Structural business statistics (sbs)

National Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Statistics Austria

Time Dimension: 2015-A0

Data Provider: AT1

Data Flow: SBS_ESMS_A

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Statistics Austria

1.2. Contact organisation unit

Directorate Business Statistics, Unit "Structural Business Statistics"

1.5. Contact mail address

Guglgasse 13, 1110 Wien, Austria

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 23/04/2018
2.2. Metadata last posted 23/04/2018
2.3. Metadata last update 23/04/2019

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

Structural business statistics (SBS) describes the structure, conduct and performance of economic activities, down to the most detailed activity level (several hundred economic sectors).

SBS covers all activities of the non-financial business economy with the exception of agricultural activities and personal services. Limited information is available on banking, insurance and pension funds.

 Main characteristics (variables) of the SBS data category:

  • Business demographic variables (e.g. Number of enterprises)
  • "Output related" variables (e.g. Turnover, Value added)
  • "Input related" variables: labour input (e.g. Employment, Hours worked); goods and services input (e.g. Total of purchases); capital input (e.g. Material investments)
3.2. Classification system

Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community (NACE): NACE Rev.1 was used until 2001, NACE Rev. 1.1 since 2002, and NACE Rev 2 is used from 2008 onwards. Key data were double reported in NACE Rev.1.1 and NACE Rev.2 for 2008. From 2009 onwards, only NACE Rev.2 data are available.

The regional breakdown of the EU Member States is based on the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS). Detailed information about the consecutive NUTS Regulations can be found at Eurostat's website

The product breakdown is based on the Classification of Products by Activity (CPA) as stated in the Regulation establishing CPA 2008 and its amending  Commission Regulation (EU) No 1209/2014  (from reference year 2015 onwards)

3.3. Coverage - sector

The SBS coverage was limited to Sections C to K of NACE Rev.1.1 until 2007. Starting from the reference year 2008 data is available for Sections B to N and Division S95 of NACE Rev.2. With 2013 as the first reference year information is published on NACE codes K6411, K6419 and K65 and its breakdown.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The statistical characteristics are defined in Annex I of Commission Regulation (EC) No 250/2009

3.5. Statistical unit

Statistical units are enterprises (=same as legal units for most of the cases), kind of activity units and local units. Observation units and reporting units are the same.

Statistical units are principally based on the Council Regulation (EEC) No 696/93.

3.6. Statistical population

The statistical population includes all active market enterprises (legal units) in the SBR. Active units which either had turnover or employment at any time during the reference period. In the SBR enterprises with employment or at least 10.000 EUR yearly turnover are recorded as active. An additional cut-off threshold is not applied. 

3.7. Reference area

Reference area is Austria.

Registered branches of foreign enterprises are included in SBS if an activity relevant for value added in Austria is carried out or employees are reported to the Austrian Social Security Authorities.

According to definitions activities abroad of Austrian enterprises are included if the activity abroad is carried out by a non-autonomous local unit of the enterprise.
In some cases the delimitation is very difficult and a certain bias cannot be eliminated for the full target population.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Length of time series: 1995, 1997-2015

Most important breaks in time series:
2008 (switch from NACE Rev. 1.1 to NACE Rev. 2)
2002 (change of national methods)
1997 (change of national methods)

see also chapter 15.2

3.9. Base period

Not applicable.

4. Unit of measure Top
  • Number of enterprises and number of local units are expressed in units.
  • Monetary data are expressed in millions of €.
  • Employment variables are expressed in units.
  • Per head values are expressed in thousands of € per head.

Ratios are expressed in percentages.

5. Reference Period Top

Data refer to calendar or fiscal year. If a fiscal years deviates from the calendar year, no adjustments are made.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Year 1995 was the first year for the implementation of the Council Regulation No 58/97 (SBS Regulation).

The Council Regulation No 58/97 has been amended three times: by Council Regulation No 410/98, Commission Regulation No 1614/2002 and European Parliament and Council Regulation No 2056/2002. As a new amendment of the basic Regulation it was decided to recast the Regulation No 58/97 in order to obtain a new "clean" legal text. The European Parliament and Council Regulation No 295/2008 was adopted on 14/02/2008 and the provisions of this Regulation are applicable from the reference year 2008. Regulation No 295/2008 has been amended by Commission Regulation (EU) No 446/2014.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

According to Article 19 of the Federal Statistics Act statistics shall be published in a manner that prevents any connection being made with statements concerning specific or identifiable data subjects unless the data subject concerned has no interest warranting protection in his/her data remaining confidential. In the event such connections cannot be ruled out, publication is subject to the explicit prior written consent of the data subject involved.

The SBS Confidentiality charter is the main reference for publication of SBS results on European level.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Aggregates have to be flagged confidential if data refer to less than 3 statistical units (primary confidentiality). Secondary confidentiality pattern is calculated by an algorithm making it impossible to recalculate confidential data by subtraction from row and column aggregates. No dominance criterion is applied, but the right of the enterprises themselves to protect their individual data has to be respected. So to speak, if a company proves dominance in a specific aggregate, the cells of the table might be closed, even if there are more than 3 contributing units. 

For calculation of an efficient secondary confidentiality pattern, a heuristic algorithm, developed by the Quality Management and Methods Unit of Statistics Austria, is applied since reference year 2015.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Dates of the release of SBS results in the first publication media (=internet) is preannounced in the release calendar of Statistics Austria, which is publicly accessible.

Final results are released by end of June (t+18 months), preliminary results released by end of October (t+10 months).

8.2. Release calendar access

Statistics Austria's release calendar.

8.3. Release policy - user access

Results are disseminated to all users at the same time; standard tables are for free access; more detailed tables in the Statistics Austria dissemination database STATcube are with costs.
Specific data are provided to everyone with a specific request. Feasibility of the request and payment of possible expenses is checked in advance.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top


10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

No news releases.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

SBS data is disseminated on the Website of Statistics Austria and in thematic paper publications (including a CD).
Website is available in German and English, paper publication in German only.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

SBS data is disseminated in the On-line database STATcube on an annual basis - in German and English. STATcube allows the processing of a large amount of data, generating and exporting tables in different formats according to individual needs.
Access is possible by:
Subscription - offers access to larger data volumes, access to data or detailed classifications locked in the Guest Access (depending on the matters), as well as the possibility to store query tables or
Registration without subscription - access to free data only and possibility to store query tables.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Micro-data access (e.g. for researchers) is not possible (legal restrictions).

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Data are sent to Eurostat to be released as national data and to be used in European aggregates.

10.6. Documentation on methodology

Metadata about methodology and quality is available in every paper and electronic publication. The most detailed documentation on methodology and quality is the so called "Standard Documentation", which is released on Statistics Austria's website. The Standard Documentation is available in German; the most important information is available in English as well.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Quality documentation is included in the "Standard Documentation" - see 10.6.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Statistics Austria is committed to ensuring the highest quality with respect to the compilation of statistical information. In accordance with the Federal Statistics Act (Article 24), Statistics Austria has to use statistical methods and processes in compliance with internationally recognised scientific principles and standards, conduct ongoing analyses of the statistics with a view to quality improvements and ensure that statistics are as up-to-date as possible. This commitment to quality is also specified in Statistics Austria’s mission statement. In adopting the European Statistics Code of Practice, Statistics Austria has committed to adhering to principles and standards for the production and dissemination of high-quality statistics. As part of the European Statistical System (ESS), Statistics Austria recognises the Quality Declaration of the ESS. The Statistics Council has set up a Quality Assurance Committee, a primary focus of which is the ongoing examination of potential quality improvements

Statistics Austria uses standard-documentation to provide users with information about the underlying concepts, definitions, methods used and the quality of the statistics (meta-information) in a standardised format.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

In cooperation with the Statistic Committee’s Quality Assurance Committee, feedback meetings concerning the quality of the different statistical products are held regularly within the framework of Statistics Austria’s quality management programme. In addition internal quality audits are carried out by the quality management team. The content and objectives concern critical examination of the quality aspects of statistics with particular consideration of the methods and processes used; identification of quality improvement potential; development of recommendations for improvement measures; and improvement of the standard documentation relating to the statistics in question, with special attention to the views of users and external experts.
A high quality is attributed to SBS data in Austria - nevertheless the following issues are raised in the course of the last internal quality audit (in 2017):
- carrying out multi yearly sample surveys for enterprises below thresholds to check and update model parameters; this issue was already raised in discussions with our national decision making bodies - burden on respondents and resources are major obstacles.
- Guarantee the availability of administrative data sources with regard to timeliness and quality
- Continuing the analysis with regard to consistency with business demography with the main target to reach almost complete consistency with implementation of FRIBS

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

National and Regional Accounts, Statistical Business Register, Social Statistics, Environmental Statistics, Science and Technology Statistics, Austrian Economic Chamber of Commerce, Austrian Institute of Economic Research and other research institutes, Universities, Ministries, press and media, Central Bank, enterprises, students etc.
Eurostat (European Commission), ECB, OECD etc.

Different user needs (SBS Regulation, National Accounts, other user needs) define the requirements for SBS at national level. Besides the discussion at European level, key users are consulted in the course of so called technical subcommittees. A technical subcommittee for enterprise statistics, which is responsible for SBS, comprises representatives from different user groups. There is at least one meeting in the course of the year. In the case of revisions and amendments of particular statistical products ad hoc meetings take place. To fulfil national user needs SBS data published at national level are different from data sent to Eurostat.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

A survey related to the user’s satisfaction is organized by Statistics Austria for key statistical projects. However, the information evolving from this survey, which was carried out in 2017 for the last time, does not provide special information for SBS, because various business statistics for trade and services as well as industries and construction are covered in total. Nevertheless results can be used for evaluating the fulfilment of user needs in general. Users have attributed an adequate satisfaction with results.

12.3. Completeness

National data are complete.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall
Restricted from publication
13.2. Sampling error
Restricted from publication
13.3. Non-sampling error
Restricted from publication

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Data collection deadline: 9 months after the end of the reference year
National dissemination of preliminary results: 10 months after the end of the reference year
Post-collection phase: 14 months after the end of the reference year
National dissemination: 18 months after the end of the reference year

14.2. Punctuality

Transmission deadline to Eurostat was respected for the reference year 2015

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

For the entire national territory the same concepts and definitions are applied. In general definitions of SBS Regulation are applied - but different accounting schemes (IFRS not obligatory in Austria) may have an influence on comparability.

15.2. Comparability - over time

1995: Census for all economic activities
1997 – 2001: Stratified random sample with free grossing up; yearly rotation of sampled units
2002 – 2007: New statistical law, better access to administrative sources and increasing coverage of BR; new strategy for compiling SBS results (cut-off sample and model based estimation in combination with use of administrative sources for enterprises below thresholds)
from 2008: Introduction of NACE Rev.2 and SBS-Recast-Regulation

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Number of enterprises (legal units), turnover, number of persons employed in the SBR:
In SBR enterprises with a yearly turnover of at least 10.000 EUR or with employees are recorded as active. In SBS the same thresholds for defining an enterprise as “active” are applied. With regard to turnover and persons employed in SBS survey data is available for the most important units - SBR is based mainly on administrative sources.
Number of enterprises in BD (business demography) Statistics:
The turnover threshold of 10.000 EUR is not applied for BD; units from the SBR for administrative purposes are included as well. However, these (administrative) units lack information and quality that would be essential for SBS purposes with its detailed variable catalogue and are therefore not yet included in SBS. Annual average for employment in SBS and operating period for BD. With implementation of FRIBS an almost total coherence is envisaged.
Inward FATS:
Beside information about foreign control from the Austrian Central Bank, SBS serves as basic data source for compilation of Inward FATS. So coherence of both statistical products is 100%.
Production value of PRODCOM: PRODCOM-data can directly be compared with data from the annual structural business statistics in the production sector on the basis of establishments. As these two statistics are carried out at different points of time, small deviations (e.g. due to retrospective reorganisation) have to be taken into account.
Value added of national accounts: SBS is an important data source for National Accounts. For calculation of Value added and GDP in NA some adjustments are necessary. These are e.g.: for variables not available for the KAU a projection of enterprise information to KAU is done, because the basic statistical unit of NA is KAU; completion of possible undercoverage in SBS data in the course of comparisons with turnover totals from the value added tax; definition differences between NA and SBS, which is based on financial statements; therefore production value and purchases of goods and services are adjusted by NA; estimation of hidden economy; addition of gratuities and tips; addition of economic activities not covered in SBS.

Evolution of turnover and persons employed from STS in industries and construction: STS data can directly be compared with data from the annual structural business statistics in the production sector. As these two statistics are carried out at different points of time, small deviations (e.g. due to retrospective reorganisation) have to be taken into account. Additionally one has to take care of different interpretations (e.g. employees: in SBS yearly average, in STS monthly average resp. number of employees at a special date.). Moreover it has to be taken into account that the reference period in SBS is not always the calendar year due to different possible financial years of enterprises.
Evolution of turnover and persons employed from STS in trade and services: Checked on a yearly basis. Generally speaking, both data sources show a very good coherence. Some restrictions are caused by the following reasons: Different strategy - in STS a stratified random sample with grossing up to the population is used for all economic activities except section I; VAT advance return is used for turnover for most of enterprises in STS (except selected enterprises in trade); definition differences to turnover in company accounts; deviating reporting periods; financial year is not the calendar year; retrospective reorganisation of enterprises; for STS in trade and services only indicators are published – no gross data; the developments of most economic activities for 2015 have shown coherence.
Business services (Annex VIII): Coherence is 100%
Labour statistics (LCI): LCI refers to local units instead of enterprises and only units with 10 or more persons employed are covered. Definition differences and methodological differences are reasons for inconsistencies.

15.4. Coherence - internal

Internal coherence is 100%.

16. Cost and Burden Top
Restricted from publication

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

Preliminary data at t+10 are revised with final data at t+18 months.

17.2. Data revision - practice

For calculation of preliminary results already available (and at least partly checked) survey data, administrative sources, STS in industries and construction and an estimation model is applied. For trade and services the estimation model is principally based on SBS results of the preceding year. Micro data of the previous year are extrapolated either by using enterprise specific rates from VAT or activity based rates. Employment data is taken from social security authorities and SBR directly.
Opposite to trade and services, in industries and construction synergies with especially the STS is used and so to speak additional sources of information for model based estimation are implemented.
For reasons of data quality additional plausibility checks are carried out for larger enterprises and enterprises with major deviations from the previous year. Birth and death of enterprises and NACE changes are also checked.
On aggregated level comparisons with STS results and other available information are carried out. A comparison with final results of SBS is also carried out and analysed.
The data revision (RMAR for preliminary data versus published final data for Annexes I to IV) for 2015 is 0,019 for turnover and 0,0093 for persons employed. So the concept and models for calculation of preliminary data work quite satisfactory.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

Source data is a sample survey (cut-off sample) for enterprises above legally defined threshold values and model based estimation using administrative data and SBR for enterprises below thresholds. The strategy is to survey all enterprises above the legally defined threshold values. It should be noted that available information from STS in industries and construction is also used. Because of these synergies the list of SBS variables in the questionnaires is reduced for most of the enterprises of sections B-F of NACE. For all enterprises below threshold values, model based estimation in combination with SBR and different administrative sources are applied. Both, the methodological and the national legal framework do not allow conventional grossing up, because the so called “concentration” sample (cut-off survey) is not a representative sample.
Characteristics of the cut-off sample:
The effective sample size for the reference year 2015 was about 33 700 enterprises (10,3% of the population), covering 71,4% of employees and 79,9% of total turnover.
Threshold values:
20 persons employed respectively flexible turnover thresholds of 1.5 Mio. EUR resp. 2.5 Mio. EUR if a legally defined coverage per NACE division is not reached.
NACE G-N, S95 excl. 64, 65:
Activity based flexible turnover thresholds of 300 TEUR, 900 TEUR, 1.9 Mio. EUR, 3 Mio. EUR and/or alternative employment thresholds of 10 or 20 persons employed
Administrative data sources:
Social security data: Variable 16130, 16110
Turnover and Income tax data: Variable 12110
Wage tax data: Variable 13320
Micro data are used as basic data for some characteristics (e.g. detailed breakdown for employment variables in services), for imputation in cases of non-response and for mass imputation for units below survey thresholds.

The frequency to which the used administrative data sources are updated is satisfactory. Administrative data are subject to several revisions with increasing degree of completeness. The relation between reporting units and legal units is as follows:
For tax data: 1:1; 1:n in exceptional cases; n:1 in the case of group taxation of enterprise groups
For social security data 1:1, 1:n for some cases, but as there is a link in the SBR to all social security accounts of an enterprise data aggregation at enterprise level is no problem.
The frame from which the sample is drawn is the SBR of Statistics Austria. The frequency of updating the SBR is as follows:
Register of companies: Daily
Tax Register: Monthly
Social security register: weekly
Membership file of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber: Weekly
Information obtained from economic surveys and classification notification: ad hoc
The sample in generally updated every year - with the possibility of slight updates in the course of the survey.
The classification of the principal activity is based on the value added. If this information is not available turnover or employment is used as approximation. Secondary activities are determined in the same way as principal activities. Ancillary activities are classified with the principal activity.  A top-down approach is applied for classification of units.
The principal activity can change whenever new information is available but in general the principal activity is held stable in the SBR within a calendar year with the exception of the reorganization of an observation unit. Within a calendar year it should not be changed for reasons of continuity and coherence with short-term statistics. Enterprises which are part of the cut-off survey for SBS are directly asked to state their principal activity. The BR is updated with activities changed in the course of surveys. Additionally enterprises are informed about their activity classification in the course of classification notifications.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Annual data collection

18.3. Data collection

Data collection from the reporting units is with electronic questionnaires (99,4% for reference year 2015). Postal questionnaires are allowed in exceptional cases only (if the technical preconditions in the reporting unit are not given). 10,3% of the population have received an request for reporting (reference year 2015). The respondents are contacted by postal letter or mail. Access codes for the electronic questionnaires are enclosed. Non-response is monitored in the SBR. The following actions are taken to speed up or increase the response:
- reminder for the closing date of the survey
- one or two e-mail reminder after the closing date, if required combined with at least one postal reminder (certified mail with delivery confirmation)
- reminder by telephone (mainly for very important enterprises)
- Finally Statistics Austria gives notice of enterprises refusing to respond to administrative authorities.
Administrative data:
Administrative units are linked to reporting units in the SBR; administrative data relevant for SBS is extracted from SBR and/or different databases and depicted in the data editing tool and provided as data files for model based estimation.

18.4. Data validation

First checks are carried out in the electronic questionnaire, but most of the checks on micro level are done in the course of data editing (mainly intra-dataset checks but also intra domain or intra source checks with information from administrative sources or other statistical domains).
Data editing is done by using a special IT tool, where predefined plausibility checks are carried out resulting in real errors, possible errors and information points. All in all there are more than 100 checks concerning the structure of enterprises, comparisons with administrative sources and the BR, checks within a category of variables and checks between categories of variables, but also checks between statistical units. Real errors have to be corrected, possible errors and information points have to be checked by our data editing staff and possibly revised or confirmed as correct.

The second stage of data validation is done on macro level (aggregated data, ratios, comparison with results of other statistics, etc.). An important step in the course of data validation is checking the impact and quality of model based estimation on overall results by economic activity. Data visualisation is applied as well.

The final checks are done in the EDIT tool prior to the data transmission to Eurostat, but many of the data checks are already implemented in the data editing tool.

18.5. Data compilation

The data compilation process distinguishes between primary survey and model based estimation. After data editing process of survey data is finished, model based estimation is carried out, for which survey data is beside SBR and administrative sources an important source of information for calculating model parameters. Unit non-response is imputed in the course of model based estimation. In addition to model based estimation the following methods have been used for unit and item non response in the course of the data editing process:
Information from administrative sources
Annual accounts
Imputation based on information from the previous year
Use of other statistical information (e.g. STS)
Mean imputation
Automatic corrections in the data editing tool (predefined corrections of selected variables under certain conditions to save time and resources for data editing)
Grossing up is not applied - instead of grossing up a "mass imputation" for all enterprises below thresholds values and unit non response is done by model based estimation. Model based estimation is done on micro level. SBS results are compiled by aggregating the survey data and estimated data to overall results by economic activity, size classes and regions.

18.6. Adjustment

If the accounting period of an enterprise differs from the calendar year the units are asked to indicate the precise reference period provided. A correction to bring it in accordance with the reference period is done in cases with relevance for overall results for data.

19. Comment Top

For reference year 2018 the implementation of the statistical unit "enterprise" will require considerable changes in the methodology.

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top