Better access to external sources
In January 2010 Statistics Netherlands has changed the setup of enterprise groups. The results fit better with the Dutch tax system. Doing so will greatly enhance the access for statistical purposes to the registers of other government organisations, especially the fiscal registers. This is expected to lead to a further reduction of the overall administrative burden on businesses.
Why does Statistics Netherlands do this?
The reduction of the administrative burden on businesses is high on the political agenda. Therefore Statistics Netherlands has to use register data from other governmental organisations whenever it can.
In January 2010 Statistics Netherlands has changed the set up the enterprise groups to better fit with the Dutch tax system. This is done to enhance register use. The enterprise groups were based on information of the Chambers of Commerce, but from now on also on information on ownership relations of the tax authorities.
Consequences for statistical results
The changes may have a temporary effect on the outcomes of economic statistics, such as breaks in the time series or temporary loss of quality due to diminished response.
If so, Statistics Netherlands will inform its users when the results are published, in the usual way.
Statistics Netherlands will do everything to control the damage and to repair any breaks. On the other hand, the increased use of registrations opens the way to better and new information products in the future.
What are enterprise groups?
Statistics Netherlands wants to have a proper picture of the businesses and institutions active in the Dutch economy so that it can compile its business statistics. When several limited or general partnerships are part of a group, Statistics Netherlands wants to record them as a group in the statistics. Statistics Netherlands calls this an enterprise group. The limited or general partnerships that form the enterprise group are called group companies.
What are the changes?
1. Until 2010 Statistics Netherlands compiled its enterprise groups on the basis of information provided by the Chambers of Commerce. Statistics Netherlands only assigned businesses with a full 100% ownership relation to one group. The tax authorities also include majority interests of less than 100%. So Statistics Netherlands is adapting its groups to these criteria.
2. The statistical unit in compiling business statistics is the business unit. An enterprise group may consist of one or several business units. Until 2010 all business units under an enterprise group were included individually in the populations of the statistics. This changed on 1 January 2010 for small and medium-sized enterprise groups. Statistics Netherlands now assigns all business units that belong to a single enterprise group to a single business unit. Nothing changes for large enterprise groups.
Consequences for the surveys
The change has consequences for the way in which certain businesses and institutions, consisting of several limited or general partnerships (group companies) have to supply their data to Statistics Netherlands.
Some businesses or institutions that fill out surveys for Statistics Netherlands more often and consist of several partnerships group companies may receive a different list of group companies than they were used to. Some businesses that used to fill out individual questionnaires now may have to provide joint data as a parent and daughter company.
Potential breaks in the series
The new way of combining and surveying enterprise groups and business units may have the following impact on the statistical results: per SIC code (SIC= Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities) and/or size class of the businesses, or a combination of the two variables (nuclear cell) the population size may change. Due to the new construction, business units may move to another category, in which case the weighting and raising of the sample survey results will also change.
This may lead to breaks in series. We cannot yet predict if any breaks will actually occur or how serious they will be. This may also vary per statistic. The possibilities to repair such breaks will be exhaustively examined, based on the principle that existing series must be continued.
Timeliness and quality
The introduction of the new setup temporary calls for an extra effort in the statistical process. A small proportion of the businesses have to report differently which may lead temporarily to a lower and less accurate response to the surveys. Furthermore, editing, analysing and publishing the results of the surveys may take more time than usual.
Although Statistics Netherlands does everything to control the damage, the results may temporarily be delayed and of lesser quality.
Slightly more heterogeneity
Because of the changes in combining companies to enterprise groups, a SIC category may include some business units that are not in the same line of business. However, this increase in heterogeneity will be relatively limited for two reasons. First, the setup of enterprise groups will not affect the large enterprises (the so-called Top X), which cover most of the Dutch economy.
The breakdown into business units for Top X enterprises still will be made, so this will not affect the SIC codes. Second, the number of enterprises that will be involved in the new structure is relatively small. Nothing changes for most enterprises.
Moreover there was certain heterogeneity before 2010. For example, a production unit and a logistic unit together formed an enterprise group and were surveyed as such.
Finally, changes at the 1 or 2 digit level of the SIC are quite limited. The more detail, however, the greater the risk of shifts.