corporate treasuries.

Prepayments of premiums and reserves against outstanding claims

Reserves in the form of prepayments of premiums which result from the fact that, in general, insurance premiums are paid in advance. Such reserves are assets of the policy-holders.

Reserves against outstanding claims are reserves that insurance enterprises hold in order to cover the amounts they expect to pay out in respect of claims that are not yet settled or claims that may be disputed. Reserves against outstanding claims are considered to be assets of the beneficiaries.

Primary and secondary markets

Investors which purchase securities from the issuer (or from a member of the issuer’s dealer panel) are said to buy in the primary market. If these securities are subsequently sold by those investors, the sales are said to occur in the secondary market.

Produced Assets

Non-financial assets that have come into existence as outputs from production processes. Produced assets consist of fixed assets, inventories and valuables. However, valuables are not included in the ASNA.

Professional funds manager

An agent which invests monies on behalf of clients in return for fees. The assets managed by a professional funds manager are not on its balance sheet.

Public authorities inventories

Include estimates for general government, public non-financial corporations and public financial corporations. Recorded inventories include demonetised gold transactions (gold sales and gold loans) by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the construction of military equipment for export.

Public unit trust

A trust which issues units to the general public within Australia for the purpose of investing the pooled monies. A public unit trust must have registered a prospectus with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and be governed by a trust deed between its management company and a trustee company. The units may or may not be listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Real holding gains

The difference between the nominal holding gain/loss on assets and liabilities, and the neutral holding gain. It is the value of the additional command over real resources accruing to the holder of an asset as a result of a change in its price relative to the prices of goods and services in the economy.


A repurchase agreement (repo) involves the sale of securities or other assets with a commitment to repurchase equivalent assets at a specified date.


The residence of each institutional unit is the economic territory with which it has the strongest connection, in other words, its centre of predominant economic interest.

Rest of the world

Consists of all non-resident institutional units that enter into transactions with resident units, or have other economic links with resident units.


Holding gains or losses arising from changes in the market prices of assets and liabilities during the accounting period.

Services from consumer durables

Represents the value of services provided by consumer durables to the household in the accounting period. It arises because consumer durables, unlike other final consumption goods, are not used up in the accounting period in which they are purchased. It is measured in the same way as consumption of fixed capital, i.e. as the reduction in value of the stock of consumer durables during the accounting period resulting from physical deterioration, normal obsolescence or normal accidental damage. Unforeseen obsolescence is not taken into account.

Short selling

Refers to the practice of selling securities one does not have. To settle the trade, securities need to be purchased or borrowed.

Short-term debt securities

Debt securities with an original maturity of one year or less. They include bills of exchange, promissory notes (also called ‘one name paper’), Treasury notes and bank certificates of deposit.

Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)

These are financial assets. In Australia, the SDR allocation is recorded by the central government and the SDR asset is recorded by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). The RBA has a deposit liability to the central government. SDRs are international reserve assets created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and allocated to its member States to supplement existing reserve assets.

Statistical discrepancy (I), (E) and (P)

For years in which a balanced supply and use table is available to benchmark the national accounts, the same measure of GDP is obtained regardless of whether one sums incomes, expenditures or gross value added for each industry. For other years, however, statistical discrepancies between the measures remain. The differences between those three separate estimates and the single measure of GDP for those years are called statistical discrepancy (I), statistical discrepancy (E) and statistical discrepancy (P), respectively.

Stock lending

The terms securities lending or stock lending are used in securities markets to describe arrangements whereby issuers or asset-holders or both (called stock lenders) provide securities to other market participants (called stock borrowers) in return for a fee.

Subordinated debt

Debt that is not repayable until other specified liabilities have been settled. For example, the subordinated debt of banks (also called second-tier capital) is not repayable until the demands of depositors for repayment have been satisfied.


Contractual arrangements between two parties who agree to exchange, according to predetermined rules, streams of payment on the same amount of indebtedness over time. The two most prevalent varieties are interest rate swaps and currency swaps. For example, an interest rate swap involves an exchange of interest payments of different character, such as fixed rates for floating rate, two different floating rates, fixed rate in one currency and floating rate in another etc.

Synthetic instrument

A tailored financial product which combines a primary financial instrument (such as a parcel of bills of exchange) with a derivative instrument (such as a forward rate agreement).

Term to maturity

In these statistics, debt securities are classified into short term (equal to or less than one year) or long term (greater than one year) according to their original term to maturity (sometimes called tenor) rather than the time remaining until maturity. The original term to maturity is the time period from the issue of a security until the principal becomes due for repayment.


An economic flow that is an interaction between institutional units by mutual agreement or an action within an institutional unit that it is analytically useful to treat like a transaction.

Transferable deposits

Comprise all deposits that are exchangeable for banknotes and coins on demand at par and without penalty or restriction, and directly usable for making payments by cheque, draft, direct debit/credit or other direct payment facility.

Unincorporated enterprise

An unincorporated enterprise represents the production activity of government units, non-profit institutions serving households, or households that cannot be treated as the production activity of a quasi-corporation.

Unlisted shares

Equity securities not listed on an exchange. Unlisted shares can also be called private equity. Venture capital usually takes this form.

Wholesale trusts

Usually they are only open to institutional investors (e.g. life insurance companies, superannuation trusts, public unit trusts) and high net worth individuals due to high entry levels. However some are open to the public via distribution channels such as platforms. They may issue a prospectus but more commonly issue only an information memorandum.