Responding to the Economic Activity Survey

The Economic Activity Survey (EAS) is conducted every year in order to collect the most up-to date data on the economic health of Australian industries. Your participation in EAS is essential to the compilation of the Australian National Accounts including Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures. By completing this survey, you help to ensure the results truly reflect the current state of your industry. 

About the EAS
The EAS includes a large sample of businesses across Australia, varying in size and industry, to best reflect the Australian economy. Small businesses have different characteristics from large or medium size businesses and make an important contribution to the Australian economy. Please see the EAS survey FAQ's below for more information about why your business was selected.






Thank you for your participation.
We acknowledge and value your time and effort participating in this survey. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform important decisions affecting your industry.

Need help completing your EAS?
  • For assistance with completing the EAS questions, please refer to the industry help pages below or contact us on 1800 010 223 during business hours for further help.
  • You can also use our online Business Survey Contact Form to outline the details of your situation and we will be in touch. 

ABS analysts may contact your business in the future to ask questions about the data you provide to us. To avoid us having to call you back with follow-up queries, please see suggested hints and tips on completing your EAS form.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


HOW TO COMPLETE THE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY SURVEY QUESTIONS

 Choose from the list below for help relating to your industry: 

    For information about how to complete your survey in accordance with AASB 16 and AASB 15 accounting standards, refer to AASB 16 and 15 help page.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
    How do I create a Survey Account?
    For assistance completing your survey online, refer to Survey Account Help.

    Why has my business been selected for EAS?
    Your business was included as part of a selected group of businesses or organisations that represent the wider Australian business community. Businesses or organisations of a range of sizes are included so that the information collected, and statistics produced, are reflective of all businesses in the Australian economy. Businesses in the sample are randomly selected to represent other businesses with similar characteristics, such as income or number of employees. Some businesses must be included in the sample because they contribute substantially to their particular industry, region or group.

    How long will I need to participate in this survey?
    The length of time that a business or organisation is selected in any particular survey will depend on factors such as the size of the business or organisation, the number of businesses or organisations with similar characteristics, and how significant the activities of the business or organisations are to the overall results.

    Larger businesses or organisations have a high chance of selection in multiple ABS business surveys. Due to their significant contribution to the overall survey results, they will usually remain in a survey on an ongoing basis.

    Smaller businesses or organisations have a lower chance of selection and will usually be included in EAS for three years at a time. However, there are exceptions to this rule and some small businesses or organisations could need to stay in longer than three years, particularly if the business or organisation has a significant impact on measurement of economic activity, for example due to it's type or location.

    What questions are asked in the EAS?
    EAS includes questions on employment, income and expenditure, profit or loss, inventories and capital expenditure. Additional transport questions are also included on the EAS to capture primary transport activity (for Transport, Postal and Warehousing industries) and secondary transport activity in all other industries during the 2020-21 reference period. Results are released as part of the annual ABS Australian Industry publication in mid 2022.

    Why does the form have questions that don't apply to me?
    The form you receive for the EAS is based on the main industry of your business, according to the ABS Business Register. The vast majority of the questions asked on the EAS are the same for all industries (with minor exceptions). If your EAS form has some questions which don't apply to you or your industry, you should still complete the survey where applicable, noting your correct business activity in the survey form. This will help to ensure the data you report will contribute to the correct industry.

    For most sections of the survey, there is a response option for 'Other' and you will be able to report your information here. You will still need to specify the nature of these "Other" items. There is also a comments section at the end of the survey which you may wish to use to provide further details about your business.

    How is the information from this survey used? Why is it important?
    The ABS provides statistics free-of-charge. EAS statistics are published annually in Australian Industry and EAS data is also a critical source flowing into the Australian System of National Accounts statistics. The Australian System of National Accounts covers important economic measures including GDP, investment, and capital stock.

    EAS is a vital source of information on businesses like yours, and enables industry, business and government to make informed decisions which may assist your community or business going forward.

    The ABS is also regularly releasing additional information to enhance understanding of the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Refer to Measuring the impacts of COVID-19 for more information. 

    Isn't the information you're asking for available elsewhere?
    Not yet. However, the ABS is working with industry bodies and other government departments to make better use of available information sources so that we can request less of you in the future.

    Do we have to answer the questions?
    Yes. Under the Census and Statistics Act 1905, you are obliged to provide the information requested by the ABS. We understand this is a difficult time and we are here to help. We conduct follow-up of delayed response and we will assist you if you are having difficulties.

    Why can't we see the figures we provided last time in the current survey form?
    Due to strict privacy policy guidelines protecting the information submitted by our data providers, we create new survey forms that do not contain previously submitted data.

    What can I do to reduce the need for ABS to contact me with further enquiries?
    The purpose of this checklist is to assist you, to check the information which you have supplied in the survey before submitting it to ABS. Use of the checklist may reduce the need for us to contact you with further enquiries. The points covered reflect some of the most common reporting errors.

    Employment
    • Are the reported numbers a headcount of persons working for the business? (Should not be FTE)
    • Have you reported only those who worked for the business in the last pay period ending in June 2021?
    • Working proprietors and partners should only be reported for an unincorporated business, not if the business is incorporated (e.g. Pty Ltd).

    Financial information
    • Are all reported financial items reported in $'000s (thousands)? For example, if business income for the year were $123,456, it should be reported as 123 on the survey.
    • Have the nature and amount of the main components of 'Other...' items been provided in Other Income and Other operating expenses?
    • If income from sales of goods produced by the business has been reported, have associated purchases been reported correctly, i.e. as Purchases of materials, components, containers, packaging materials, electricity, fuels and water?
    • If income from sales of goods not produced by the business has been reported, have associated purchases been reported correctly, i.e. as Purchases of finished goods for resale?
    • Have the values of both opening and closing inventories been reported, where applicable?
    • If cost of capital assets developed in-house by employees of this business/organisation is reported, the value must be less than or equal to the sum of Capital expenditure items.

    Other information
    • Have you provided comments on any unusual movements regarding the information you have supplied. By taking the opportunity to do this you will enhance the value of the data you supply as well as minimising the chance of ABS staff being required to call you directly for clarification.
    • Have you provided an estimate of the time taken to complete this survey? (Please note that we use the time taken information to help us to design effective surveys while minimising the burden on our providers.)

    Do we still need to complete the survey if the business sold before the beginning of, or during the reference period?
    Please complete your survey form with comments indicating the sale of the entity and the date of the sale. If the business operated by the selected entity (e.g. ABN) was sold during the reference period, then the survey should be completed using figures up to, and including, the day that the business was sold, as well as figures relating to any other new activity undertaken by the selected entity for the remainder of the financial year. Please also provide the name of the new business owners.

    Do we still need to complete the survey if the business is still operating but didn't trade during the reference period?
    You will still need to submit your survey with comments stating that your business/organisation did not trade this year. You do not need to include any figures or zero values.

    Do we still need to complete the survey if the business has gone into liquidation or administration during the reference period?
    Please complete the survey using figures up to, and including, the day that the business was liquidated or went into administration. It is also important to report the date that this occurred.

    If you are unable to access the accounts, then the liquidator or administrator should complete the survey. Where this is not possible, best available estimates of the data should be provided. It is acceptable to provide an estimate based on a percentage change from the previous year’s figures. Where estimates are not possible, or the business did not trade during the reference period, please call us on 1800 010 223 and one of our team will be happy to assist you.

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