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Concepts and definitions

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.


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 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 (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.


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 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.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Quarterly national accounts [e-publication].
ISSN=1797-9765. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 24.5.2024].
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