Survey of Financial Information

Contact us

If you need help completing this form, submitting the form to the Secure Deposit Box, or want to know more about this survey, please call 1800 651 552 (free call excluding mobile phones). We can often advise on ways of making this task easier for you.

Purpose of the survey

The survey was established primarily to provide data for the Australian Financial Accounts which are not otherwise available. The Australian Financial Accounts (cat. no. 5232.0), which is part of the National Accounting framework, contains financial profiles of each sub sector of the economy and the market for each conventional financial instrument (eg. equity, bonds etc). There are also tables showing inter–sectoral financial transactions and measures of sectoral financial surpluses and deficits. In theory, the scope of the Survey of Financial Information (SFI) is those institutional units transacting in financial assets or liabilities with other institutional units. In practice, the coverage is a small subset of the scope. ABS covers only those units about which suitable data from some other source (e.g. administrative data from APRA) cannot be obtained. In addition, SFI data is used to provide information about certain segments of the financial markets, namely the managed funds and securitisation markets.

The data from the Survey of Financial Information (SFI) feeds into the following publications:

Frequently asked questions

Why is the SFI sent out quarterly?

The SFI is a major contributor to the Finance and Wealth publication of the Australian National Accounts which is published on a quarterly basis. This provides government, private sector analysts, commentators and other users of the data a regular snapshot of how the Australian economy, and the financial markets in particular, is progressing.

Do I have to complete the form?

The ABS relies on the cooperation of organisations in Australia such as yours to provide accurate information as requested. However, the Census and Statistics Act 1905 provides the Australian Statistician with the power, if necessary, to direct you in writing to provide the completed return.

Is confidentiality of my data guaranteed?

The ABS has a responsibility to ensure that it provides a quality statistical service whilst also protecting the privacy rights of those individuals or businesses who provide information. Your completed form remains confidential to the ABS and statistics will only be published in the form of aggregated data. The Australian Statistician and staff are bound by the Census and Statistics Act 1905 to observe the strictest confidence in regard to the information supplied by providers. The Act provides for penalties of up to $5,000 or two years in gaol, or both, against officers who breach this rule.

What happens if some of the data requested on the forms is not available?

The ABS requires information that is as accurate as possible. The more accurate the figures you supply the more accurate the total estimate will be. However, if for some items exact data are not readily available, careful estimates will be accepted.

Are there any other aides available for completing the forms?

Yes, there is the definitions page which describes the sectors and financial instruments requested on the form, and there is a concordance available showing the relationship between the sector counterparties required by ABS and the Global Industry Classification (GICS) used by the ASX. Please see 'Determining the economic sector of a counterparty' section below to access the ABS–GICS concordance.

Can I get an extension of time to complete the survey?

If you wish to apply for an extension of time to complete this quarter's survey please call 1800 651 552. Under certain circumstances a small amount of extra time to complete the survey may be granted.

Definitions page

The definitions page describes the sectors and financial instruments requested on the form.

Leases reporting guidance

Additional questions have been added to the survey from December 2019 due to changes introduced by AASB 16 Leases. This page provides guidance on how to report these new questions.

Survey of Financial Information - Reporting guidance for AASB 16 Leases.

Determining the economic sector of a counterparty

Where relevant, you may be required to classify the sector counterparty of financial assets and liabilities in accordance with the Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA) (cat. no. 1218.0). You can use a variety of ways to allocate counterparties to an economic sector, for example:

  • obtain information directly from the business;
  • use publicly available information about the business – for example, from the business website; or
  • use other information you hold about the business along with Australia New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC) (cat, no, 1292.0) codes to map to a sector category.

Once a business entity is classified to its one and only ANZSIC category, this will map to one SESCA category in the majority of cases. However, in a handful of cases, the ANZSIC category assigned may map into multiple SESCA classifications. In such cases, further criteria, such as the business’s legal structure and/or balance sheet composition may be used to assign a unique sectoral classification. A concordance map from ANZSIC 2006 to SESCA 2008 is provided below and is specifically designed to assist entities reporting to APRA in the Economic and Financial Statistics (EFS) collection in classifying counterparties.

Mapping of ANZSIC to SESCA to APRA form

For funds that are listed on the ASX, you may use the following ASX mapping guide, which categorises all listed entities (name and GICS code) on the ASX by sectoral classification. This guide has been specifically designed to assist entities reporting to APRA in the EFS or Superannuation collections, however it is important to note it is currently under review with some finer level sector classifications subject to change.

ASX Mapping Guide SISCA Reporting - July 2023

Frequently asked questions about the SFI electronic forms

NOTE:  Please do not alter the Excel form sent to you in any way (apart from entering data), as doing so will make your survey return invalid.

Generally, how will the electronic form work?

At the end of each reference quarter (March, June, September, December) you will be emailed an electronic form (which is based on Microsoft Excel software) with the relevant reference quarter on the front. This form has embedded data to identify each statistical unit, so it is unique for your organisation and the quarter it is received. It is important that you return the specific form that you are sent each quarter. You will also be emailed an explanatory notes booklet describing the sectors and financial instruments requested on the form. Please complete the form by the due date and lodge it on the ABS Secure Deposit Box. Upon receipt of your data, you will receive an email receipt for your lodgement which you can keep for your records. When the correct, completed form is received by the ABS, software loads its contents directly into ABS systems.

How do I save the Excel form?

When you receive the emailed form, simply open in Excel and 'save as' to your computer's C drive. You may need to change your security settings to enable macros. Go to the 'Tools' menu and select security, then select the appropriate security setting. This is important so you can save the completed form.

If I make a mistake can I resubmit the form in the same quarter?

Yes, you can. If you submit revisions to the data that has already been reported, then you should submit the whole completed form again. Could you please let us know that you are submitting revisions by making a note in the 'textual data' box when you lodge the form through the Secure Deposit Box.

Can I submit different parts of the form at different times?

Yes, you can. If you wish to submit parts (or individual worksheets) of the form at different times then you should still submit the whole form, leaving the other (already submitted) parts blank. However, please remember all parts should still be completed by the due date.

Can I use the form sent in the current quarter for future quarters to lodge my data?

No, you cannot. You must use the form emailed to you each quarter. If this is something you would like to set up in the future, please call the ABS on 1800 651 552 so we can gauge the interest in having this as an option.

Can I set up my systems to fill in the form automatically from my organisation's accounting software/systems?

Yes you can. There are a few options – you can insert vlookup into the form based on the data item code situated to the right of the data field; or you can create a visual basic macro that fills in the form based on the unique cell references that have been specified to each data field on the form. This data is shown to the right of the formula bar a the top left of the Excel window. However you must ensure you complete Part 1 General Information tab to indicate the reference quarter.

How do I lodge the form to the ABS?

The ABS Secure Deposit Box is a mechanism which allows you to securely lodge this form with the ABS through the ABS website. You will require a user name and password to deposit the information. If you have not received these please telephone the ABS on 1800 651 552. 

Checklist to assist in completing the SFI

  • Have you indicated the period covered by this form in Question 1 in Part 1 – General Information tab?
  • Have you used the form sent to you in the current quarter, not last quarter's form?
  • Are you lodging the whole form, even if parts are blank? It is important to submit the whole form not separate worksheets by themselves.
  • Is the form complete? i.e. have you completed all required parts?
  • Have you checked the data boxes to ensure the results of any formulas have returned valid values?
  • Have you checked the data boxes to ensure only numbers are entered where numeric values are expected? For example, please do not write 'nil' or 'null' in data boxes which have zero.
  • If you receive more than one electronic form for different entities, please ensure you are using the correct E–form for each entity, as the form(s) that are sent to you are hard coded for a particular entity.
  • Have you saved a copy of this quarter's form for your own records and as a reference for next quarter?
  • Do you have a current user name and password for data lodgement to the ABS Secure Deposit Box? Please note that lodging your form through the Secure Deposit Box provides security for your data. Please do not reply to the original email address the form was sent from as it is unattended and therefore not secure.
  • If you are submitting revisions, have you let the ABS know through the 'textual data' box (where you can write comments) when you are lodging the form through the secure deposit box?

How to submit the completed return

Instructions for electronic lodgement of information via the ABS Secure Deposit Box

The ABS Secure Deposit Box is a mechanism for you to lodge statistical files or text to the appropriate ABS collection area via a secure link. Each file that you lodge is encrypted during transmission to the Secure Deposit Box and is immediately moved into a secure location where its content is automatically scanned for viruses. The following instructions will step you through how to lodge data to the ABS Secure Deposit Box. If you experience any difficulties when lodging your data please contact the ABS on 1800 651 552. Thank you for using the ABS Secure Deposit Box facility.

Please see below the Secure Deposit Box Website ( instructions and tips for solving common problems:

Important Reminder: please ensure you wait at least half an hour before accessing the Secure Deposit Box.

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