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Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The data content of the annual national accounts has been compiled according to the definitions and guidelines of the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010).

The national accounts provide data for the total economy, but also include breakdowns of the total economy (into sectors,
industries, products, regions, etc.). The national accounts include data from several different statistics: annual and quarterly national accounts (main aggregates), sector accounts, financial accounts, supply and use tables as well as input-output tables, regional accounts, productivity (work, capital and total productivity) and general government.

One of the main aggregates of national accounts is gross domestic product (GDP) from which the impact of price changes has been eliminated. It describes the economic development of a country or region. It is also referred to as the economic growth rate or percentage.

In the Eurostat database, the data of different countries are presented according to a common structure.
Regional accounts comprise the same set of accounts as the national accounts, in that they make regional economic structures, developments and differences visible. Conceptual and measurement problems result in a set of accounts for regions which are more limited in scope and detail than the national accounts.

The tables on regional production activities show:
  • The size and the dynamic of production and employment by region
  • The contribution of regions to national aggregates
  • The specialisation of each region
  • The role of the various regions for each industry.
Regional household income accounts show primary and disposable household income by region, as well as the sources and distribution of income amongst regions.

Statistical population

The national accounts population of a country consists of all resident statistical units (institutional units or local KAUs, see Section Statistical Unit). 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.

National accounts are exhaustive. This means that all resident statistical units are covered.

The statistical population of regional accounts is the same as in national accounts. The statistical population covers all local statistical units. A unit is a resident local unit when it has a principal activity in a region of the country in question. In addition, regional accounts include the activity of the separate extraregio territory (see Section Concepts).

Statistical unit

Following the ESA 2010 guidelines, in national accounts two types of units and two corresponding ways of subdividing the economy are used: (a) institutional unit; (b) local kind-of-activity unit (local KAU). The first type is used for describing income, expenditure and financial flows as well as balance sheets. The latter type is used for the description of production processes, for input-output analysis and for regional analysis.

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 applies 1) an institutional unit in sector accounts, 2) an establishment that corresponds to a local KAU, used in production accounts, investments and in supply and use tables.

Regional accounts use both an establishment and an institutional unit as the statistical unit. The statistical unit used in the regional accounts of production and employment is an establishment for which a unique residence and industry can be found.

The statistical unit used in the regional accounts of households, on the other hand, is an institutional unit, i.e. a household. A household is a uniregional institutional unit allocated to the region in which it has its centre of predominant economic interest.

Unit of measure

Under the ESA 2010 system, all flows and stocks are measured in monetary terms, either in euro or in national currencies. Only some demographic-related and labour-related variables, expressed in terms of persons, hours or jobs, are exempted. Flows and stocks must be measured according to their exchange value, i.e. the value at which flows and stocks are in fact, or could be, exchanged for cash. Market prices are, thus, the ESA’s reference for valuation.

In addition to measurement in current (market)prices, some national accounts variables are also expressed in previous year's prices and chain-linked volumes (see Section Base Period). Furthermore, it is possible to derive growth rates and indices, and various other measures (e.g. percentages, per capita data, data expressed in purchasing power standards) can be applied as well.

Base period

The concept of ‘base period’ is not applied in national accounts. Instead, for some national accounts variables the concepts of previous year prices and chain-linked volumes are applied, as stipulated in Commission Decision 98/715/EC. Expressing variables at the prices of the previous year allows the calculation of volume indices between the current time period and the previous year. After a reference period is chosen as a benchmark, volume indices can be chain-linked and then applied to variables at current prices of the benchmark year. This generates volume estimates for any period of observation.

Finland currently uses 2010 as the reference year for the compilation of chain-linked volumes.

Reference period

The usual reference period to be used for presenting national accounts data is the calendar year for annual data and the quarter for quarterly data.

Two basic kinds of information are recorded: flows and stocks. Flows refer to actions and effects of events that take place within a given period of time, while stocks refer to positions at a point of time (usually the beginning or the end of a year or quarter).

Reference area

The reference area for national accounts is the total economy of a country. The total economy of a country can be divided into regions. The NUTS classification is a single, uniform breakdown of the economic territory of the member states of the EU.

Sector coverage

National accounts describe the total economy of a country. All units that have their centre of predominant economic interest in the economic territory of that country are covered.

In addition, several breakdowns of the total are described. Two of the most important are breakdown by institutional sector and breakdown by NACE Rev. 2 activity. Exhaustiveness is required for each of the subcategories.

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 sub-sectors.
Regarding the activity breakdown, ESA 2010 applies NACE Rev.2. Activities can be broken down into several levels of detail, for example into 3, 10, 21, 38, 64 or 88 activities. At the 'highest' level a breakdown into three categories is defined: (a) agriculture, forestry and fishing; (b) mining and quarrying, manufacturing, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply, water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities, construction; (c) services.

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 supplementary items used in national publications compared to the ESA transmission programme in terms of regional accounts are: 
  • The data are published by NUTS 3 regions and by NUTS 2 major regions (these are transmitted to Eurostat) and nationally, in more detail, by sub-regional unit.

Time coverage

National accounts are usually compiled for a year and for quarters.

In general, the ESA 2010 transmission programme requires data starting in 1995 (years) and 1995Q1 (quarters) but some series start later. If backwards data exist, they may have been compiled according to earlier versions of ESA and can present conceptual breaks with those compiled under ESA 2010.

The current time series of regional accounts is published from 2000 onwards. The archives (available in Finnish) contain data from 1975 onwards in terms of production accounts and from 1995 onwards in terms of regional household accounts.

Frequency of dissemination

New quarterly national accounts data are published each quarter: four times per year. However, depending on circumstances and national practices, initially released quarterly national accounts data may be revised and disseminated again. Annual national accounts are published at least once a year, when data for a new year are added. But, depending on country practices and revision policy, annual data can also be published more often, e.g. publication of a provisional estimate early in the calendar year and a revised one later in the calendar year.

The data of regional accounts have been published annually as of June 2019 as follows:
  •   Preliminary data t+12 days, updated data t+24 months.
All data are published and transmitted to Eurostat always when they become updated. Data are published both as a statistical release and as a statistical database update.


Ancillary establishment

An ancillary establishment produces services (in exceptional cases also goods such as additives and materials) mainly for the enterprise or an enterprise-type unit itself. Ancillary activities are nearly always a prerequisite for performing principal and secondary activities. The industry of the ancillary establishment is defined according to the principal activity it serves.

Ancillary establishments can be e.g. the head or district office or other such administrative office, a separate transport unit, a repair shop for the enterprise's own vehicles, a warehouse or a data processing unit. If such functions take place in the same establishment as normal production, they are usually not considered to be ancillary establishments.

In regional and industrial statistics on manufacturing also a power plant linked to an industrial establishment producing energy for the establishment or enterprise and a separate research and development unit linked to an industrial establishment are regarded as ancillary establishments.

At current prices

At nominal prices prevailing at each point.

Base year

The normal base period in national accounts is one year. Constant price data are expressed in base year prices. The base year can either be fixed (i.e. changed every five years) or variable, meaning that the previous year's weights are used. Variable base year (i.e. the previous year) is recommended for use in constant price calculations.
There is an important conceptual difference between base year and reference year. Any year can be assigned as reference year without necessitating a change of weights (in price and volume series), but the weights used in a series are always those of the base year. One can assign any year in an index the value of 100 - or use data for a year of one's choosing as the level to which a volume series is linked to - without having to change the weights. This entails the use of a reference year.

ESA 1995 10.64.- 10.67.:

Chain indices that use Laspeyres volume indices to measure changes in volume and Paasche price indices to measure year to year price movements provide acceptable alternatives to Fisher indices.

Although the preferred measure of volume and price is a chain index, it must be recognised that the lack of additive consistency can be a serious disadvantage for many types of analysis.

It is therefore recommended that disaggregated constant price data, i.e. direct valuation of current quantities at base-year prices, are compiled in addition to the chain indices for the main aggregates.

Estimating accounts data in constant prices has to be done at the finest level of detail possible if the data are to be consistent within the framework of an integrated system of price and volume measures. The supply and use tables form the central, conceptual and statistical framework for all the measures at constant prices. Additional data are found in supplementary tables.

Constant price series have nevertheless to be rebased in the course of time. The ESA has adopted the principle of changing the base year every five years as from 1995. When the base year is changed it is customary to link the data on the old base to the date on the new base rather than to carry the rebasing backwards. When the base year is updated additivity is lost as a result of linking.

When base year values are extrapolated by chain volume indices, it will have to be explained to users why there is no additivity in the tables.

The non-additive "constant price" data is published without any adjustment. This method is transparent and indicates to users the extent of the problem.

This does not preclude the possibility that there may be circumstances in which compilers may judge it preferable to eliminate the discrepancies in order to improve the overall consistency of the data.

Basic price

Basic price is a price concept in the national accounts. The basic price is the price receivable by the producers from the purchaser for a unit of a good or service produced as output, minus any tax payable on that unit as a consequence of its production or sale (i.e. taxes on products), plus any subsidy receivable on that unit as a consequence of its production or sale (i.e. subsidies on products). It excludes any transport charges invoiced separately by the producer. It includes any transport margins charged by the producer on the same invoice, even when they are included as a separate item on the invoice. (subsidies on products).

Capital taxes

Capital taxes (D.91) consist of taxes levied at irregular and very infrequent intervals on the values of the assets or net worth owned by institutional units or on the values of assets transferred between institutional units as a result of legacies, gifts between individuals or other transfers (e.g. inheritance tax, death duty and gift tax).

Compensation of employees

Compensation of employees is defined as the total remuneration, in cash or in kind, payable by an employer to the employee in return for work done by the latter during the accounting period. In regional household accounts compensation of employees is calculated for regions according to the location of the household.

Compensation of employees is broken down into:
a) wages and salaries: wages and salaries in cash; wages and salaries in kind
b) employers' social contributions: employers actual social contributions; employers imputed social contributions.

Consumption of fixed capital

Consumption of fixed capital (P.51C) represents the amount of fixed assets used up, during the period under consideration. Consumption is the result of normal wear and tear and foreseeable obsolescence, including a provision for losses of fixed assets as a result of accidental damage which can be insured against.

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.

ESA 2010

ESA 2010 = European System of Accounts 2010, the EU's revised Regulation that steers the compilation of economic statistics.

Economic territory

The term economic territory means
a) the geographic territory administered by a government within which persons, goods, services and capital move freely
b) any free zones, including bonded warehouses and factories under customs control
c) the national air-space, territorial waters and the continental shelf lying in international waters, over which the country enjoys exclusive rights
d) territorial enclaves (i.e. geographic territories situated in the rest of the world and used, under international treaties or agreements between states, by general government agencies of the country (embassies, consulates, military bases, scientific bases etc.)
e) deposits of oil natural gas, etc. in international waters outside the continental shelf of the country, worked by units resident in the territory as defined in the preceding sub-paragraphs.

The economic territory does not include extraterrestrial enclaves (i.e. the parts of the country's own geographic territory used by general government agencies of other countries, by the Institutions of the European Union or by international organisations under international treaties or agreements between states).

The nomenclature of territorial units for statistics (NUTS) provides a single, uniform breakdown of the economic territory of the European Union. NUTS is the territorial breakdown for compiling regional accounts.


Employees are defined as all persons who, by agreement, work for another resident institutional unit and receive a remuneration.

Employees are classified here if they are not also in self-employment which constitutes their principal activity: in that case they are classified under self employed persons. (ESA 1995 11.12)


Employment covers all persons – both employees and self-employed – engaged in some productive activity that falls within the production boundary of the system.

Entrepreneurial income

In national accounts, entrepreneurial income corresponds to the operating surplus or mixed income:
- 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.

Extraregio territory

The economic territory of a country can be broken down into regional and extraregio territory.

The extraregio territory is made up of parts of the economic territory of a country which cannot be attached directly to a single region.

The extraregio territory consists of, among others, national air-space, territorial waters and the continental shelf lying in international waters over which the country enjoys exclusive rights; territorial enclaves, embassies, consulates, military and scientific bases; deposits of energy and natural resources outside the continental shelf of the country, worked by resident units.

The nomenclature of territorial units for statistics (NUTS) provides a single, uniform breakdown of the economic territory of the European Union. NUTS is the territorial breakdown for compiling regional accounts.

Financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM)

FISIM refers to indirect financial intermediation services produced by providers of financial intermediation services (deposit banks, other monetary financial institutions practising financial intermediation, and other monetary financial institutions) but not charged separately to the customers. Institutions that practise financial intermediation services provide services for which they charge their customers indirectly by means of paying their depositors interest at a lower rate than the rate that the institutions charge their borrowers (interest rate margin). The interest rate margin covers the other expenses of the activity and produces a surplus. In national accounts, the result of this activity must be measured indirectly, which explains why the phenomenon is referred to as "indirect financial intermediation services". The English abbreviation FISIM (financial intermediation services indirectly measured) is frequently used in Finnish and Swedish texts.

GEP-deviation indicator

GEP: Gross value added (GVA), Employment and Population.

The GEP-deviation indicator is calculated from the three above mentioned components by comparing regional growth percentages to those of the whole country and by adding up the differences in data for the whole country and the regions.

Gross domestic product

GDP, gross domestic product at market prices is the final result of the production activity of resident producer units. It can be defined in three ways: as the sum of gross value added of the various institutional sectors or the various industries plus taxes and less subsidies on products; as the sum of final uses of goods and services by resident institutional units (final consumption, gross capital formation, exports minus imports); as the sum of uses in the total economy generation of income account (compensation of employees, taxes on production and imports less subsidies, gross operating surplus and gross mixed income). (ESA 1995 8.89.)

Gross fixed capital formation

Gross fixed capital formation consists of resident producers' acquisitions, less disposals, of fixed assets. Fixed assets are tangible or intangible assets produced as outputs from processes of production that are themselves used repeatedly, or continuously, in processes of production for more than one year.

Holding gain and loss

Holding gains and losses result from changes in the prices of assets. They occur on all kinds of financial and non-financial assets, and on liabilities. Holding gains and losses accrue to the owners of assets and liabilities purely as a result of holding the assets or liabilities over time, without transforming them in any way.

Holding gains and losses measured on the basis of current market prices are called nominal holding gains and losses. These may be decomposed into neutral holding gains and losses, reflecting changes in the general price level, and real holding gains and losses, reflecting changes in the relative prices of assets.

Institutional unit

The institutional unit is an elementary economic decision-making centre. A resident unit is regarded as constituting an institutional unit if it has decision-making autonomy in respect of its principal function and either keeps a complete set of accounts or it would be possible and meaningful, from both an economic and legal viewpoint, to compile a complete set of accounts if they were required. Decision-making autonomy means that institutional units are capable of owning goods and assets, of incurring liabilities and of engaging in economic activities and transactions with other units in their own right.

The following are deemed to be institutional units:

a) units which have a complete set of accounts and autonomy of decision:
(1) private and public corporations
(2) co-operatives or partnerships recognised as independent legal entities
(3) public producers which by virtue of special legislation are recognised as independent legal entities
(4) non-profit institutions recognised as independent legal entities
(5) agencies of general government.

b) units which have a complete set of accounts and which are deemed to have autonomy of decision: quasi-corporations

c) units which do not necessarily keep a complete set of accounts, but which by convention are deemed to have autonomy of decision:
(1) households
(2) notional resident units.

The institutional units are grouped together into five mutually exclusive institutional sectors which together make up the total economy. The sectors (each sector is also divided into sub-sectors) are composed of the following types of units:

a) non-financial corporations
b) financial corporations
c) general government
d) households
e) non-profit institutions serving households.

Intermediate consumption

Intermediate consumption consists of the value of the goods and services consumed as inputs by a process of production, excluding fixed assets whose consumption is recorded as consumption of fixed capital. The goods and services may be either transformed or used up by the production process.

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.

Local kind of activity unit (Establishment)

Establishment refers to an economic unit which under one ownership or control produces commodities of mainly one particular type usually at one location.

An ancillary establishment is located separately from the actual production activity of an enterprise and produces services only for the enterprise itself. Examples of ancillary establishments include head offices, warehouses or repair shops for the enterprise's own vehicles.

Market price

The market price in an economic transaction corresponds to the amount paid by the buyer to the seller for an acquisition made in a free trade situation.

With the exception of some variables concerning population and labour, the system of national accounts shows all flows and stocks in monetary terms. The system does not attempt to determine the utility of flows and stocks. Instead, flows and stocks are measured according to their exchange value, i.e. the value at which flows and stocks are in fact, or could be, exchanged for cash. Market prices are thus ESA's basic reference for valuation.

In the case of monetary transactions and cash holdings and liabilities, the values required are directly available. In most other cases, the preferred method of valuation is by reference to market prices for analogous goods, services or assets. This method is used for e.g. barter and the services of owner-occupied dwellings. When no market prices for analogous products are available, for instance in the case of non-market services produced by government, valuation should be made according to production costs. If neither of these two methods are feasible, flows and stocks may be valued at the discounted present value of expected future returns. However, due to the great uncertainty involved, this last method is only recommended as a last resort.

Stocks should be valued at current prices at the time to which the balance sheet relates, not at the time of production or acquisition of the goods or assets that form the stocks. It is sometimes necessary to value stocks at their estimated written-down current acquisition values or production costs.

Mixed income

Mixed income is the balancing item of the generation of income account of unincorporated enterprises in the households sector, corresponding to remuneration for work carried out by the owner and members of his family and including his profits as entrepreneur.

NUTS division

NUTS (Nomenclature des Unités Territoriales Statistiques) is the regional classification system of the EU, according to which all common regional statistics of the EU are compiled. The official NUTS division is recommended to be used as the primary regional division in statistics. The NUTS classification is defined in the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council No. 1059/2003. This is updated by the European Commission's delegated regulation. NUTS 2021, that is valid from 1 January 2021, is based on the delegated regulation 2019/1755.

The NUTS nomenclature is used for
a) collecting, developing and harmonising Community regional statistics
b) socio-economic analyses of areas
c) defining Community regional policy.

In Finland NUTS level 1 refers to the division into Mainland Finland and Åland and NUTS level 2 major regions. Regions should correspond to the NUTS level 3 areas, but Finland's NUTS 2021 remains unchanged and corresponds to NUTS 2016 (valid from 1 January 2018 - 31 December 2020). Sub-regional units form LAU level 1 (NUTS 4) and municipalities LAU level 2 (NUTS 5). LAU (Local Administrative Unit).

In the European statistics the most important one is NUTS level 2 (major regions), on which all regional data are to be produced.

Operating surplus, net

Net operating surplus is obtained after deduction of compensation of employees, taxes on production and imports less subsidies as well as consumption of fixed capital from value added. It is the surplus or deficit on production activities before interest, rents or charges and corresponds to the income which the units obtain from their own use of their production facilities.

Output at basic prices

Output at basic prices consists of the products which have been produced in the accounting period. Three categories of output are distinguished: market output, output for own final use, and other non-market output. Output is to be recorded and valued when it is generated by the production process.

Output of services of owner-occupied dwellings

The own-account production of housing services by owner-occupiers falls within the production boundary of the European System of Accounts.

The output of services of owner-occupied dwellings should be valued at the estimated value of rental that a tenant would pay for the same accommodation, taking into account factors such as location, neighbourhood amenities, etc. as well as the size and quality of the dwelling itself.


In regional accounts population refers to mean population, which is the average of the population in two consecutive years.

Data on the permanent population living in a municipality at the end of the year (31.12.) is collected from the Population Information System of the Population Register Centre. Population refers to the permanent population of the municipality. The persons who had a permanent residence in Finland at the end of the year according to the Population Information System belong to the population regardless of nationality. The same applies to Finnish nationals, who are temporarily resident abroad.


The value determined in money

Primary income

Primary income is the income which resident units receive by virtue of their participation in the production process, and income receivable by owners of financial or other assets in return for placing assets at the disposal of other institutional units. Primary income can be compensation of employees, taxes on production and imports less subsidies, gross operating surplus, gross mixed income or property income. (ESA 1995 8.22.)

Production boundary

The production boundary included in national accounts is essential for defining the coverage of the accounting system.

Production is an activity carried out under the control and responsibility of an institutional unit that uses inputs of labour, capital and goods and services to produce goods and services. Production does not cover purely natural processes without any human involvement or direction, like the unmanaged growth of fish stocks in international waters (but fish farming is production).

Production includes:

a) the production of all individual or collective goods or services that are supplied to units other than their producers (or intended to be so supplied);
b) the own-account production of all goods that are retained by their producers for their own final consumption or gross fixed capital formation. Own account production for gross fixed capital formation includes the production of fixed assets such as construction, research and development activities, the development of software and mineral exploration for own gross fixed capital formation.

Own-account production of goods by households pertains in general to:
(1) own-account construction of dwellings;
(2) the production and storage of agricultural products;
(3) the processing of agricultural products, like the production of flour by milling, the preservation of fruit by drying and bottling; the production of dairy products like butter and cheese and the production of beer, wine and spirits;
(4) the production of other primary products, like mining salt, cutting peat and carrying water;
(5) other kinds of processing, like weaving cloth, the production of pottery and making furniture.

Own-account production of a good by households should be recorded if this type of production is significant, i.e. if it is believed to be quantitatively important in relation to the total supply of that good in a country.

By convention, in the ESA, only own-account construction of dwellings and the production, storage and processing of agricultural products is included; all other own-account production of goods by households are deemed to be insignificant for EU countries.

c) the own-account production of housing services by owner-occupiers;
d) domestic and personal services produced by employing paid domestic staff;
e) volunteer activities that result in goods, e.g. the construction of a dwelling, church or other building are to be recorded as production. Volunteer activities that do not result in goods, e.g. caretaking and cleaning without payment, are excluded.

All such activities are included even if they are illegal or not-registered at tax, social security, statistical and other public authorities.

Production excludes the production of domestic and personal services that are produced and consumed within the same household (with the exception of employing paid domestic staff and the services of owner-occupied dwellings). Cases in point are:
a) cleaning, decoration and maintenance of the dwelling as far as these activities are also common for tenants;
b) cleaning, servicing and repair of household durables;
c) preparation and serving of meals;
d) care, training and instruction of children;
e) care of sick, infirm or old people;
f) transportation of members of the household or their goods.

Purchasers' price

The purchaser’s price is the price the purchaser actually pays for the products; including any taxes less subsidies on the products (but excluding deductible taxes like VAT on the products); including any transport charges paid separately by the purchaser to take delivery at the required time and place; after deductions for any discounts for bulk or off-peak-purchases from standard prices or charges; excluding interest or services charges added under credit arrangements; excluding any extra charges incurred as a result of failing to pay within the period stated at the time the purchases were made.

Purchasing power parity

Value relations between currencies, purchasing power parities, are calculated by means of price comparisons between countries. Purchasing power parity is the exchange rate calculated by which the price of the commodity basket of two countries is exactly the same converted into the common currency. Purchasing power parity is usually not the same as the actual exchange rate. Purchasing power parity is used to measure the value of the national economy's money on the basis of how much goods and services can be bought with its currency. This provides a more accurate conception of the output of the national economy per capita than by only converting the value of gross domestic product or gross national income (usually) into U.S. dollars or euros.

Reference year

A reference year is a year which is used particularly for the presentation of a time series of constant price data. In a series of index numbers it is the year that takes the value 100. The series' internal weights do not need to be based on the reference year. The base year is the year that is used in constructing the series.


In regional accounts the concept of a region is based on the division into municipalities as used in the latest statistical year of regional accounts and the related classification of sub-regional units, regions and major regions. In addition the regional accounts contain extraregio territories that do not belong to municipalities.

The regional classification in the regional accounts corresponds to the uniform NUTS nomenclature of the territory of the European Union.

Regional territory

The economic territory of a country can be broken down into regional and extraregio territory.

The regional territory includes the region that is part of the geographic territory of a country and any free zones, including bonded warehouses and factories under customs control in the region.

The nomenclature of territorial units for statistics (NUTS) provides a single, uniform breakdown of the economic territory of the European Union. NUTS is the territorial breakdown for compiling regional accounts.

Self-employed persons

Self-employed persons are defined as persons who are the sole owners, or joint owners, of the unincorporated enterprises in which they work, excluding those unincorporated enterprises that are classified as quasi-corporations. Self-employed persons are classified here if they are not also in a paid employment which constitutes their principal activity: in that latter case they are classified under employees.


Subsidies (D.3) are current unrequited payments which general government or the institutions of the European Union make to resident producers, with the objective of influencing their levels of production, their prices or the remuneration of the factors of production. Other non-market producers can receive other subsidies on production only if those payments depend on general regulations applicable to market and non-market producers as well.

Subsidies granted by the Institutions of the European Union cover only current transfers made directly by them to resident producer units.

Subsidies are classified into:

a) subsidies on products (D.31)
(1) import subsidies (D.311)
(2) other subsidies on products (D.319)
b) other subsidies on production (D.39).

Taxes on production and imports

Taxes on production and imports (D.2) consist of compulsory, unrequited payments, in cash or in kind which are levied by general government, or by the Institutions of the European Union, in respect of the production and importation of goods and services, the employment of labour, the ownership or use of land, buildings or other assets used in production. These taxes are payable whether or not profits are made.

Taxes on production and imports are divided into:
a) taxes on products (D.21)
(1) value added type taxes (VAT) (D.211)
(2) taxes and duties on imports excluding VAT (D.212)
– import duties (D.2121)
– taxes on imports excluding VAT and import duties (D.2122)
(3) taxes on products, except VAT and import taxes (D.214)
b) other taxes on production (D.29).

Time of recording

The system of national accounts records the flows on accrual basis. In other words, when economic value is created, changed or destroyed or when claims and obligations are born or they are changed or annulled.

Output is recorded when it has been produced and not when the buyer has paid for it, and sales of assets are recorded when the assets are released and not when the corresponding payment is made. Interest is recorded to the accounting period from which it is generated, regardless of whether it is actually paid in that period or not. Accrual-based recording is applied to all flows, both those in money and those that are not measured in money, both within a unit and between units.

All flows should be recorded at the same time for all institutional units involved and in all concerned accounts. In practice, institutional units do not always use the same accounting rules. And even if they do, there may be differences in the actual recording due to practical reasons like delays in communication. Therefore, the performers of the economic transactions in question may record the transactions at different times. These deviations must be corrected with adjustments.


A transaction is an economic flow that is an interaction between institutional units by mutual agreement or an action within an institutional unit that it is useful to treat as a transaction, often because the unit is operating in two different capacities. It is convenient to divide transactions into four main groups:

a) transactions in products - which describe the origin (domestic output or imports) and use (intermediate consumption, final consumption, capital formation or exports) of products ;

b) distributive transactions - which describe how value added generated by production is distributed to labour, capital and government, and the redistribution of income and wealth (taxes on income and wealth and other transfers);

c) financial transactions - which describe the net acquisition of financial assets or the net incurrence of liabilities for each type of financial instrument. Such transactions often occur as counterparts of non-financial transactions, but they may also occur as transactions involving only financial instruments;

d) transactions not included in the three groups above:
consumption of fixed capital and acquisitions less disposals of non-produced non financial assets.

Most transactions are monetary transactions, where the units involved make or receive payments, or incur liabilities or receive assets denominated in units of currency. Transactions that do not involve the exchange of cash, or assets or liabilities denominated in units of currency, are non-monetary transactions.
Intra-unit transactions are normally non-monetary transactions. Non-monetary transactions involving more than one institutional unit occur among transactions in products (barter of products), distributive transactions (remuneration in kind, transfers in kind, etc.) and other transactions (barter of non-produced non-financial assets).

All transactions are recorded in monetary terms. The values to be recorded for non-monetary transactions must therefore be measured indirectly or otherwise estimated.


With the exception of some variables concerning population and labour, the system shows all flows and stocks in monetary terms. The system does not attempt to determine the utility of flows and stocks. Instead, flows and stocks are measured according to their exchange value, i.e. the value at which flows and stocks are in fact, or could be, exchanged for cash. Market prices are thus the basic reference for valuation in the national accounts.

In the case of monetary transactions and cash holdings and liabilities, the values required are directly available. In most other cases, the preferred method of valuation is by reference to market prices for analogous goods, services or assets. This method is used for e.g. barter and the services of owner-occupied dwellings. When no market prices for analogous products are available, for instance in the case of non-market services produced by government, valuation should be made according to production costs. If neither of these two methods are feasible, flows and stocks may be valued at the discounted present value of expected future returns. However, due to the great uncertainty involved, this last method is only recommended as a last resort.

Stocks should be valued at current prices at the time to which the balance sheet relates, not at the time of production or acquisition of the goods or assets that form the stocks. It is sometimes necessary to value stocks at their estimated written-down current acquisition values or production costs.

Value added

Value added (gross) refers to the value generated by any unit engaged in a production activity. In market production it is calculated by deducting from the unit's output the intermediates (goods and services) used in the production process and in non-market production by adding up compensation of employees, consumption of fixed capital and possible taxes on production and imports.

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The data are based on the data of national accounts. Regionalisation often relies on the same basic statistics as national accounts. Not all data needed for the calculations is available regionally, which is why indicator-based calculations are sometimes necessary. The more necessary it is to rely on methods other than a pure bottom-up method, the more uncertainty the data involve.


National accounts data should become available to users as timely as possible, taking into account the frequency of the data (annual or quarterly), the character of the data (information on the structure of an economy or on conjuncture developments) and an adequate balance between accuracy and timeliness.

The ESA 2010 transmission programme defines the required timeliness for all national accounts tables. Quarterly tables should become available between two or three months after the quarter-end. The annual tables have to be transmitted between two months (main aggregates) and 36 months (supply and use tables) after the end of the reference year.


Good practice requires that the dates on which national accounts data become available are pre-announced and that the pre-announced publication dates are met.

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 delivers data to Eurostat ahead of the legal deadlines.


Comparability - geographical

The geographical comparability of national accounts in Member States of the EU is ensured by the application of common definitions of the European System of Accounts ESA 2010. Worldwide geographical comparison is also possible as most non-European countries apply the SNA 2008 guidelines, and SNA 2008 is consistent with ESA 2010.

Comparability - over time

As the data for all reference periods are compiled according to the requirements of ESA 2010, national accounts data are fully comparable over time. Also, in the case of fundamental changes to methods or classifications, revisions of long time series are performed, usually going far back into the past.

Coherence - cross domain

Within the system of national accounts there is full consistency between the domains: annual and quarterly national accounts, government accounts, sector accounts, financial accounts, regional accounts, supply and use tables. However, in practice full consistency may not always be possible and temporary discrepancies might occur. The differences are usually caused by different release lags in different sub-areas.

Primary statistics like structural business statistics (SBS), short term statistics (STS) and labour force statistics (LFS) are widely used as input for national accounts. However, there is no full consistency between these statistical domains and national accounts. Main reasons are differences in concepts or definitions and in coverage. Balance of payments is also used as an important source for national accounts. The definitions and coverage of balance of payments, as defined in the BPM6 manual, are fully harmonised with those in ESA 2010. Therefore, balance of payments variables are in principle fully coherent with the corresponding national accounts variables.

The discrepancies between national accounts domains concern only the latest periods and are due to vintage (different timing of the calculations). The domains concerned also include balance of payments. National accounts/financial accounts and balance of payments compilation systems are integrated so that both time series are coherent from 2019 and from 2020 onwards for financial accounts.

Source data and data collections

Source data

National and regional accounts compilation builds up on statistics that are primarily collected for other purposes (primary statistics).

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 businesses 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. Inventories provided to Eurostat usually include information on main sources. Further information on data sources can be found on the national websites (https://stat.fi/til/index_en.html).

Data collection

The data collection is very country specific and also varies according to the nature of the data source, e.g. administrative data, tax and car registers, surveys, accounting statements. Guidance can be found in the ESS Handbook of Recommended Practices for Questionnaire Development and Testing Methods in the ESS.

National accounts departments typically do not collect data themselves but receive them from other departments or institutions. Countries can provide a more detailed description of the channels by which external data are collected.

The ESS guidelines suggest that the methods used for data collection should be described. It can also be appropriate to complete the section with the following issues: (i) a national statistics agency usually signs an agreement and technical protocol for cooperation with other institutions on what, when, how, etc. the data would be delivered; (ii) the national accounts department also participates in the development of the questionnaires of statistical surveys of other departments.

The data sources are described in the methodological descriptions of the statistics.

Frequency of data collection

National accounts are usually compiled on an annual or quarterly basis from other primary statistics. The frequency of data collection of primary statistics varies according to the nature of the data source. For example, business statistics are typically available on a monthly (and quarterly) basis. Some households' surveys are available on quarterly or annual frequency (sometimes even less frequent). The availability of administrative data varies by country. Population censuses are collected in some EU countries mainly every ten years; in some countries, population data are available in registries.

The frequency and timing of the compilation of national accounts are not necessary aligned with the frequency and timing of (all) primary statistics data collections.

National accounts departments typically receive/collect information in relation to their compilation schedule, i.e. for their annual or quarterly estimates. Statistical offices of countries can provide a description of the time of receiving external data.


Data compilation

Data sources, methods and compilation techniques are country specific, but they should be employed in such a way that the definitions and concepts in ESA 2010 are met. Many guidance documents on general and specific national accounts compilation issues are available. 

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.

Data validation

Data validation refers to any activity aimed at verifying that the value of a data item comes from a given set of acceptable values. It is a key task performed in all statistical domains and particularly important for national accounts, which is a key dataset for economic analysis and policy decisions.

In order to increase overall data quality and workflow efficiency, the European Statistical System (ESS) is moving towards more harmonisation of validation activities including the definition of common standards, tools and support for implementation (see ESS validation website). 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

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Economic Statistics

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

Only the necessary data that are not available from administrative data sources are collected from data suppliers. Index series are published so that no individual enterprise’s data or development can be deduced from them.

National accounts are compiled in accordance with the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010) which was published in the Official Journal as Annex A of Regulation (EU) No 549/2013. The ESA 2010 transmission programme is covered in Annex B to the same Regulation.

ESA 2010 has the form of Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council and it provides for:
  • A methodology (Annex A) on common standards, definitions, classifications and accounting rules that shall be used for compiling accounts and tables on comparable bases (link to blue book on ESA 2010 methodology);
  • A programme of data transmission (Annex B) setting out the time limits by which Member States shall transmit to Eurostat the accounts and tables (link to ESA 2010 transmission programme).
Temporary derogations to the data transmission requirements have been granted to Member States, up to 2020, by the Commission Implementing Decision 2014/403/EU of 26 June 2014 thus allowing national data to deviate temporarily from the ESA 2010 transmission requirements.

Some other legal acts with relevance for national accounts concern:
  • Commission Decision 98/715 of 30 November 1998 and Commission Decision 2002/990 of 17 December 2002 on measurement of price and volumes in national accounts.
  • Legal act on the excessive deficit procedure
Several separate acts, often regarding classifications such as: NACE Rev.2, CPA 2015, COGOG, ECOICOP, NUTS 2016.

More legal acts relevant for national accounts can be found on the Eurostat website, sections ‘National accounts’ and ‘Government finance and EDP’.

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

In a statistical sense, ‘confidential data’ mean data which allow statistical units to be identified, either directly or indirectly, thereby disclosing individual information. To determine whether a statistical unit is identifiable, account shall be taken of all relevant means that might reasonably be used by a third party to identify the statistical unit. Although national accounts data are usually highly aggregated, there may be possible cases for detailed breakdowns of aggregates and/or small economies. In these cases measures should be taken in order not to disclose data of a separate statistical unit. Guidance on how to prevent disclosure can be found in the Handbook on Statistical Disclosure Control.

The data submitted are flagged either by ‘N= not for publication before embargo date’ or ‘F=free’

Release policy

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 sharing

National accounts data are key economic data used and published by many international organisations
to improve data consistency and exploit synergies for data collection and validation. An initiative to improve data sharing for National Accounts was launched in 2016 by the Inter-Agency Group on Economic and Financial Statistics (comprising representatives of the Bank for International Settlements, the European Central Bank, Eurostat, the IMF, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations, and the World Bank) under the G20 Data Gap Initiative.

Data are transmitted via Eurostat to other international organisations.

Quarterly financial accounts, balance of payments data and general government accounts are also transmitted directly to the ECB.

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.

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 assessment

See section Quality Assurance.

Quality assurance

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 quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. 

The quality of national accounts data is assured by strict application of ESA 2010 concepts and by applying the guidelines of the ESS handbook for quality reports.

During the overall compilation process, national and regional accounts data undergo several kinds of quality checks,
including ex-ante (source statistics), ongoing (results), ex-post (methods used) and external checks (Eurostat, European or national Court of Auditors, IMF).

The quality criteria and practices of Statistics Finland are described at http://stat.fi/meta/svt/svt-laatukriteerit_en.html.

User access

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 

Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data.

Statistical experts

Maija Sappinen
Senior Statistician
029 551 3348

The documentation released before 5.4.2022 can be found on the archive pages of the statistics.

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