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Annual Enterprise Survey: 2004 financial year (provisional)
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  07 October 2005
Technical notes

What the Annual Enterprise Survey measures

The Annual Enterprise Survey (AES) provides financial information by industry and sector groups. This includes measures of financial performance and financial position. Output variables include income, expenditure, profit, purchases of fixed assets, and equity. From this data, economic ratios such as the return on assets and profit margin on sales can be derived. The AES data also forms the basis of national accounting variables such as value added, gross output and gross fixed capital formation.

The information contained in the tables in this release is only a sample of the information available. Further information is available on Statistics New Zealand's website (, or on request.


The target population for AES is all economically significant businesses (see definition below) 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 GDP.

The Australia and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 1996 (ANZSIC) industry exclusions are:

  • Residential property operators nec (L771100-90)
  • Foreign government representation (M813000)
  • Religious organisations (Q961000)
  • Private household employing staff (Q970000).

Changes to size indicators

From AES 2003 the survey design uses a rolling mean employment (RME) count derived from Inland Revenue employer monthly schedule data, instead of full-time equivalents (FTEs) derived from Statistics New Zealand's Annual Frame Update Survey, as a size indicator. FTE (up to 2003) and now RME is one factor used to determine ANZSIC activity, sample stratification and imputation for non-response. This change in size indicator has not significantly impacted on the survey estimates. The financial ratios, such as total income per employee count, are based on RME. There is no comparable measure for the 2002 financial year, as RME is only available from 2003 onwards.

Design of the Annual Enterprise Survey

The current design of the AES was introduced in the 1999 financial year. 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 Gross Domestic Profit (GDP), via 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 the ANZSIC. The AES survey is designed at approximately the four digit ANZSIC level, or 107 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 the AES 2004 financial year is 399,563 units, and consists of:

  • 239,569 (60 percent) sourced from IR10 information
  • 20,854 (5.2 percent) sourced from the postal survey
  • 3,327 (0.8 percent) sourced from other Statistics New Zealand surveys
  • 824 units (0.2 percent) sourced from Ministry of Economic Development data
  • 134,989 (33.8 percent) non-sample units.

IR10s sourced from Inland Revenue are used for sole traders and partnerships, as well as to represent all businesses in the agriculture and commercial property industries.

The 20,854 postal survey units responses are weighted to represent the 134,989 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 2004 this response rate was 90.2 percent, compared with 91.6 percent in 2003.
Graph, Population by Source of Data.  

The population for this survey is selected from the Statistics New Zealand 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 (ENT), a kind-of-activity unit (KAU) and a geographic unit (GEO). 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.

Sample Design:

  • The AES is a stratified sample: Each industry contains between one and four strata, defined by size of turnover (sourced from GST information) and RME. Each industry has a full coverage strata made up of large units with significant economic activity within their industry group. Most industries also have a tax strata where IR10 information is used for self-employed individuals and partnerships up to a level of $10 million turnover. 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 5, 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.
  • Selection of Sample: Every unit on the Business Frame is given a random number, which is used to determine the sample. The random number is allocated at the enterprise level. Currently, the AES has a limit on the number of units sampled each year, and one method of maintaining this is to adjust the range of the random number line.
  • The AES has a two-component design: This is effectively two sample designs, for one survey.
    • Component one collects financial position data.
      Designed to provide accurate estimates for total assets and total liabilities for institutional sector accounts.
    • Component two collects financial performance and fixed asset data.
      Designed to provide accurate estimates of value added, total income and gross fixed capital formation by industry and for institutional sectors.
    • The two-component design aims to reduce respondent load by limiting the number of respondents that have to complete the full set of questions.


  • The wide range of activities undertaken by New Zealand businesses makes it necessary to have different types of questionnaires. These different questionnaires are referred to as formtypes. Formtypes ask for similar information, but the format and wording of the questionnaires are tailored to suit groups of businesses.
  • Currently, three different lengths of formtype are sent to businesses selected in the sample. The most comprehensive of these questionnaires, for units selected in both components, asks for financial performance, position and fixed assets. The other two questionnaires ask specifically for component one or component two information.
  • 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.

Data on an ANZSIC basis is only available back to 1996 at the time of writing.

Availability of results

This release contains limited results due to the space available. Data are available at the design level (107 industries) upwards, subject to confidentiality. Tables at an even less aggregated level may also be available.

This is the first release of AES results for the 2004 financial year. These results are provisional. They may be revised as further information becomes available over the next couple of years.


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.


Detailed information on the following, and other terms, is available on our website, or on request

Economically significant

An enterprise which meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • has greater than $30,000 annual GST expenses or sales
  • has RMEs greater than three
  • is in a GST-exempt industry (except residential property leasing and rental)
  • is part of a group of enterprises
  • is a new GST registration that is compulsory, special or forced
  • is registered for GST and is involved in agriculture or forestry.


A single business entity operating in New Zealand either as a legally constituted body such as a company, partnership, trust, local or central government trading organisation, or incorporated society, or a self-employed individual.

Kind-of-activity unit (KAU)

A subdivision of an enterprise engaged in predominantly one activity and for which a single set of accounting records is available. This is the statistical unit used in the AES.

Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 1996 (ANZSIC)

The ANZSIC has been developed for use in Australia and New Zealand for the production and analysis of industry statistics. The AES has been designed using the ANZSIC classification, with some subdivisions and groups re-aggregated to reflect New Zealand operations.

Full-time equivalent persons engaged (FTE)

The total number of full-time employees and working proprietors plus half the number of part-time employees and working proprietors.

Employee count (EC)

EC is a head count of all salary and wage earners for the reference period. This is mostly employees but can include a small number of working proprietors (who pay themselves a salary or wage).

Rolling mean employment (RME)

RME is a 12-month moving average of the monthly employee count figure which replaces the numbers of full-time and part-time employees in the AES.

Operating surplus before income tax

Total income less total expenditure (excluding salaries and wages to working proprietors).

Operating surplus per RME

Operating surplus before tax and salaries and wages paid to working proprietors divided by rolling mean employment.

Current ratio

Current assets divided by current liabilities.

Quick ratio

Current assets less closing stocks divided by current liabilities.

Margin on sales of goods for resale

Sales of goods not further processed less purchases of goods bought for resale, as a percentage of sales of goods not further processed.

Return on equity

Operating surplus before tax and salaries and wages paid to working proprietors divided by shareholders funds.

Return on total assets

Operating surplus before tax and salaries and wages paid to working proprietors divided by total assets.

Liabilities structure

Shareholders' funds divided by total capital and liabilities.

More information

For more information, follow the link from the Technical notes of this release on the Statistics New Zealand website.


Information obtained from Statistics New Zealand may be freely used, reproduced, or quoted unless otherwise specified. In all cases Statistics New Zealand must be acknowledged as the source.


 While care has been used in processing, analysing and extracting information, Statistics New Zealand gives no warranty that the information supplied is free from error. Statistics New Zealand shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of any information, product or service.


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

Next release ... Annual Enterprise Survey: 2005 financial year (provisional) will be released in October 2006.

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