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Annual Enterprise Survey: 2010 financial year (provisional)
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  16 September 2011
Data quality

Period-specific information

General information

Period-specific information

This section has information about data that has changed since the last release.

Reference period

This is the first release of the Annual Enterprise Survey (AES) results for the 2010 financial year. These results are provisional. They may be revised as further information becomes available over the next two years.

Accuracy of the data

As part of ongoing development to the AES, several improvements were made in the AES 2010 year, including:

  • increased use of administrative data to replace sampled units
  • a more efficient sampling strategy
  • enhancements to editing and imputation processes
  • a timeliness gain (the AES was previously published in the first week of October, but this release was been brought forward to the middle of September).

Consistency with other periods or datasets


The population for the AES 2010 financial year is 445,215 units and consists of:

  • 302,235 (67.8 percent) sourced from IR 10 information
  • 18,394 (4.1 percent) sourced from the postal survey
  • 3,166 (0.7 percent) sourced from other Statistics NZ surveys
  • 482 units (0.1 percent) sourced from Ministry of Economic Development data
  • 120,938 (27.2 percent) non-sample units.

In AES 2010, the 18,394 postal survey unit responses are weighted to represent the 120,938 non-sample units. The corporate response rate required for the postal collection is set at 85 percent of the industry's goods and services tax (GST) sales. In 2010 this response rate was 89 percent, compared with 91 percent in 2009.

Annual enterprise survey population by source of data, 2002-10 financial years.

Change to Auckland councils in Local Authority data

Several Auckland councils merged on 1 November 2010, which is after the AES 2010 financial year. Because of the merger many of the councils provided financial statements for a 16-month period (1 July 2009 – 31 October 2010) in the 2010 Local Authority Census (LAC), rather than the usual 12-month period. This change in reporting caused a discontinuity in the time series of the functional splits of LAC data used in AES between the 2009 and 2010 financial years. See the 'Data quality' section of Local Authority Financial Statistics: Year ended June 2010 for further information.

Changes to agricultural data

The administrative data source (IR 10) is the primary source used for capturing the agricultural, forestry and fishing division (ANZSIC06 division A). Therefore modelling is used to calculate additions and disposals (see point 5 in the 'Design issues' section below). The modelling of IR 10 data is currently under review so additions and disposals of fixed assets have been suppressed from all agricultural tables in the AES 2010 release.

General information

This section has information about data that does not change between releases.

Data sources

Data used in this survey is compiled from a number of sources, including:

  • a sample survey of business financial data
  • business financial data from Inland Revenue (IR 10)
  • central government data from the Treasury's Crown Financial Information System (CFIS)
  • superannuation data from the New Zealand Companies Office (Ministry of Economic Development)
  • local government data from Statistics New Zealand's local authority statistics.


The target population for AES is all economically significant businesses (see definition in the 'Definitions' section) operating within New Zealand. However, some industries are excluded on pragmatic grounds. In total, AES is estimated to cover approximately 90 percent of New Zealand's gross domestic product (GDP).

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006 (ANZSIC06) industry exclusions are:

  • residential property operators (L671100)
  • foreign government representation (O755200)
  • religious services (S954000)
  • private households employing staff and undifferentiated goods- and service-producing activities of households for own use (S960100-300).

Survey design 

The AES was designed as the principal collection vehicle of data used in the compilation of New Zealand's national accounts. The data collected feeds into the calculation of the economy's GDP, through the current price annual industry accounts, which are compiled within an input-output framework.

The AES collects financial data for most of the industries operating in the New Zealand economy. The AES industries are based on ANZSIC06. The AES survey is designed at approximately the four-digit ANZSIC level, or 113 industries. Data at lower levels can also be produced (subject to confidentiality constraints) but it may have considerably higher sample errors. In addition, limited analysis has been conducted at this level.

The population for this survey is selected from the Statistics NZ Business Frame.

The Business Frame is a database of all known individual private and public sector businesses and organisations engaged in the production of goods and services in New Zealand that meet significance criteria. The Business Frame provides a consistent reference to standard classifications, which facilitates the integration of statistical outputs and allows it to be used as a classification tool. It also provides links to all economic and financial survey data and the tax system, which allows more effective use of tax data to reduce respondent load.

The structure of each business on the Business Frame consists of an enterprise, a kind-of-activity unit (KAU), and a geographic unit. These are collectively referred to as statistical units. Larger or more complex businesses may have a number of statistical units. Each of the statistical units is given an industry classification based on its predominant activity. Different divisions of a company may be spread across several industries, depending on how the company has been structured. The collection unit for the AES is the KAU. By definition, a KAU is engaged in predominantly one activity for which a single set of accounting records is available.

The AES uses a stratified sample design to select the sample from units on the Business Frame. Each industry contains between one and four strata, defined by size of turnover (sourced from GST information) and rolling mean employment. Each industry has a full coverage stratum made up of large units with significant economic activity within their industry group. The remaining strata contain a sample of medium-sized units, which are weighted to represent non-sampled units. For example, a unit may have a weight of five, meaning it represents itself and four other businesses. Smaller businesses have less chance of being selected, and consequently when selected have larger weights representing more units. Most industries also have a tax strata for smaller units, where IR 10 information is used instead of a postal survey response.

The wide range of activities undertaken by New Zealand businesses makes it necessary to have different types of questionnaires. All questionnaires capture financial performance and position information, but the format and the wording of the questionnaires are tailored to suit different groups of businesses.

The AES is designed to measure industry levels for a given year. Incremental improvements in measurement, sample design, classification, and data collection may influence the inter-period movements, particularly over longer time periods. Work has been done to minimise the impact of these changes and present a consistent time series in the published tables.

Survey redesign

In 2009, Statistics NZ reviewed the survey against current and future user needs and subsequently introduced a number of methodological changes for the 2009 financial year. The AES had been previously redeveloped in 1999.

Due to the new design there was a significant impact on some industries' time-series figures published for the 2008 financial year relative to the 2009 financial year. Where possible these changes were backdated. Users should note that the most significant difference between the 2008 and the 2009 designs is the introduction of an industry design for financial position data. Previously ,financial position data was designed at an institutional sector level.  

The AES redeveloped in 2009 also included changes to improve data quality, business process and reduce respondent load through increased use of administrative data.

For further information on the AES 2009 redesign, see the 2009 financial year Technical notes.

Design issues

The AES provides a wealth of information to help users understand the structure and performance of industries within the New Zealand economy. When using AES data, it is important to be aware that there are a number of design issues that may impact on results.

These issues are:

1. Results in the AES can be affected by how companies structure themselves, which can affect how their data is captured and reported in the AES. Large corporates often set up separate entities to manage different divisions of their business. These divisions are classified based on their predominant activity. For example, their administration (head office) and their asset-owning activities may be classified to management and related consulting services (in division M), and to financial asset investors (in division K), respectively. This may mean that a manufacturing unit will not have these support activities recorded in the manufacturing industry.

If a business is divided into different divisions, this may mean that the AES results will include inter-company flows between divisions. These flows are referred to as gross flows.

2. The time series of the AES can be affected by the restructuring of companies. For example, if the various divisions within a company were to be restructured or amalgamated, then the following could happen:

  • the consolidation of these units would remove the gross flows and leave net flows
  • the industrial classification of the resulting unit would be determined by predominant activity and the activity in the other industries would disappear
  • value added would remain the same in both options.

The reverse may also occur, when restructuring results in net flows being represented in a gross form.

3. The 'all industries' table is a summation of divisional tables and therefore includes gross flows.

4. AES results are presented for a nominal March year. However, the data is collected from businesses with balance dates between 1 October 2009 and 30 September 2010. The table below lists, for each industry, the predominant balance date by total income.

Predominant balance dates by industry
Industry Year ended
A – Agriculture, forestry, and fishing March
B – Mining December
C – Manufacturing March
D – Electricity, gas, water, and waste services June
E – Construction March
F – Wholesale trade March
G & H – Retail trade and accommodation March
I – Transport, postal, and warehousing June
J – Information media and telecommunications June
K – Financial and insurance services September
L – Rental, hiring, and real estate services March
M & N – Professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services March
O – Public administration and safety June
P – Education and training December
Q – Health care and social assistance June
R & S – Arts, recreation, and other services March
Note: This table has been produced using weighted total income data and therefore reflects the population as it is represented in the AES. The count of predominant balance dates may produce different results to this table, which is based on total income. This is because the count is dominated by the small businesses sourced from IR 10s, which have small values of total income.

5. In the postal collection, additions and disposals of fixed assets are specifically requested. However, in the administrative data source (IR 10), only the closing book value of fixed assets and depreciation are requested. Hence, where IR 10s are used, values for additions and disposals are modelled.

6. Statistics NZ has a legal obligation to protect companies' privacy and industry-sensitive information. Hence, all tables released have confidentiality rules applied to protect the information supplied by an individual company. Once all confidential financial items have been identified, further items are suppressed to complete the protection of the confidential value.

Consistency with other periods or datasets

2009 structural change in the construction industry group

In the 2009 financial year, a significant restructure occurred in the construction industry group (ANZSIC06 division E). The result of this restructure is that some data captured in the construction industry prior to the 2009 financial year, is now captured as part of the public administration and safety industry group (ANZSIC06 division O).

2009 changes to data on local authorities

The AES uses data from the Local Authority Census (LAC) to produce industry based statistics about local authorities. In 2009, Statistics New Zealand and the Department of Internal Affairs worked together to redesign the LAC. A larger range of activity and transaction information was introduced with the aim of having the redesigned LAC questionnaire align more closely with the way councils record this data in their accounting systems.

Use of data

In addition to its use in the national accounts, the AES is also a data source for a number of other existing and upcoming Statistics NZ outputs, including:

In recent years there has been increased demand for non-standard output from users. Statistics NZ is providing more input into research surrounding these requests. Examples include:

  • the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's use of financial position data in its Financial Stability Report
  • the Centre for Advanced Engineering has established a set of national key performance indicators for the construction industry, one of which is a profitability indicator for which AES data is used
  • occasional requests from other government departments, such as the Ministry of Economic Development
  • requests by turnover bands, which can add significant analytical value and are a popular request
  • requests from businesses for financial data to gauge their performance against industry averages
  • value added per employee count, and turnover per employee count.

Availability of results

The supplementary tables available under 'Downloads' contain a selection of the tables available. Data is available at the design level (113 industries) upwards, subject to confidentiality. Tables at an even less aggregated level may also be available. Contact our information centre to request information.


Timed statistical releases are delivered using postal and electronic services provided by third parties. Delivery of these release may be delayed by circumstances outside the control of Statistics NZ. Statistics NZ accepts no responsibility for any such delays.


Data collected and information contained in this publication must conform to the provisions of the Statistics Act 1975. This requires that published information maintains the confidentiality of individual respondents.

More information

More information about the Annual Enterprise Survey can be found on our website.


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While all care and diligence has been used in processing, analysing, and extracting data and information in this publication, Statistics NZ gives no warranty it is error free and will not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by the use directly, or indirectly, of the information in this publication.

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