Quarterly sector accounts: documentation of statistics
Basic data of the statistics
The national accounts population of a country consists of all resident statistical units (institutional units or local KAUs, see Section 3.5). A unit is a resident unit of a country when it has a centre of predominant economic interest on the economic territory of that country, that is, when it engages for an extended period (one year or more) in economic activities on this territory.
The Classification of Sectors is a basic classification (https://www2.stat.fi/en/luokitukset/sektoriluokitus/sektoriluokitus_1_20130101/) applied in economic and social statistics for the classification of the activities, financing modes, owner types and legal forms of decision-making units into equivalent categories. The sectors (non-financial corporations, general government, households, etc.) formed with the help of the classification are sufficiently similar in their economic behaviour for national economic monitoring and analysis.
In the Classification of Sectors, the units are divided into different sectors on the basis of ownership, purpose of activity and financing mode, while in the Standard Industrial Classification, the units are grouped under one main industry irrespective of ownership or the purpose of activity. For example, in the Standard Industrial Classification, units providing education services are grouped under one main industry, while in the Classification of Sectors, they are categorised according to ownership, legal form and nature of activity into non-financial corporations, general government, and non-profit institutions serving households. On the other hand, a unit belonging to one sector may be engaged in economic activities in several industries, for example, a municipality has units belonging to the industries of public administration, education and health and social services.
The sector level is needed as the main summation level between the economic units and the total economy when describing output, income formation, secondary distribution of income, accumulation, and the structure and development of financing of enterprises, general government and households.)
An institutional unit is an economic entity characterised by decision-making autonomy in the exercise of its principal function. A resident unit is regarded as constituting an institutional unit in the economic territory where it has its centre of predominant economic interest if it has decision-making autonomy and either keeps a complete set of accounts, or is able to compile a complete set of accounts.
A local KAU groups all the parts of an institutional unit in its capacity as producer, which are located in a single site or in closely located sites, and which contribute to the performance of an activity at the class level (four digits) of the NACE Rec.2.
An institutional unit comprises one or more local KAUs; a local KAU belongs to one and only one institutional unit.
Finland uses 1) an institutional unit in sector accounts and 2) an establishment that corresponds to a local KAU in production accounts, investments, and supply and use tables. Of the latter, production accounts and investments are also included in sector accounts and thus also in the statistics on quarterly sector accounts.
Unit of measure
Sector accounts are calculated only at current prices. Some of the data are also seasonally adjusted. However, for households’ adjusted disposable income, a volume indicator describing the development adjusted for change in prices has been calculated in a separate appendix table. This volume indicator has been calculated using the price data of the quarterly national accounts statistics, with which the components of the adjusted disposable income have been deflated. Households’ disposable income is deflated by the implicit price index of households’ consumption expenditure. The unit of measure used for seasonally adjusted and seasonally unadjusted data is EUR million.
The publication also includes key figures of sector accounts. The unit of measure for the key figures is a percentage.
In Finland, national accounts have been compiled in accordance with the ESA 2010 system since July 2014. This transition to ESA 2010 also applies to the statistics on quarterly sector accounts.
In sector accounts, the economy is divided into institutional sectors. The sector classification is comprehensive. Concerning the institutional sector breakdown, ESA 2010 distinguishes five mutually exclusive domestic institutional sectors: (a) non-financial corporations; (b) financial corporations; (c) general government; (d) households; (e) non-profit institutions serving households. The five sectors together make up the total domestic economy. Each sector is also divided into subsectors.
Finland disseminates data using the classifications of the ESA 2010 transmission programme. There are typically more breakdowns in the national production systems. The most significant national subcategories are sector 1314 subsectors S13141 Employment pension schemes and S13149 Other social security institutions.
Frequency of dissemination
All data are published nationally and also transmitted to Eurostat following an update. Data are published both as a statistical release and as a statistical database update.
Compensation of employees is broken down into:
a) wages and salaries (D.11): wages and salaries in cash; wages and salaries in kind;
b) employers’ social contributions (D.12): employers’ actual social contributions (D.121); employers’ imputed social contributions (D.122).
Consumption of fixed capital should be distinguished from the depreciation shown in business accounts. It refers to the amount of fixed assets used up, during the period under consideration. It should be estimated on the basis of the stock of fixed assets and the probable average economic life of the different categories of those goods.
Adjusted disposable income is a corresponding item in the redistribution of income in kind account.
- property income receivable in connection with financial and other assets belonging to the enterprise (on the resources side);
- interest on debts payable by the enterprise and rents payable on land and other non-produced tangible assets rented by the enterprise (on the uses side).
Property income payable in the form of dividends or reinvested earnings on direct foreign investment is not deducted from entrepreneurial income.
Products used for intermediate consumption should be recorded and valued at the time they enter the process of production. They are to be valued at the purchasers’ prices for similar goods or services at that time.
Net lending/borrowing corresponds to the amount available to a unit or sec-tor for financing, directly or indirectly, other units or sectors, or the amount which a unit or sector is obliged to borrow from other units or sectors.
The corresponding concept to net lending/borrowing in financial accounts is financial transactions, net. It is the difference between net acquisition of fi-nancial assets and liabilities. If a sector acquires financial assets in excess of the amount of new debt incurred during the period it is a net lender.
the operating surplus of the direct foreign investment enterprise
+ any property incomes or current transfers receivable
- any property incomes or current transfers payable, including actual remittances to foreign direct investors and any current taxes payable on the income, wealth, etc., of the direct foreign investment enterprise.
A direct foreign investment enterprise is an incorporated or unincorporated enterprise in which an investor resident in another economy owns 10 per cent or more of the ordinary shares or voting power (for an incorporated enterprise) or the equivalent (for an unincorporated enterprise). Direct foreign investment enterprises comprise those entities that are identified as subsidiaries (investor owns more than 50 per cent), associates (investor owns 50 per cent or less) and branches (wholly or jointly owned unincorporated enterprises), either directly or indirectly owned by the investor. Consequently, ‘direct foreign investment enterprises’ is a broader concept than ‘foreign controlled corporations’.
Actual distributions may be made out of the entrepreneurial income of direct foreign investment enterprises in the form of dividends or withdrawals of income from quasi-corporations.
In addition, retained earnings are treated as if they were distributed and remitted to foreign direct investors in proportion to their ownership of the equity of the enterprise and then reinvested by them.
Reinvested earnings on direct foreign investment can be either positive or negative.
Time of recording: Reinvested earnings on direct foreign investment are recorded when they are earned.
In the system of accounts, reinvested earnings on direct foreign investment appear:
a) among uses and resources in the allocation of primary income account of the sectors;
b) among uses and resources in the external account of primary incomes and current transfers.
Accuracy, reliability and timeliness
Therefore, the quality of the source statistics is crucial for the reliability of the statistics. Because there are different types of source statistics, there are also various uncertainty factors. In the summary process, sector-specific data are adjusted into a balanced whole. The reliability of alternative data sources is evaluated in the process. This helps to manage uncertainty factors and reveal sources of error. The summary plays a key role in the reliability of the statistics. One way to assess the accuracy of non-financial accounts is to examine non-financial entries relative to entries on national financial accounts. Net lending is a balancing item of (non-financial) sector accounts, which must match the item net financial transactions included in financial accounts. A deviation is called statistical discrepancy that can be viewed by sector. In many other countries statistical discrepancy is not shown but accounts are forced into balance.
The revision table shows the order of magnitude of the revisions.
Quarterly sector accounts are published for approximately three months after the end of each quarter. The Eurostat reporting schedule is t+85 days relative to the reference period. The data are preliminary and will become revised each time a new publication is released. The data are benchmarked to correspond with the latest annual accounts data.
National accounts data transmissions in the framework of the ESA 2010 transmission programme should be punctually delivered to Eurostat on the date set out in the transmission programme (or before).
Statistics Finland frequently transmits data to Eurostat ahead of the legal deadlines.
Comparability - geographical
Comparability - over time
Coherence - cross domain
Seasonally adjusted time series and trend series are calculated directly from the original time series using a simple technique, and they will not be later balanced or benchmarked to quarterly accounts data. Therefore, due to the possible differences in seasonal adjustment models, the data of the statistics in these series may differ from the data of quarterly national accounts. The statistics on quarterly national accounts provide the most accurate data for seasonally adjusted series and trend series when examining the aggregates of the total economy such as gross domestic product.
Instead of balancing the net lending/borrowing reflecting the change in the financial position of sectors with the corresponding concept used in financial accounts, i.e. net financial transactions, a statistical difference between these items is allowed.
Source data and data collections
It relies on a variety of data sources, including administrative data: car and business registers, accounting statements, tax data, budgetary reports, population censuses, statistical surveys of enterprises and households, statements of supervising institutions and branch organisations, annual and quarterly reports, trade statistics on goods and services, balance of payments information.
There is no single survey source for national accounts. Sources vary from country to country and provide statistical information on a large set of economic, social, financial and environmental phenomena, which may not be strictly related to national accounts.
Sources and collection methods used in each country vary depending on the specific dataset.
Overall, it is difficult to be exhaustive in the listing of data sources. Methodological descriptions provided to Eurostat usually include information on the main data sources used (see Section Method descriptions). Further information on data sources can be found on the national websites (https://tilastokeskus.fi/til/index_en.html).
Frequency of data collection
National accounts typically receive/collect quarterly and annual data according to their compilation schedules. Statistical offices of countries can provide a description of the time of receiving external data.
Key approaches and techniques for the compilation of national accounts can be summarised as follows:
The leading approach to compile GDP in the framework of annual national accounts in Finland is the production or value-added approach.
Consistency is obtained via the benchmarking/balancing process. Certain items, such as changes in current assets and valuables or gross operating surplus and mixed income are derived as residuals. The same approach is applied to the compilation of quarterly national accounts. Sector accounts are compiled both together with main aggregates and afterwards. National accounts statistics are consistent although at a given moment.
For related information also see Sections 10.6. and 17.1.
Once the time series for the quarterly sector accounts statistics are calculated, they are seasonally adjusted by using the Tramo/Seats method.
Transactions are seasonally adjusted at a slightly less detailed level than the original transaction. The seasonal adjustment method used is indirect. This means that transactions are first seasonally adjusted, after which balancing items, such as disposable income and savings, are calculated by using these seasonally adjusted sub-items. After this, seasonally adjusted series and trend series are no longer balanced at present, but an imbalance between the resources and use of transactions is allowed. The database table contains the original series, seasonally adjusted time series and trend series. Further information on seasonal adjustment.
Sector accounts are calculated only at current prices. However, for households’ adjusted disposable income, a volume indicator describing the development adjusted for change in prices has been calculated in a separate appendix table. This volume indicator has been calculated using the price data of the quarterly national accounts statistics, with which the components of the adjusted disposable income have been deflated. Households’ disposable income is deflated by the implicit price index of households’ consumption expenditure. Price data are also available on the consumption of non-profit institutions serving households. A methodological shortcoming is that, in the absence of more precise data, the individual consumption expenditure of general government must be deflated by the price index of total public expenditure. The volume time series has been formed by using the annual overlap method.
The aim of the European Statistical System (ESS) is currently to harmonise validation methods to improve the overall quality of data and the efficiency of data flows. This includes the definition of common standards and tools and support for implementation (see the ESS validation website at https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/data-validation). National accounts are a pilot in this area. The ESA 2010 Validation Task Force was set up in 2015 to agree and document validation rules in an ESA 2010 validation handbook and progressively implement them in a pre-validation service for national accounts data.
The comparison of data from different sources is an integral part of the national accounts compilation. Source data used in national accounts undergo a sequence of checks at Statistics Finland.
Principles and outlines
Contact organisation unit
Legal acts and other agreements
The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics.
Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States.
Further information: Statistical legislation
Confidentiality - policy
The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable.
Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)
Confidentiality - data treatment
The data submitted are flagged either by ‘N= not for publication before embargo date’ or ‘F=free’.
Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service.
Further information: Publication principles for statistics at Statistics Finland
Data are transmitted via Eurostat to other international organisations. The data content of the statistics is reported to Eurostat on the national release day in the SDMX format. In the national publication, the data content of the StatFin tables is in line with PxPro format.
Accessibility and clarity
Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.
In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases.
Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.
Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service.The quarterly sector accounts statistics and database tables are published on Statistics Finland’s website. In addition, the data are available from the Astika database. The data content of the statistics is reported to Eurostat on the national release day in the SDMX format.
Data revision - policy
Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions.
The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before.
Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data.
Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The frameworks complement each other. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are also compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice.
Further information: Quality management | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)
Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published.
Further information: Publication principles for statistics
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