28.6.2022 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The data content of quarterly national accounts has been compiled according to the definitions and guidelines of the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010). National accounts provide data for the total economy but also include breakdowns of the total economy (into sectors, industries, etc.). One of the main aggregates of national accounts is the gross domestic product (GDP) describing economic development from which the impact of price changes has been eliminated. Its change is also referred to as the economic growth rate or percentage.

 

Statistical population

The national accounts population of a country consists of all resident statistical units (institutional units or local KAUs) 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.
 
 

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 second type of units 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 Rev. 2.

An institutional unit comprises one or more local KAUs; a local KAU belongs to one and only one institutional unit.

Finland uses 1) institutional unit used in sector accounts, 2) establishment that corresponds to a local KAU; this unit is used in production accounts and investments.
 

 

Unit of measure

With the exception of some variables concerning the population and labour that are usually expressed in the number of persons, hours or jobs, the ESA 2010 system shows all flows and stocks in monetary terms: in euros or other national currency. Flows and stocks shall 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 prices, some national accounts variables are also expressed in previous year's prices and chain-linked volumes- 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, and volume indices can be chain-linked into a continuous volume series.

Finland currently uses 2010 as the reference year for the compilation of chain-linked volumes. The method to compile quarterly chain-linked volumes is the annual overlap method.

 

Reference period

The reference period in quarterly national accounts is a quarter.

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 end of a quarter).
 

 

Reference area

The reference area for national accounts is the total economy of a country.

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 breakdowns are the breakdown by institutional sector and the breakdown by NACE Rev. 2 activity. Exhaustiveness is required for each of the breakdown items.

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.

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.

 

Time coverage

In general, the ESA 2010 transmission programme requires data starting from 1995 but some data may start from a later year. If backwards data exist, they may have been compiled according to earlier versions of ESA and can present conceptual breaks with those compiled under ESA2010. The quarterly accounts data start from the year 1990.
 

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 when the data of sector accounts and annual national accounts are updated. Quarterly national accounts are published 60 days from the end of the quarter and are updated again 20 days (4th quarter 15 days) later.
From 2019 onwards, when the publication and revision policy was updated, national accounts and the balance of payments will follow a harmonised European revision policy (HERP).

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. Exceptions to this are the second updates of each quarterly national accounts release which are benchmarked after each publication into annual accounts and published only by updating the StatFin database.


 

Concepts

Adjustment for seasonal variation

Seasonal adjustment means the estimation of seasonal variation and the elimination of its impact from a time series. The obtained result is a seasonally adjusted time series. The trend of a time series is obtained when both seasonal variation and irregular random variation are eliminated from a time series. Trading or working day adjusted series are in turn obtained when the factors caused by the variation in the number of trading days or weekdays is eliminated from the observation of the original time series. The Tramo/Seats method is used for the seasonal adjustment of time series at Statistics Finland. In the Tramo/Seats method, preadjustment is based on a regression model (which allows for outlying observations, public holidays and the weekday structure) and the seasonal adjustment proper on an ARIMA model constructed for the time series.

Adjustment for working days

An adjustment for working days takes into account influences arising from the number of working days. This means giving consideration to lengths of months, numbers of weekdays and public holidays. Figures adjusted for working days are published for industries where variation in the number of working days has a significant impact on a time series. Compared to adjustment for trading days, adjustment for working days does not take into account the effect of different days of the week.

At current prices

At nominal prices prevailing at each point.

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).

Changes in inventories

Changes in inventories are measured by the value of the entries into inventories less the value of withdrawals and the value of any recurrent losses of goods held in inventories. Inventories can consist of materials and supplies, work-in-progress, finished goods and goods for resale.

Compensation of employees

Compensation of employees (D.1) is defined as the total remuneration, in cash or in kind, payable by an employer to an employee in return for work done by the latter during the accounting period.

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

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.

Disposable income

Disposable income is the balancing item of the current income in the redistribution of income account. It is obtained for each sector by adding current transfers receivable to primary income and by deducting all current transfers payable. It can be used for consumption or saving.

Adjusted disposable income is a corresponding item in the redistribution of income in kind account.

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.

Exports of goods and services

Exports of goods and services consist of transactions in goods and services (sales, barter, gifts or grants) from residents to non-residents.

Final consumption expenditure

Final consumption expenditure consists of expenditure incurred by resident institutional units on goods or services that are used for the direct satisfaction of individual needs or wants, or the collective needs of members of the community. Final consumption expenditure may take place on the domestic territory or abroad. Final consumption expenditure is incurred by households, non-profit institutions serving households and general government. Non-financial corporations, financial and insurance corporations do not have final consumption expenditure.

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.

Gross national income

Gross national income represents total primary income receivable by resident institutional units: compensation of employees, taxes on production and imports less subsidies, gross operating surplus, gross mixed income and property income. Gross national income equals GDP minus primary income payable by resident units to non-resident units plus primary income receivable by resident units from the rest of the world. National income is an income concept, which often is more significant if expressed in net terms, i.e. after deduction of the consumption of fixed capital. (ESA 1995 8.94.)

Imports of goods and services

Imports of goods and services consist of transactions in goods and services (purchases, barter, gifts or grants) from non-residents to residents.

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.


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.

National income

National income is an income concept obtained by deducting consumption of fixed capital from gross national income.

Gross national income represents total primary income receivable by resident institutional units: compensation of employees, taxes on production and imports less subsidies, gross operating surplus, gross mixed income and property income. Gross national income equals GDP minus primary income payable by resident units to non-resident units plus primary income receivable by resident units from the rest of the world.

Net domestic product at market prices

By deducting the consumption of fixed capital from the gross domestic product, we obtain the net domestic product at market prices, NDP.

Net lending/net borrowing

Net lending/borrowing is a balancing item in the capital account and the fi-nancial account.

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.

Non-resident unit

The total economy is defined in terms of resident units. A unit is said to be a resident unit of a country when it has a centre of 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 institutional sectors are groups of resident institutional units.

Resident units engage in transactions with non-resident units, that is, units which are residents in other economies. These transactions are the external transactions of the economy and are grouped in the rest of the world account. So, in the accounting structure of the national accounts, the rest of the world plays a role similar to that of an institutional sector, although non-resident units are included only in so far as they are engaged in transactions with resident institutional units. Consequently, as far as coding of classifications is concerned, a specific item for the rest of the world is included at the end of the classification of sectors.

Notional resident units, treated in the system as institutional units, are defined as:

a) those parts of non-resident units which have a centre of economic interest (that is in most cases which engage in economic transactions for a year or more or which carry out a construction activity for a period of less than a year if the output constitutes gross fixed capital formation) on the economic territory of the country;

b) non-resident units in their capacity as owners of land or buildings on the economic territory of the country, but only in respect of transactions affecting such land or buildings.

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.

Price

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.

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.

Reinvested earnings on direct foreign investment

Reinvested earnings on direct foreign investment (D.43) are equal to:

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.

Saving

Saving is the balancing item in the use of income accounts. It is the positive or negative amount resulting from current transactions which establishes the link with accumulation. If saving is positive, non-spent income is used for the acquisition of assets or for paying off liabilities. If saving is negative, certain assets are liquidated or certain liabilities increase.

Subsidies

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).

Total economy

The units which constitute the Finnish economy are those units that have a centre of economic interest on the economic territory of Finland. Economic units are categorized as non-financial corporations (S.11), financial corporations (S.12), general government (S.13), households (S.14) and non-profit institutions serving households (S.15).

Trading gain

The trading gain is the same as the real gain from foreign trade.

The real gross domestic income can be derived by adding the so-called trading gain to volume figures on gross domestic product. The trading gain B or, as the case may be, loss B is defined as the current balance of exports less imports, deflated by a price index, less the difference between the deflated value of exports and the deflated value of imports. In the circumstances in which there is uncertainty about the choice of deflator an average of the import and the export price indices is likely to provide a suitable deflator.

Transaction

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.

Trend

Trend describes the long-term development in a time series. A trend series has been adjusted for seasonal and random variations, so that the effects of e.g. weather conditions or short-term labour disputes do not show in it. By contrast, permanent changes, such as growth in demand due to changed taxation, will show in a trend. The direction indicated by the end of a trend should be interpreted with caution. The latter part of a trend indicator may change once it has been updated with data for subsequent months.

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

Revisions tables of statistics are published in statistical releases under “Revisions in these statistics”:

 

Timeliness

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.

In Finland, some statistics of national accounts are produced faster than the transmission programme. Such are annual sector accounts in June, as well as input-output tables and supply and use tables, usually with a delay of 23 months.



 

Punctuality

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 at the timeliness defined in the transmission programme (or before).

Statistics Finland frequently delivers data to Eurostat ahead of the legal deadlines.

 

Comparability

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 ESA 2010 is consistent with SNA 2008.

 

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 (see Section 10.6). Further information on data sources can be found on the national websites
stat.fi


   

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) an NSI 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.

Data sources are described in methodological descriptions of the statistics, see Section Method descriptions

 

Frequency of data collection

Quarterly national accounts are compiled quarterly using primary statistics as the source. 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 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 quarterly data in relation to their compilation schedule. Statistical offices of countries can provide a description of the time of receiving external data.


 

Methods

Data compilation

Data sources, methods and compilation techniques are country specific, but 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. See for more details Section  Documentation on methodology.

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. 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.
 

 

Data validation

The purpose of data validation is to ensure that the selected data content has gone through an approval. It is a key task in all fields of statistics and particularly important in national accounts, whose data are used to support economic analysis and political decision-making.

The aim of the European Statistical System (ESS) is currently to harmonise validation methods in order 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 https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/data-validation). National accounts are a pilot in this area.  An ESA 2010 Task Force on validation was established 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 

The compilation of statistics is guided by the general act of the national statistical service, the Statistics Act (280/2004, amend. 361/2013). 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.

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, COFOG, ECOICOP, NUTS 2013.

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

National statistical legal acts are available at: http://tilastokeskus.fi/org/lainsaadanto/index_en.html

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) 

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society. The European Statistics Code of Practice provides further conditions that have to be respected by statistical offices in regard to statistical confidentiality (Principle 5).



 

Confidentiality - data treatment

In a statistical sense, ‘confidential data’ means 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 ‘E= 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 

Statistics Finland's release calendar lists in advance all the statistical data and publications to be released over the year. Statistical releases can be found under statistics-specific releases. Statistical data are released on the Internet at 8 am, unless otherwise indicated. Statistics Finland's release calendar for the coming year is published every year in December.

Good practice requires that new national accounts data and associated news releases are announced in a release calendar that is published well in advance of the respective releases.

Data sharing

National accounts data are key datasets 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.


 

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. 

In Finland, the most important results of national accounts are published on Statistics Finland's website as a statistical publication. Statistics Finland may hold a press conference (may be a webinar, etc.) at the end of February each year, when the first publication of preliminary annual national accounts data is released. A press conference is also possible in mid-March, when the previous year's sector accounts and general government deficit and debt figures are published.
There may be occasionally other press conferences.

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.

Seasonally adjusted data in statistics on economic trends become revised because of the calculation method used. Additional information on a new time series observation is exploited in model-based calculation methods and this is reflected as changes in previous releases. Revisions of the latest figures to be seasonally adjusted are elaborated on in the releases and quality reports of statistics.

A summary table of the revisions that have taken place is also published in connection with key statistics on economic trends and some annual statistics. The table shows how the data for the statistical reference periods have changed between the first and the most recent statistical release.

Quality assessment


 

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 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) 


 
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, e.g. ex-ante (source statistics), ongoing (results), ex-post (methods used) and external checks (Eurostat, European or national Court of Auditors, IMF).
 

User access

Uppgifterna publiceras samtidigt för alla användare. Innan statistiska uppgifter publiceras får de behandlas och lämnas ut bara av de personer vid Statistikcentralen som deltar i framställningen av statistiken eller som behöver uppgifterna i sitt eget arbete innan de publiceras. 

Ytterligare information: Principer för publicering av statistik 

Statistikcentralen är producent till materialet och äger upphovsrätten om inte annat anges i anslutning till produkten, uppgiften eller tjänsten. Användarvillkor för statistiska uppgifter. 

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice (Principle 6 on impartiality and objectivity, Principle 13 on timeliness and punctuality and Principle 15 on accessibility and clarity), national accounts data that meet the quality standards, including relevant metadata, should be made available to users. Users should be informed when the data become available and how they can be accessed.

 

Statistical experts

Samu Hakala
Senior Statistician
029 551 3756