Business Frame



Business Frame


The Business Frame (BF) is a database of the individual economic units which make up the New Zealand economy. It includes private businesses ranging from self-employed individuals, farms and small stores to large corporations. Also recorded are organisations such as clubs and societies, Government departments, local authorities, churches and voluntary groups. As at August 2013, information is recorded for approximately 465,000 economically significant enterprises and the locations (geographic units) at which they operate. The maintained population for the Business Frame is economically significant enterprises. An enterprise is said to be economically significant if it meets one or more of the following criteria: annual expenses or sales (subject to GST) of more than $30,000 12 month rolling mean employee count of greater than three part of a group of enterprises registered for GST and involved in agriculture or forestry over $40,000 of income recorded in the IR10 annual tax return.

The BF coverage is maintained by continually monitoring all GST-registered enterprises and all enterprises with paid employees recorded on the IRD client registration file to determine if they meet the 'economic significance' requirements for 'birthing' onto the Business Frame. The prime objective of the BF is to provide an up to date and accurately classified list of all economically significant Enterprises for designing, selecting and operating Statistics New Zealand’s economic and financial survey program. The BF facilitates the integration of business tax data with Statistics NZ survey data by holding a link between the BF enterprise unit and the administrative tax unit. The BF is also used as a source of standard classifications for data sources that can be linked or matched. The Business Frame is maintained by using administrative tax and Companies Office data, frame maintenance surveys, feed back from other Statistics NZ surveys and other data sources eg media, other lists etc. There are three different types of statistical unit on the BF. (a) Enterprises Enterprises generally correspond to legal entities such as companies, incorporated clubs & societies, state owned enterprises & statutory bodies, central & local government etc., and other entities such as sole proprietors, partnerships, and trusts. (b) Kind Of Activity Unit (KAU) This represents a sub-division of an Enterprise consisting of a set of one or more Geographic units for which a single set of accounting records is available from the owners. Every Enterprise on the BF has one or more KAU unit records associated with it. (c) Geographic Unit The geographic unit represents a business location engaged in one, or predominantly one, kind of economic activity at a single physical site or base (eg a factory, a farm, a shop, an office). Geographic units are unique to enterprises and an enterprise unit can have from one to many geographic units (business locations). Typically an enterprise unit only has a single geographic unit, unless the enterprise has paid employees permanently working at more than one location. Geographic units can be transferred between enterprises, for example enterprise B purchases a factory (a geographic unit on the BF) as a going concern from enterprise A.


The Business Frame (BF) is a statistical business register of New Zealand businesses. It records details such as business names and addresses, predominant type of industrial activity performed, institutional sector, employment levels, and the degree of overseas ownership. The primary purpose of the BF is as a statistical register or frame for the statistical outputs produced by Statistics NZ. Using a single centralised frame for all Statistics NZ business and economic outputs facilitates the integration of different outputs and data sources, and ensures that classifications and statistical unit definitions are applied consistently.

Significant events impacting this study series

Statistics NZ has maintained a list of businesses for the purposes of providing survey populations for many years. In the mid 1970's this was restricted to manufacturers. In the late 1970s the ECMR (Economic Master Register) was set up, progressively covering most industries, except for agriculture. The ECMR was maintained from a variety of sources including administrative lists of factories, other business lists and enumeration for retailing businesses. For a brief period of time before the Business Directory was set up in 1986 tax records of employers was used as an updating source. Statistics NZ maintained an independent agriculture register for the purposes of operating the then annual agricultural census.

In 1986 the BD (Business Directory) was created. From 1986 to 1994 the BD was primarily maintained from: (a) The Annual Business Directory Update (ABDU) survey carried out each February. (b) Monthly birth survey based on new compulsory GST registrations from IRD. (c) Survey feed back.

Before 1991 the BD excluded agriculture. In 1991 the BD was merged with the Agriculture Survey register.

In 1994 the BD coverage was extended to all GST registrations (voluntary, compulsory, special and forced). The maintained population on the frame for non agricultural units was restricted to units with a compulsory, forced or special GST registration status and voluntary registered units with annual GST activity > $30,000. All GST active agricultural units were included.

In 1996 the BD mainframe system was rebuilt to a client server hardware environment and the name changed to the BF (Business Frame).

In July 2003 a new maintenance strategy was introduced that extended the use of tax data for maintaining the BF and stopped the BF update surveys collecting detailed employment data directly from businesses.

Usage and limitations of the data

The LBF (Longitudinal BF) is created on a monthly basis from the BF. Business Demography Statistics are derived and published from LBF information each year.

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8 30/11/2021 4:37:50 PM