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Glossary

Australian System of Government Finance Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods
Reference period
2015
Released
23/12/2015
Next release Unknown
First release

Accrual basis of recording

A recording method in which revenues, expenses, lending and borrowing are recorded as they are earned, accrued or incurred regardless of when payment is made or received.

Amortisation

Amortisation is the systematic allocation of the value of an intangible asset over its useful life.

Arrears

Amounts both unpaid and past the due date for payment.

Assets

Instruments or entities over which ownership rights are enforced by institutional units and from which economic benefits may be derived by the assets’ owners by holding them, or using them, over a period of time.

Australian System of Government Finance Statistics; Concepts Sources and Methods Australia 2005 - (AGFS05)

Previous ABS publication 5514.0. The Australian GFS manual published in 2005.

Australian System of Government Finance Statistics; Concepts Sources and Methods Australia 2015 - (AGFS15)

ABS publication 5514.0. This manual.

Auxiliary financial services

Services that are closely related to, and designed to facilitate, financial intermediation but are not financial intermediation.

Balance sheet

A statement of an entity's financial position at a specific point in time. Contains information on assets, liabilities and owners' equity at a specific date.

Balancing items

Economic constructs obtained by subtracting one aggregate from a second aggregate.

Bills

Securities (usually short term) that give holders the unconditional rights to receive stated fixed sums on a specified date.

Bonds and debentures

Securities (usually long term) that give holders the unconditional rights to fixed payments or contractually determined variable payments on a specified date or dates.

Buildings other than dwellings

Whole buildings or parts of buildings not designated as dwellings. Fixtures, facilities, and equipment that are integral parts of the structures are included as buildings other than dwellings.

Capital taxes

Taxes imposed at irregular and very infrequent intervals on the value of assets or net worth owned by institutional units, or on the values of assets transferred between institutional units.

Capital transfers

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

Capitalised interest

Interest payable that is debited to an asset account and not expensed.

Cash

Notes and coin held, deposits at call with a bank or other financial institution, and highly liquid investments which are readily convertible to cash on hand at the investor's option.

Cash basis for recording

Basis of recording in which transactions are recorded only when cash receipts or payments occur and in which only cash flows are recorded.

Catastrophic loss

The partial or complete destruction of a significantly large number of assets (within any of the asset categories) resulting from a large-scale, discrete, and recognisable event.

Central bank

The central bank is the public financial corporation which is a monetary authority; that is, which issues bank notes and coins and holds the international reserves of the country. In Australia, this is the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Central borrowing authority

A public financial corporation established by a state or territory government primarily to provide finance for public corporations and quasi-corporations and other units owned or controlled by the government, and to arrange investment of their surplus funds.

Change in inventories

The change in the value of inventories over the accounting period.

Change in net worth

The closing value of net worth minus the opening value of net worth.

Classification of the Function of Government - Australia (COFOG-A)

The GFS classification used to classify transactions according to their government purpose (e.g. health, education, defence).

Compensation of employees

The remuneration, in cash or in kind, payable by an enterprise to an employee in return for work done during the accounting period.

Concessional loan

While there is no precise definition of concessional loans in macroeconomic statistics, it is generally accepted that they are loans that occur when public sector units lend to other units and the contractual interest rate is intentionally set below the market interest rate that would otherwise apply.

Consolidation

The process of elimination of all within-sector asset-liability positions, and all transactions between two units of the same sector. Consolidation can be applied to the statistics of any group of units of analytical interest.

Consumption of fixed capital

The decline (during the course of an accounting period) in the value of fixed produced assets owned and used as a result of physical deterioration, normal obsolescence, or normal accidental damage. It is valued in the average prices of the period. To calculate consumption of fixed produced assets, the fixed produced assets purchased in the past and still in use have to be revalued at the average prices of the current period and assumptions have to be made regarding the remaining service lives of each asset and the rate at which their efficiency is expected to diminish.

Contingent liabilities

Obligations that do not arise unless a particular, discrete event(s) occurs in the future.

Control of a corporation

The ability to determine the general corporate policy of the corporation.

Corporation

Entities that are capable of generating a profit or other financial gain for their owners, which are recognised by law as separate legal entities from their owners, and are set up for purposes of engaging in market production.

Coverage

The extent to which the defined scope of a statistical system is actually achieved in practice.

Credit

Accounting entry representing revenue, a decrease in an asset or an increase in a liability.

Current market value

The current exchange value - that is, the value at which goods, services, labour, or assets are exchanged or else could be exchanged for cash (currency or transferable deposits).

Current transfers

Amounts payable or receivable for current purposes for which no economic benefits are receivable or payable in return.

Debit

Accounting entry representing expense, an increase in an asset or a decrease in a liability.

Debt assumption

An agreement between a creditor, a former debtor, and a new debtor, under which the new debtor assumes the former debtor’s outstanding liability to the creditor, and is liable for repayment of debt.

Debt instruments

Financial instruments that typically are created when one unit provides funds or other resources (e.g. goods in the case of trade credit) to a second unit and the second unit agrees to provide a return in the future. Debt instruments consist of all liabilities other than equity including contributed capital and investment fund shares or units.

Depreciation

The accounting process of systematically allocating the cost less estimated residual value of an asset over its expected useful life. Depreciation is used in Australian GFS instead of consumption of fixed capital. Depreciation may deviate considerably from consumption of fixed capital because under general accounting principles, depreciation is calculated using a mixture of valuations (including the current replacement cost of non-financial produced assets), whereas consumption of fixed capital is calculated using the current market value of assets only. The use of depreciation in the Australian GFS instead of consumption of fixed capital has no impact on GFS net lending (+) / net borrowing (-).

Derivatives

See ‘Financial derivatives’.

Dividends

The distributed earnings allocated to public sector units (as the owners of equity), for placing funds at the disposal of corporations.

Dwellings

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.

Economic assets

Resources over which ownership rights are enforced, and from which economic benefits may flow to the owners.

Economic flow

See ‘Flow’.

Economic stocks

See ‘Stocks’.

Economic territory

The geographic territory administered by a government within which persons, goods and capital circulate freely.

Economic Type Framework (ETF)

The Australian GFS classification used to classify economic flows and stocks according to their economic nature.

Economically significant prices

Prices that have a significant influence on the amount producers are willing to supply and purchasers wish to buy.

Economy

A set of resident institutional units.

Equity assets

Financial claims on other entities entitling the holder to a share of the income of the entities and a right to a share of the residual assets of the entities should they be wound up.

Exchanges

Transactions in which one unit provides goods, services, assets or labour to another unit and receives something in return of the same value.

Expenditure

The sum of expenses and the net acquisition of non-financial assets.

Expenses

A decrease in net worth resulting from a transaction.

Explicit contingent liabilities

Legal or contractual financial arrangements that give rise to conditional requirements to make payments of economic value.

Face value

The undiscounted amount of principal to be repaid at (or before) maturity.

Finance lease

A contract under which the lessor, as legal owner of an asset, conveys substantially all risks and rewards of ownership of the asset to the lessee.

Financial asset

Financial assets are assets that are in the form of financial claims on other economic units. They are the counterparts of liabilities of the units on which the claims are held (with the exception of monetary gold in the form of gold bullion held as a reserve asset).

Financial derivatives

Financial instruments that are linked to a specific financial instrument or indicator or commodity, and through which specific financial risks can be traded in financial markets in their own right.

Financial intermediation

A productive activity in which an institutional unit incurs liabilities on its own account for the purpose of acquiring financial assets by engaging in financial transactions on the market.

Financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM)

FISIM measures the service implicitly provided by financial intermediaries, such as banks, on deposit and loan facilities. It is measured as the difference between the interest rates on loans and deposits and a pure or reference rate of interest, multiplied by the level of loans and deposits, respectively.

Fixed produced assets

Produced assets that are used repeatedly, or continuously, in processes of production for more than one year.

Flows

Flows are monetary expressions of economic actions engaged in by units and other events affecting the economic status of units that occur within an accounting period.

General government sector

Institutional sector comprising all government units and non-profit institutions controlled by government.

Government Finance Statistics (GFS)

Statistics relating to public sector stocks and flows.

Government final consumption expenditure

Government use of goods and services for the satisfaction of individual or collective human needs or wants.

Government units

Unique kinds of legal entities established by political processes which have legislative, judicial or executive authority over other institutional units within a given area and which: (i) provide goods and services to the community and/or individuals free of charge or at prices that are not economically significant; and (ii) redistribute income and wealth by means of taxes and other compulsory transfers.

Grants

All transfers other than subsidies.

Gross debt

The stock position in financial claims that require payment(s) of interest and / or principal by the debtor to the creditor at a date (or dates) in the future. Gross debt consists of all liabilities that are debt instruments.

Gross fixed capital formation

The value of acquisitions of new and existing produced assets, other than inventories, less the value of disposals of new or existing produced assets, other than inventories.

Gross operating balance

In the IMF GFS system, total revenue less all expenses except consumption of fixed capital.

Holding gain or loss

A change in the monetary value of an asset or liability resulting from changes in the level and structure of prices, excluding qualitative or quantitative changes in the asset or liability.

Implicit contingent liabilities

Implicit contingent liabilities do not arise from a legal or contractual source, but are recognised after a condition or event is realised.

Institutional sectors

The SNA groupings of all resident institutional units according to their institutional characteristics and functions. There are five institutional sectors: the non-financial corporations sector, the financial corporations sector, the general government sector, the households sector and the non-profit institutions serving households sector.

Institutional unit

An economic entity that is capable, in its own right, of owning assets, incurring liabilities and engaging in economic activities and in transactions with other entities.

Intangible non-financial assets

Patents, copyrights, mineral concessions, and similar non-physical non-financial assets.

Interest

Form of property income earned by making financial assets available to other units which is equal to the amount the debtor becomes liable to pay to the creditor over a given period of time without reducing the amount of the principal outstanding.

International Monetary Fund - (IMF)

International Monetary Fund.

International Monetary Fund Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014 - (IMF GFSM 2014)

International Monetary Fund Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014

Inventories

Stocks of goods held that are intended for sale, use in production, or other use at a later date.

Jurisdiction

The public sector units over which the Commonwealth Government or an individual state or territory government has direct control or, in the case of local government authorities, the government which administers the legislation under which the authority was established.

Land

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.

Land improvements

Land improvements are the result of actions that lead to major improvements in the quantity, quality, or productivity of land, or prevent its deterioration.

Legal owner

The legal owner of resources such as goods and services, natural resources, financial assets, and liabilities is the institutional unit entitled by law and sustainable under the law to claim the benefits associated with the resource.

Level of Government (LOG)

The classification comprising the three tiers of government (national, state and territory, local) for which Australia’s GFS are compiled.

Liabilities

Obligations to provide economic value to another economic unit, including the issued shares and other contributed capital of corporations and the net worth of quasi-corporations.

Local level of government

The level of government of public sector units that have a local role or function i.e. the political authority underlying their functions is limited to a local government area or other region within a state or territory or the functions involve policies that are primarily of concern at a local level.

Market output

Output that is sold at economically significant prices.

Market producer

An institutional unit that provides all or most of its output to others at prices that are economically significant.

Monetary gold

Gold owned by a country’s monetary authorities which is held as a financial asset and is a component of the country's foreign reserves.

Multi-jurisdictional unit

A unit for which jurisdiction is shared between two or more governments, or its classification to jurisdiction is otherwise unclear. The main type of units currently falling in this sector are public universities.

National level of government

The level of government of public sector units that have a national role or function, i.e. the political authority underlying their functions extends over the entire territory of Australia or the functions involve policies that are primarily of concern at a national level (i.e. the consolidated total of the Commonwealth level of government and all multi-jurisdictional units).

Net acquisition of non-financial assets

Gross fixed capital formation less depreciation plus change in inventories plus other transactions in nonfinancial assets.

Net assets

Total assets less total liabilities, shareholders’ funds and other contributed capital.

Net debt

Net debt is equal to gross debt minus the stock position in financial assets corresponding to debt instruments.

Net financial worth

Net financial worth is equal to financial assets minus liabilities. It is a broader measure than net debt in that it incorporates provisions made (such as superannuation, but excluding depreciation and bad debts) as well as holdings of equity. Net financial worth includes all classes of financial assets and liabilities, only some of which are included in net debt.

Net lending / borrowing

The financing requirement of government, calculated as the GFS net operating balance less the net acquisition of non-financial assets. A positive result reflects a net lending position and a negative result reflects a net borrowing position.

Net operating balance

This is calculated as GFS revenue minus GFS expenses. It is equivalent to the change in net worth arising from transactions.

Net worth

A key economic measure of wealth which is calculated as the total value of assets minus the total value of liabilities.

Netting

The process of deducting one set of stocks or flows from another and recording only the difference.

Non-financial assets

Non-financial assets are all economic assets other than financial assets. Non-financial assets are stores of value which provide benefits to owners either through their use in the production of goods and services, or in the form of property income. Non-financial assets have no counterpart liability—that is, the owner of the non-financial asset does not have a claim on another institutional unit. Non-financial assets come into existence as outputs from a production process, or in ways other than processes of production, such as natural occurrences.

Non-financial public sector

The Non-financial Public Sector is a subsector formed by the consolidation of the General Government and Public Non-financial Corporations sectors.

Non-market output

Goods and services that are supplied free or at prices that are not economically significant to other institutional units or the community as a whole.

Non-market producer

An institutional unit who provides all or most of its output to others for free or at prices that are not economically significant.

Non-monetary transactions

Transactions that are not initially stated in units of currency.

Non-produced assets

Assets used for production that have not themselves been produced.

Non-profit institution - (NPI)

A legal or social entity that is created for the purpose of producing or distributing goods and services but is not permitted to be a source of income, profit or financial gain for the units that establish, control or finance it.

Non-profit institution serving households - (NPISH)

An NPI created for the purpose of producing or distributing goods and services to institutional units in the household sector.

Off-market swap

An off -market swap is a swap contract that has a non-zero value at inception as a result of having reference rates priced differently from current market values—that is, “off-the-market”.

One-off guarantees

One-off guarantees comprise those types of guarantees where the debt instrument is so particular that it is not possible to calculate the degree of risk associated with the debt with any degree of accuracy.

Operating lease

A contract for the renting out of produced assets under arrangements that provides the use of the asset to the lessee, but does not involve the transfer of the bulk of risks and rewards of ownership to the lessee.

Original maturity

Original maturity is the period from the issue date until the final contractually scheduled payment date.

Other changes in the volume of assets

Changes in the value of assets, liabilities and net worth arising from events other than transactions and revaluations.

Other economic flows

Changes in the volume or value of an asset or liability that do not result from transactions (i.e. revaluations and other changes in the volume of assets).

Other subsidies on production

Subsidies that producer units receive as a consequence of engaging in production, but are not related to specific products.

Output

Goods and services that are produced within an establishment and become available for use outside that establishment.

Own-account capital formation

When public sector units produce goods or services for their own use rather than purchasing them from other units. This often involves the construction of non-financial produced assets (such as buildings or computer software) using the unit's own materials, labour and expertise.

Produced assets

Non-financial assets that have come into existence as outputs of production processes.

Production

Activity carried out under the control and responsibility of an institutional unit that uses inputs of labour, capital, and goods and services to produce outputs of goods and services.

Property expenses

Current expenses for the use of financial assets or tangible non-produced assets such as land and sub-soil assets (e.g. interest, dividends, land rent).

Property income

Current income accrued from the ownership of financial assets or tangible non-produced assets such as land and sub-soil assets (e.g. interest, dividends, land rent).

Public corporations

Resident government controlled corporations and quasi-corporations that are created for the purpose of producing goods and services for the market and may be a source of profit or other financial gain to their owner(s).

Public financial corporations

Resident government controlled corporations and quasi-corporations mainly engaged in financial intermediation or provision of auxiliary financial services.

Public non-financial corporations

Resident government controlled corporations and quasi-corporations mainly engaged in the production of market goods and/or non-financial services.

Public sector

The combination of the general government sector, the public non-financial corporations and the public financial corporations.

Quasi-corporation

An unincorporated enterprise that functions as if it were a corporation, has the same relationship with its owner as a corporation, and keeps a separate set of accounts (or it is possible and economically meaningful to construct a set of accounts).

Quasi-fiscal activities

Functions of governments performed by units outside the general government sector.

Rent

A form of property income and expense payable to the owners of a natural resource (the lessor or landlord) for putting the natural resource at the disposal of another institutional unit (lessee or tenant) for use of the natural resource in production.

Requited transactions

Transactions in which each transactor receives something of economic value.

Resident unit

A unit with a centre of economic interest in the economic territory of the country.

Resource lease

An agreement whereby the legal owner of a natural resource (that macroeconomic statistics treat as having an infinite life) makes it available to a lessee in return for a regular payment recorded as property income and described as rent.

Revaluations

Changes in the current market value of an asset or liability resulting from changes in the level and structure of prices, assuming that the asset or liability has not changed qualitatively or quantitatively. These are also known as holding gains and losses.

Revenue(s)

Transactions that increase net worth.

Scope

The group of statistical units that defines the intended boundary of a statistical system.

Seigniorage

The profit earned by a government on the issue of coins and notes (i.e. the difference between the face value of coins and notes and the costs of their production).

Special drawing rights (SDRS)

International reserve assets created by the IMF and allocated to its members to supplement existing reserve assets.

Standardised guarantees

Those kinds of guarantees that are issued in large numbers, usually for fairly small amounts, along identical lines.

State / territory level of government

The level of government of public sector units that have a state or territory role or function, i.e. the political authority underlying their functions is limited to a state or territory or the functions involve policies that are primarily of concern at a state or territory level.

Statement of operations

The GFS financial statement that records details of transactions in GFS revenues, GFS expenses and the net acquisition of non-financial assets for an accounting period. GFS revenues are broadly defined as transactions that increase net worth, and GFS expenses as transactions that decrease net worth. Net acquisition of non-financial assets equals gross fixed capital formation, less depreciation, plus changes in inventories plus other transactions in non-financial assets. Two key GFS analytical balances in the statement of operations are GFS Net Operating Balance (NOB) and GFS Net Lending(+) / Borrowing(-).

Statement of sources and uses of cash

The GFS financial statement that records the total amount of cash generated through the operating activities of the government during the current period, and includes transactions in non-financial assets settled in cash and transactions involving financial assets and liabilities settled in cash. The statement of sources and uses of cash essentially records when cash is received by the government and when cash is paid by the government during an accounting period.

Statement of stocks and flows

The GFS financial statement that records: (i) the opening balance sheet values of assets and liabilities; (ii) the changes to the assets and liabilities arising from transactions, revaluations and other volume changes; and (iii) the resultant closing balance sheet values of assets and liabilities.

Statistical units

Units about which statistics are tabulated, compiled or published.

Statutory authority

An entity established by the Australian Constitution or by an Act of Parliament of the Commonwealth or one of the states or territories.

Stocks

An institutional unit’s assets, liabilities, shareholders’ funds and other contributed capital at a point in time.

Subsidies

Current transfers that government units make to enterprises either on the basis of the levels of their production activities or on the basis of the quantities or values of the goods or services that they produce, sell or import.

Subsidies on products

A subsidy payable to producer units per unit of good or service.

Surplus / deficit

Analytical balance in the GFS statement of sources and uses of cash that is derived as net cash flows from operating activities plus net cash from investments in non-financial assets.

Tax credit

An amount subtracted directly from the tax liability due by beneficiary households or corporations after the liability has been computed. Non-payable tax credits are limited to the size of the tax liability and recorded on a net basis as a reduction in the appropriate tax category. Payable tax credits are not limited to the size of the tax liability and recorded on a gross basis as a current transfer expense.

Taxes

Compulsory, unrequited transfers to the general government sector.

Transactions

Interactions between two institutional units by mutual agreement or actions within a unit that it is analytically useful to treat as transactions.

Transfers

Transactions in which one unit provides goods, services, assets or labour to another unit and receives nothing in return.

Use of goods and services

The total value of goods and services used for the production of market and non-market goods and services.

Valuables

Produced assets that are not used primarily for purposes of production or consumption, but are held as stores of value over time.

Weapons systems

Weapons systems include vehicles and other equipment such as warships, submarines, military aircraft, tanks, missile carriers and launchers, etc.