Annual Enterprise Survey

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The ongoing Annual Enterprise Survey (AES) is New Zealands' most comprehensive source of financial statistics and provides annual financial performance and financial position information about business operation within New Zealand. Its coverage is around 80% of New Zealands' Gross Domestic Product (GDP).


The main objective of the Annual Enterprise Survey is to provide annual data for financial performance and financial position by broad industry groups. This annual overview of the economy provides:

  • a measure of industry performance and financial structure, including economic ratios such as the return on assets and equity, and debt ratios,
  • economic intelligence for the analysis of movements in different industries within the national economy,
  • the main accounting aggregates needed to compile the National Accounts estimates, These include:
  • current price annual industry based production accounts,
  • annual benchmarks for the reconciliation of quarterly and annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates,
  • annual updates of Input - Output tables,
  • Institutional Sector accounts.

Citation Information


Annual Enterprise Survey

Alternate Title



Statistics New Zealand: National Accounts


Statistics New Zealand


Statistics New Zealand

Coverage Information

Temporal Coverage

  • 1986 to present

Topical Coverage

  • Macroeconomic statistics
  • Economic accounts
  • Business statistics
  • Financial statistics
  • Income and expenditure
  • income
  • expenditure
  • assets
  • liabilities
  • equity
  • stocks
  • fixed assets
  • profitability
  • financial ratios
  • sales
  • purchases
  • salaries and wages paid
  • interest received/paid
  • depreciation
  • non-operating income/expense

Usage and limitations of the data

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

  • industry benchmarking,
  • the Tatauranga Umanga Māori publication - in AES2013, we increased the sample to include more Māori business units, which allow us to analyse and produce Māori business statistics at an industry level,
  • Longitudinal Research of Business Dynamics project (see Longitudinal business database)
  • Business Price Indexes,
  • Regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP),
  • Tourism Satellite Account,
  • Non-profit Institutions Satellite Account.

In recent years, we have had increased demand for non-standard output from users. We are providing more input into research surrounding these requests. Examples include:

  • frequent requests from other government departments, such as the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment,
  • requests for data/information by turnover bands, which can add significant analytical value and is a popular request.

Limitations of using the AES data

The AES data is to be used with caution below industry design level (NZSIOC level 4). The survey is not designed to support analysis below this level.

Significant events impacting this study series

1969 Recommendation 4 of the 1969 Technical Committee on Statistics states "That the Department of Statistics integrate as far as possible and as soon as possible, all statistics of economic activity whether for national accounts or other purposes, by means of nation-wide enterprise inquiries rather than the existing individual surveys." At the time the recommendation was made the typical economic census was largely run as an independent exercise, each one designed to meet its own particular requirements and each one largely unrelated to any other. The Technical Committee characterised the existing statistical surveys as unsuitable since they suffered from overlaps, gaps and inconsistent boundaries and valuations, and overall they lacked integration. The system of statistical surveys was as a whole falling well short of meeting the increasing demands for comprehensive and timely statistics.

1974 An inter-departmental committee was created to 'advise on current and anticipated future statistical needs in both Government and the private sector'. The recommendations produced by the report, incorporating recommendations by the 1969 Technical Committee, were accepted by the Government and these then provided the basis for the Department's development of business statistics. The report stressed the need for standard statistical classifications, and the integration of both coverage and concepts in the existing system of statistical surveys and censuses. Consequently the development of integrated economic censuses was recommended and the development of an integrated census of manufacturing was given first stage priority.

1975 This year saw the introduction of the first integrated manufacturing census, which replaced the old Industrial Production Census. The Central Register of Enterprises (known as the Business Register) provided a register of manufacturing enterprises, used via addressograph plates, to structure the census population.

1976 On 16 December 1976 the Minister of Statistics approved in principle a programme of economic censuses. In seeking this approval the Department said "The department's future work programme provides for the development of an integrated series of enterprise based economic censuses". Census of Manufacturing conducted.

1977 Census of Manufacturing conducted.

1978 Census of Distribution conducted.

1979 The following economic censuses were conducted: Manufacturing; Building and Construction; and Mining and Quarrying.

1980 The following economic censuses were conducted: Transport and Communications; Agricultural Contracting; and Forestry and Logging.

1981 The following economic censuses were conducted: Fishing and Miscellaneous Services.

1982 Census of Manufacturing was conducted.

1983 The following economic censuses were conducted: Distribution, and Financial and Insurance Services.

1984 The following economic censuses were conducted: Manufacturing, Mining and Quarrying, Forestry and Logging, and Fishing.

1985 The following economic censuses were conducted: Building and Construction, Transport and Communications, Agricultural Contracting and Hunting.

1986 The Annual Enterprise Survey was introduced for the 1985/86 survey year. This was intended to overcome the weaknesses of the economic censuses, particularly the inability to accurately conduct cross-sector analysis. The survey covered all parts of the economy except for agriculture production, central government administration & defence, water works & supply, local government administration, electricity generation & distribution, communications, insurance, sanitary & cleaning services, all social & related community services, and recreational & cultural services.

1987 The Annual Enterprise Survey population was updated and extended to cover additional industry groups. A separate Economy Wide Census of all industries, focusing on the sales and purchases of goods and services, was also conducted in 1987.

1988 The Communications industry was surveyed in the Annual Enterprise Survey for the first time.

1989 The Electricity industry was surveyed in the Annual Enterprise Survey for the first time.

1990 Beginning in 1990, the survey population was re-selected from the Business Directory, on an annual basis.

1992 New imputation methodology introduced. The Census of Distribution was conducted in conjunction with the Annual Enterprise Survey (by extending the AES population for that industry to full coverage).

1993 The Census of Distribution was conducted in conjunction with the Annual Enterprise Survey. The following industries were surveyed within AES for the first time:

  • Hunting and Trapping; Other Welfare Institutions; and Live Entertainment and Cultural Services nec,
  • More detailed Wholesale and Retail Trade industries introduced,
  • More detailed Health and Welfare industries introduced,
  • Fishing was split into two industries: Ocean Fishing and Other Fishing. Prior to 1993 Fishing was spread across eight industries: Trawling, Dredging, Squid, Potting, Hand, Shellfish, Farming, and Other,
  • The superannuation industry was dropped from AES coverage due to quality concerns.

1994 The Annual Enterprise Survey population was expanded to include units introduced to the Business Directory and Inland Revenue FIRST reconciliation project. This event mainly impacted on the Agricultural Contracting industry where total income jumped by about 10 percent ($83 million).

1995 The Census of Manufacturing was conducted in conjunction with Annual Enterprise Survey. The AES population definition changed to exclude compulsory Goods and Service Tax (GST) registrations that fall below the threshold of economic significance.

1996 The Census of the Rest of the Economy was conducted in conjunction with Annual Enterprise Survey.

1998 The Annual Enterprise Survey sample based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) classification, replacing the New Zealand Standard Industrial Clasification (NZSIC). For the first time the private sector participants in the Sewerage and Drainage Services and Water Supply industries were included in the AES sample. In addition a number of industries were brought into AES for the first time through the use of data from IR10s' and existing surveys of the government sector:

  • From IR10: Horticulture and Fruit Growing; Livestock and Cropping Farming, Dairy Cattle farming, Other Farming and Commercial Property Operators and Developers,
  • From existing government surveys: Central Government Administration, Defence, Public Order and Safety Services and Local Government Administration,
  • IR10 data was used for all individual and partnership business types (instead of direct surveying),
  • Output editing processes were reviewed and updated,
  • Other changes were made as part of the AES re-design.

1999 The following changes were made to the Annual Enterprise Survey:

  • Creative Arts, Sports and Services to Sports, and Interest Groups n.e.c. were surveyed for the first time,
  • Sample re-selected,
  • Questionnaires re-designed,
  • Survey re-designed as a two component survey,
  • New computer processing systems (Sprocet & Sybase) introduced,
  • Output variables introduced. This is the level of variable that AES is published at, such as total income and the individual components that make up total income e.g. sales of goods and services not further processed.

2001 Early pilot survey of Commercial Property Operators conducted within the Annual Enterprise Survey framework.

2003 A trading account summary was introduced into the retail trade industry questionnaire to simplify the recording of sales, cost of goods sold and stock values for respondents. Full time equivalents were replaced by rolling mean employment.

2004 Introduction of scanning and image recognition to the survey process. Further pilot testing of Commercial Property Operators conducted with intention to publish a re-casted time series for this industry in the Annual Enterprise Survey 2005.

2005 Information for Commercial Property Operators was sourced from direct survey for the first time in 2004, and was introduced in the 2005 publication. Time series of the Commercial Property industry was backdated from 1999 to 2003 using the 2004 survey data as a benchmark.

2006 Sample boost to help with the revisions due to the introduction of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC06).

2007 Sample re-optimised in response to the classification change from Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC96 to ANZSIC06). Survey designed and published on an ANZSIC06 basis. 2005 and 2006 data backdated on an ANZSIC06 basis.

2009 The Annual Enterprise Survey was redesigned. Changes in the 2009 year included:

  • Sample re-optimised,
  • Questionnaires re-designed,
  • Survey reverted to a one-component survey,
  • Increased use of administrative data (IR10),
  • Change to the range of the random number line used for selecting postal units. This was done to try and give respondents a rest from selection over a number of years.

2010 Further improvements were made including:

  • Additional use of administrative data (IR10),
  • 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, in AES10 this was progressed two weeks to the middle of September).

2011 Improvements made in the Annual Enterprise Survey 2011 included:

  • A further increase in the use of administrative data (IR10) to replace sampled units,
  • Started using Charities Services data to replace sampled units,
  • The release date moved to the end of August, two weeks earlier than AES 2010,
  • 2010/2011 Canterbury and Christchurch earthquakes had significant influences on the ongoing economic output of businesses located in Christchurch,
  • Additional tables were released at level 4 of the New Zealand Standard Industrial Output Classification (NZSIOC).

2012 Improvements made and significant events in the Annual Enterprise Survey 2012 included:

  • Use of more administrative data for industries other than agriculture, forestry, and fishing division (ANZSIC06 division A). IR10 data did not provide direct estimates of additions and disposals of fixed assets, so modelling was used to calculate these. Additions and disposals of fixed assets were suppressed from the "all industries" table, all agricultural industries, and the accommodation industry tables. The increased use of administrative data in 2012 also caused a discontinuity in shareholders' funds/owners' equity in the repairs and maintenance industry, and the accommodation industry,
  • 2010/2011 Canterbury and Christchurch earthquakes continued to have significant influences on the ongoing economic output of businesses located in Christchurch,
  • A new tax law was introduced on the 1st of April 2011 which affected depreciation of buildings. The effect of the law change was primarily seen in the rental, hiring, and real estate services industry. It was the main contributor to the decrease in depreciation across all industries in the 2012 financial year.

2013 Improvements made and significant events in the Annual Enterprise Survey 2013 included:

  • A further increase in the use of the Charities Services data.
  • The IR10 form was re-designed to improve the quality of data collected. The IR10 form changes resulted in measurement discontinuities of some variables such as shareholders' funds/owners' equity, current liabilities and non-operating income. The discontinuities were more significant in industries which used IR10 data as their predominant source.

2014 Improvements made and significant events in the Annual Enterprise Survey 2014 included:

  • In 2014, AES used the Statistical Classification for Institutional Sectors (SCIS). Because of this change, family trusts are now classified under the household sector. Before 2014 they were classified under the non-financial business sector and included in the financial assets investing industry in AES. The AES does not measure household sector activities. As a result, over 10,000 family trusts included in the scope of AES in 2013 are excluded in 2014. The impacts of the change can be seen in the financial position of the financial asset investors industry (NZSIOC KK112) for the 2014 financial year, particularly in the decrease in fixed asset holdings measured by the AES.

2015 Improvements made and significant events in the Annual Enterprise Survey 2015 included:

  • Data released for 2015 now excludes data for non-market government units. These changes were back-dated to 2013. This is due to the fact that coverage of non-market government data was incomplete within AES and the information is available from other sources. For data on non-market government units users are referred to Government Finance Statistics.
  • To continue to reduce respondent load, in the 2015 financial year AES sourced more data from the inland Revenue (IR10).
  • A large number of units were re-classified in the agriculture industry in 2015, as a result of information received from Agricultural Production Statistics: June 2015 (final). The units affected were mainly in the horticulture industry. Most of these re-classified units remain in the wider agriculture industry. The larger changes, with the most industry impact have been back-dated to 2013.
  • In AES 2015 additional data was collected for financial assets and liabilities. This was to complete the alignment of the AES collection to the Statistical Classification of Financial Assets and liabilities (SCFAL).

Main users of the data


The Annual Enterprise Survey data forms the basis of Statistics New Zealand's national accounts statistics including :

  • Production/Industry Accounts,
  • Institutional Sector Accounts,
  • Inter-Industry Study,
  • Provisional National Accounts.


AES provides a wealth of information to economic researchers, forecasters, entrepreneurs and government agencies. Areas of interest include the financial performance across industries and the more detailed information for industries less well covered by more timely statistics.


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