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different values for the columns/tooltips for the GFS data

Dear colleague,

Further to your question about the metadata for the GFS data, here is a brief description of the various metadata fields you have asked about:

  • Status – data in the GFS database can be marked as either actual / final (A), preliminary (P) or estimated (E) – with the expectation that there would be limited or no revisions to data marked as actual / final, whereas preliminary data may be subject to revision as source data improves. Estimated data is rare, but may include data that is compiled using statistical methods to gross up from a more limited survey sample (for example, some very large countries may use a representative survey of subnational government units to estimate data for the local government subsector)
  • Valuation – the database collects metadata on the basis of valuation for assets and liabilities in the government balance sheet when countries report this data. The basis of recording can have material impact on the resulting values. Nonfinancial assets can be valued at market value (MV), Historic cost value (HV) or book value (BV). Financial assets and liabilities can be valued at market value (MV), Face value (FV) and nominal value (NV). More information on these different methods of valuation can be found in the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014 Chapter 3 §3.113-3.117
  • Basis of recording: cash / non cash – Transactions in GFS (revenue, expenditure, transactions in financial assets and liabilities can be recorded on either a cash (CA) or non-cash basis (AC). Non-cash recording includes a spectrum of recording methods from modified cash to partial or full accrual recording. While the GFSM 2014 encourages countries to compile and report data on an accrual basis, many countries continue to use cash reporting and report data on this basis. More information on the different bases of recording are including in GFSM 2014 Chapter 3.
  • Basis of recording: gross / net – This specifically refers to transactions in nonfinancial assets, and even more specially to fixed assets (such as buildings, structures and machinery). Gross or net here refers to whether transactions include or exclude consumption of fixed capital (similar depreciation). GFS data presents data on the net acquisition of nonfinancial assets, and this is defined as acquisitions less disposals of nonfinancial assets, but for countries that report on a net basis it also extends to include the consumption of fixed capital. Here is a mathematical example:


Country A

Country B

Basis of recording – nonfinancial assets



Net acquisition of nonfinancial assets



Acquisitions of nonfinancial assets



Disposals of nonfinancial assets



Consumption of fixed capital

Not available


The net acquisition of nonfinancial assets will be lower in countries that report this on a net basis, as they will calculate this by subtracting consumption of fixed capital, so care should be taken when comparing this aggregate across countries (and we encourage use of a separate aggregate that excludes consumption of fixed capital if doing cross country comparisons for both types of reporters to look at net acquisition of nonfinancial assets.

I hope this all helps, please come back to us if you have further questions.

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