Survey Participant Information - Economic Activity Survey - Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services

ECONOMIC ACTIVITY SURVEY - RENTAL, HIRING AND REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY SURVEY

Welcome to the help page for the Economic Activity Survey - Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services 2016-17.

If you have received a survey form, your business has been selected this year to represent your industry, irrespective of business type (including not-for-profit organisations) or the size of the business. Small businesses have different characteristics from large and medium size businesses and make an important contribution to the Australian economy. The data you provide in the survey will contribute to the compilation of Australian National Accounts including Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures.

For general information about participation in business surveys please see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and for assistance with using the online survey form, please see eSurvey - Help.

This help page includes the following sections:

  • General Information
  • Employment
  • Income Items
  • Expense Items
  • Inventories
  • Capital Expenditure and Disposal of Assets
  • Multi-state Operations
  • Checklist.


GENERAL INFORMATION

The questions have been tailored to capture industry specific items; however, not all the information referenced below is relevant to all businesses completing the Economic Activity Survey - Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services 2016-17.

Only include information for the business named at the start of the survey.

What should I report if my business does not engage in rental, hiring and real estate services?

If your business does not engage in rental, hiring and real estate services, you will still be required to complete the survey. Some of the tailored questions will not be relevant to your business and these can be left blank. For sections of the survey where there is a response option for 'Other' you will be able to report your information here. You will still have to specify the nature of these 'Other' items. There is also a comments section at the end of the survey which you may wish to use to provide further details about your business.

What should I do if I cannot report at the necessary level of detail for some survey items?

The ABS requires information that is as accurate as possible. The information supplied by your business is used to produce estimates for all businesses within the same industry operating in Australia. The more accurate the figures you supply, the more accurate the estimates will be. However, if accurate data is not readily available, careful estimates will be accepted.


EMPLOYMENT

How should I report employment?


Employment
is a headcount of all persons who worked for the business as proprietors, partners, salaried directors or other employees in the last pay period ending in June 2017. It excludes casual or seasonal employees who are on the payroll, but did not work during this pay period. You should report for the last pay period ending in June 2017 even if this is not the last pay period in your financial reporting year.

Working proprietors and partners
If you are the owner-operator or partner of an unincorporated business, include yourself (and other partners) under Working proprietors and partners. Salaried directors of Pty Ltd companies should not be counted as working proprietors, but should be included as Salaried directors. Non salaried directors are excluded and should not be counted in Employment.

Other employees

This is a headcount of all persons who worked for the business and were paid through the payroll in the last pay period ending in June 2017 excluding salaried directors for incorporated businesses or working proprietors and partners for unincorporated businesses.

What about persons working for the business under contract?
  • Contractors and subcontractors who are other businesses, (i.e. have their own ABN and are paid on a fee for service or commission only basis), should not be counted in Employment.
  • If the business paid another business for contract staff, and those persons were on the payroll of the other business, they should not be counted in Employment.
  • Persons employed on a fixed-term contract, e.g. temporary staff, should be included in Other employees, only if they were paid through the payroll in the last pay period ending in June 2017 and Pay As You Go (PAYG) tax was deducted for them.


INCOME ITEMS

What should be reported as Income from rental, hiring and real estate services?

Generally, payment received for the provision of any services, regardless of whether they are a primary or secondary activity of the business, should be reported in the relevant income item category. This includes contract, subcontract and commission income. Examples of income that might be directly asked include:
  • Real estate services
  • Property assets owned
  • Heavy machinery and scaffolding rental and hiring
  • Motor vehicle and transport rental and hiring
  • Farm animal and blood-stock leasing

Distinction: "Wet" and "dry" hire
Some equipment, e.g. machinery, equipment or vehicles, may be hired either with or without operator/driver. This distinction, sometimes referred to as "wet" and "dry" hire, determines how this type of income should be reported.
  • Where the business derives income from hiring out equipment without operator ("dry" hire), that income should be reported in the relevant Rent, leasing and hiring services income item;
  • Where the business derives income from hiring out equipment with operator ("wet" hire), the income should be reported as Income from other services.

What if I cannot split income across the different types of services and products asked?

If you are unable to split the income from your business across the different types of services and products asked, please record a careful estimate. For example, many businesses generate income from a full line offering of services which may be recorded on a business segment, project or contract basis. Careful estimates from management accounts are accepted.

If you are still having difficulty in assigning income across the different services, please report against the primary nature of the service your business provides. For example, if a business is primarily involved in camper van rentals, but they also rent camping equipment, but cannot split the two income streams, then the business should report against the primary service and note this in the comments section at the end of the survey.

What is the difference between Sales of goods produced and Sales of goods not produced?

Sales of goods produced occur when the business that sells a good is the same business which undertook production of the good, or had the good produced for it by a third party on a contract, sub-contract or commission basis.

Sales of goods not produced are those goods the business purchased ready-made, then resold without making changes to the goods. Both wholesale and retail sales of goods should be reported here.

Delivery charges separately invoiced or itemised to customers refers to the amount of income that is charged separately on invoice for the delivery of sale of goods to customers. For delivery of sales of goods not separately invoiced include income in Sales of goods. This expense is not embedded in the actual rental contract.

What should I report in Other income?

The Other income question is designed for providers to report the effects of all non-operating items in their Income Statement. Both profit and loss effects should be included from items such as equity investments, variations in exchange rates and sales of other assets.

How to report income from various sources/activities? Although this list is not exhaustive, it does address some of the common reporting problems encountered by businesses.

Royalties income includes payments received for the use of intellectual property owned by the business. This category is split between payments received for franchise fees and brand licensing arrangements, e.g. patents and trademarks and other royalty income, e.g. copyrights.

Asset sales: The profit or loss from the sale of assets should be reported in Other Income as a positive or negative value. The proceeds from the sale of assets should be reported as Disposal of assets. For example, if a business disposed of a car the amount received for the sale would be reported under Disposal of assets. The difference between the proceeds and the book value of the asset at time of sale would be reported under Other Income.

Government funding: Any income received through government funding (e.g. Job Active, apprenticeship and traineeship schemes) should be reported as Funding from federal, state and/or local government. This question is split to allow reporting for funding for operational costs (e.g. wages and salaries, rent and food) and funding provided for specific capital items.

Discounts/Rebates received: Discount or rebates received by a business from its suppliers should not be reported as income, but should be deducted from the expense item to which the discount or rebate applied (e.g. Purchases, Other operating expenses).

Progress payments billed on long term contracts: Where a business has entered into a long term contract to supply goods or services, and recognises expenses and progress payments in its accounts, the progress payments should be reported as Sales of goods or Income from services, depending on the nature of the contract.

Sponsorship income: Sponsorship is not considered the same as a donation, as it involves a transaction, usually advertising or promotional benefits for the individual or business making the payment. It should therefore be reported as Income from other services, unlike donations, which are reported as Other income.

What if I don't know who my main client industry is by income?

There are two questions that seek information on the key buying markets for your business.

First the percentage of income reported is required to be split by three client sectors.

The next question requires a further percentage split of income items generated from a specific client sector. It asks for a breakdown of this amount by client industry. Your business/organisation has most likely not generated income from all the industries listed under this question, please only report for those client industries that are relevant. If a client industry of your business is not on the list please write this into the other field.

For these questions please record a careful estimate of your income by client sector and industry. If you encounter difficulty, you may look at your businesses top ten income generating clients and use this to guide your response.

Example: A company that provides furniture rental to a number of industries is unsure how to report for this question. The businesses top ten income generating clients are legal firms and two retail businesses. Using this intelligence, the business estimate their top client industries as being professional services (80%) and retail and wholesale trade (20%).


EXPENSE ITEMS

How should I report Labour costs?

Labour costs do not include payments to contractors or sub-contractors operating under their own ABN. Information on Payments to contractors can be found under How should I report payments made to contractors and other businesses for services?

Payments made to another (related or unrelated) business for the supply of staff on a fee or contract basis, where the staff entitlements are paid by the business supplying the employees, should be recorded in the Labour Costs question Payments to other businesses/organisations (e.g. employment agencies) for staff. Payment to another business for recruitment services (i.e. advertising vacancies, conducting interviews) on behalf of your business should also be included in Payments to other businesses/organisations (e.g. employment agencies) for staff. However, any costs incurred by your business in the conduct of its own recruitment processes (e.g. payment directly to newspapers for running job vacancy advertisements) should be reported in Other operating expenses.

Employer contributions paid into superannuation should not include personal superannuation contributions for business owners not drawing a wage.

Payroll tax
is levied by State/Territory governments on businesses with large payrolls (usually greater than $0.5 million for the year). It does not refer to income tax withholding for employees.

Wages and salaries including provisions for employee entitlements
- gross (i.e. before tax) wages and salaries should be reported.
Capitalised wages and salaries (i.e. wages and salaries for work relating to the creation of capital assets) should not be included in Labour costs but instead at Capitalised wages and salaries.

How should I report payments made to contractors, subcontractors and consultants?

Reporting of payments to contractors, subcontractors and consultants depends on the type of service contracted and how the contractors are paid. To identify these workers, consider that contractors, subcontractors and consultants are not employees of your business, and therefore, do not receive a payment summary.

The following are examples of how some commonly incurred expenses should be reported:
  • When a contractor or subcontractor who has their own business, and therefore their own ABN, is paid for purchased services (e.g. scaffolding rental and hiring), these payments should be reported in Payments to contractors, subcontractors and consultants. This includes contractors paid on invoice.
  • Where a business hires staff from an employment agency or labour hire firm, and payments made to this business for the supply of staff are on a fee or contract basis, then these payments should be reported in Labour costs under Payments to other businesses/organisations for staff.
  • Payments made to contracted and owner drivers to transport goods, equipment and other assets on behalf of this business/organisation should be reported in Freight and cartage expenses.
  • Payments to businesses for general services should be included in the relevant expense item, if available (e.g. Travel, accommodation and entertainment expenses). Otherwise, they should be included in Other operating expenses.
  • Capitalised contractor payments should be reported in Other capitalised costs.

How should I report Purchases?

If a good is purchased to be used or consumed in the production of goods or services (including office consumables) its cost should be reported as Purchases of materials, components, spare parts, electricity, fuels and water. Repairs and maintenance of equipment should be reported under Repair and maintenance expenses.

If the same good is purchased simply to be on-sold in the same form (without transformation), its cost should be reported as Purchases of finished goods for resale. Note: In the context of selling finished goods, Purchases (expenses) are not the same as cost of goods sold. Purchases represent the amount actually expended by the business in the reporting period. Cost of goods sold, which is not collected in this form, represents the amount expended only on goods actually sold in the reporting period (cost of goods sold is equal to purchases plus opening inventories minus closing inventories).

Purchases of materials that have been capitalised i.e. purchases made to create capital assets, should not be reported here. Instead, they should be reported in Capitalised expenditure including cost of capital assets developed in-house by employees of this business/organisation.

Where do I report my specific expense item?

Although this list is not exhaustive, it does address some of the common reporting problems encountered by businesses:

Rent, leasing and hiring expenses includes those expenses incurred in the running of the business, such as:
  • The rent paid for business premises such as a building, distribution centre or studio facility;
  • Operating lease payments such as those made for a motor vehicle used by the business;
If vehicles, machinery or equipment are hired with an operator or crew, it should be reported in the appropriate expense item as it is a service expense.

Royalties expenses refer to expenses incurred from the use of rights or intellectual property of another business or individual. This includes payments under licensing arrangements, payments for the use of patents and copyrights, and franchise fees.

Advertising, marketing and promotion expenses include payments to advertising agencies and payments made directly to the media for the sale of advertising time and space. It also includes attendance at conferences for the purposes of business promotion, printed advertising materials (e.g. brochures, displays) and online advertising (e.g. placing job advertisements on a online job board). It does not include the wages and salaries of advertising and marketing staff employed by the business; these should be included in Labour costs.

Discounts/Rebates given: Discounts or rebates given by your business to its customers should not be reported as an expense item, but should be netted off the income item to which the discount/rebate applied, e.g. Sales of goods or Income from other services.

Finance lease payments: When an asset, e.g. company car, is acquired under a finance lease arrangement, the value of the acquisition should be included in Capital expenditure. If any work is undertaken by own employees of this business to install any asset acquired under a financial lease to make it operational, please include the cost of this work within Capital expenditure and Cost of capital assets developed in-house by employees of this business/organisation (if applicable). Repayments under a finance lease agreement consist of two components: interest and capital repayments. Capital repayments should not be reported in this form. The interest component only should be included in Interest expenses.

Motor vehicle insurance premiums:
  • Optional third party insurance premiums, payable at the discretion of the business, should be included in Insurance premiums.
  • Compulsory third party insurance premiums, payable as part of the vehicle registration process should be included in Other operating expenses.

Sponsorship payments are not considered the same as a donation, as it involves a transaction, usually advertising or promotional benefits for the individual or business making the payment. It should therefore be reported as Other operating expenses, whereas donations are excluded altogether.


INVENTORIES

How should I report inventories?

Inventories are divided into three sections: Raw materials, Work in progress and Finished goods.
  • Raw materials consist of goods that a business holds with the intention of using to produce other goods or in rendering services. For example, paper supplies for use in printing newspapers (good produced) or raw food to make a meal (provide a service).
  • Work in progress consists of goods that still require work to reach the condition they are to be sold in, such as partially assembled machinery. The value of work in progress inventories should be reported net of progress payments billed.
  • Finished goods consist of goods that are to be sold in their current condition, including goods for resale.

Inventories do not include depreciable assets of the business. These should be reported in Capital expenditure and Disposal of assets.


CAPITAL EXPENDITURE AND DISPOSAL OF ASSETS

Capital expenditure and disposal of assets
Capital expenditure
refers to the amount spent by a business in the current reporting period on the acquisition of non-current assets. It can be considered the amount spent to purchase or upgrade productive assets like buildings or machinery to increase the business’ capacity or efficiency. If the business hires contractors to carry out capital work, then these contractor payments should be included in the cost of the capital works. It does not include additions to inventories.

Additions
: represents the expenditure on assets on an accruals basis, further to this you are required to report any Capital Work in Progress (CWIP) values against the relevant asset. If exact figures are not available, please provide careful estimates.
This survey aims to capture the activity and production in the economy as it is happening rather than when the asset is capitalised.

Disposals
: Refers to the sale of the asset to another individual or business. It can also include the discarding of an asset. For survey purposes we only require businesses to report the proceeds from sales of the assets.
The examples against each asset are intended to give an indication of the nature of assets a business may have to report in each category however it is not an exhaustive list. Further examples for each asset type can be found below.

Land
: purchases or acquisition of land.

Dwellings, other buildings and structures
:
  • Dwellings: used entirely as residences including structures such as garages, and all permanent fixtures customarily installed in residences.
  • Other buildings and structures: comprise of non-residential buildings, other structures and land improvements. These may include things such as highways, roads, airfield runways, bridges, tunnels, subways, harbours, dams and other water works, pipelines, communication and power lines, constructions for mining and manufacturing, warehouses and industrial or commercial buildings. Leasehold improvements that alter and improve the structure and value of the building should be included here (this does not include things such as painting and carpet additions but refers more to structural changes).

Machinery & Equipment
Road vehicles
: this category is for vehicles that are primarily to be used on the road such as cars, trucks, motorcycles and utes.

Other transport vehicles and equipment
: this category consists of equipment and vehicles for moving people and objects. This may include items such as trailers, semi-trailers, ships, railway and tramway locomotives, rolling stock and aircraft.

Industrial machinery and equipment
: whilst some items within this category may be mobile and capable of transporting people or goods, their primary business function is for use in the production of goods and/or services which is why they fall under this category. Additional items that could be included are:
  • engines and turbines
  • pumps, compressors, hydraulic power engines
  • lifting and handling equipment
  • machine tools and accessories (Hand tools, tools customarily in a workshop)
  • equipment for food, beverage preparation
  • point of sale terminals, booking systems
  • industrial cooking appliances
  • domestic appliances for production purposes
  • climate control systems and other equipment used in core production.

Electrical machinery and electronic equipment
: this may include things such as electrical generators and motors, electrical transformers, static converters and inductors, electricity distribution or control apparatus, lighting equipment, electrical ignition or starting equipment, and electrical signalling equipment.

Communications equipment
: this may include things such as radio broadcast and television receivers, video and digital cameras, microphones, loudspeakers, amplifiers.

Other plant and equipment
: consists of machinery and equipment not elsewhere classified, this may include items such as office furniture and fencing materials.

Information Technology
Computer hardware
: this may include things such as, hard drives, monitor screens, mouses, keyboards, printers, scanners, automatic data processing machines, and sound/video and/or network cards.

Computer software
: any software that may be installed in the businesses systems that enable it to operate more efficiently such as Microsoft suite, financial systems, software that operates large machinery etc.

Computer software purchased from another business/organisation: any software that has been purchased from another business to be installed on computers used by your staff to enable them to operate and perform their work.
Computer software developed in
-house by employees of this business: any software that may have been developed for use by employees of your business.

Intangibles
: This may include items such as trademarks, mastheads, spectrums, company brand, customer bases, licenses, patents and goodwill etc.

Domestic or International asset disposal asks for a percentage split of the total reported amount of Disposal of assets based on where the assets have been disposed, either domestically or internationally. If accurate data is not readily available, careful estimates will be accepted

What is the cost of capital assets developed in-house by employees of this business/organisation?

This question aims to capture the extra layer of production in the economy that might never be exchanged in the market. Activity reported here is a subset of that reported at Capital expenditure (and therefore should not exceed it).

Example: if your staff develop a new piece of software that improves the efficiency and the production process of your business but is only used in-house and never sold to another business, then the cost of this production activity needs to be reported under the Cost of capital assets developed in-house by employees of this business/organisation question. For our survey purposes, we want to know the wages and salaries of employees of your business that contribute to the development, building, construction and/or creation of the asset (including any additional ‘on-costs’ such as Fringe Benefits Tax, workers compensation, superannuation) that is used exclusively for business purposes (not for resale). This is deemed to be capitalised wages and salaries.

Another example may be an employee of your business who is tasked with project managing the building and construction of an asset. Whilst they aren’t actually involved in the physical build of the asset, their insight and involvement is integral to the completion of the asset and as a result their wages are deemed as ‘capitalised wages’. The other capital costs such as hiring contractors and the materials purchased to build the asset would be deemed as ‘other capitalised costs’.

'Other capitalised costs’
may include both capitalised services and capitalised goods used as inputs to assist in the building and development of the asset. For example if an upgrade or improvement to an existing building or infrastructure such as a road was project managed in-house then the cost of any goods or materials used and/or contractors undertaking the work would need to be reported in Other capitalised costs with the wages of the employees project managing reported under Capitalised wages and salaries.


MULTI-STATE OPERATIONS

How do I report income from sales of goods and services by state?
Income from sales of goods and services should be reported against the state or territory where the sale was made or the service was provided. For export sales, report against the state or territory from which the sale was made.


CHECKLIST

The purpose of this checklist is to assist you, if you wish, to check the information which you have supplied in the survey before submitting it to ABS. Use of the checklist may reduce the need for us to contact you with further enquiries. The points covered reflect some of the most common reporting errors.

Employment
  • Are the reported numbers a headcount of persons working for the business? (Should not be FTE.)
  • Have you reported only those who worked for the business in the last pay period ending in June 2017?
  • Working proprietors and partners should only be reported for an unincorporated business, not if the business is incorporated (e.g. Pty Ltd).
  • If the business had offices/locations with staff in more than one state or territory, does the total for Australia equal Total number of persons?

Financial information
  • Are all reported financial items reported in $'000s (thousands)? For example, if business income for the year were $123,456, it should be reported as 123 on the survey.
  • Have the nature and amount of the main components of 'Other...' items been provided in Other Income and Other operating expenses?
  • If income from sales of goods produced by the business has been reported, have associated purchases been reported correctly, i.e. as Purchases of materials, components, spare parts, electricity, fuels and water?
  • If income from sales of goods not produced by the business has been reported, have associated purchases been reported correctly, i.e. as Purchases of finished goods for resale?
  • Have the values of both opening and closing inventories been reported, where applicable?
  • Have livestock and plants been reported in the appropriate inventory type - Work in progress less progress payments billed or Finished goods (including inventories for resale)?
  • If Cost of capital assets developed in-house by employees of this business/organisation is reported, the value must be less than or equal to the sum of Capital expenditure items.

Other information
  • Have you provided comments on any unusual movements regarding the information you have supplied. By taking the opportunity to do this you will enhance the value of the data you supply as well as minimising the chance of ABS staff being required to call you directly for clarification.
  • Have you provided an estimate of the time taken to complete this survey? (Please note that we use the time taken information to help us to design effective surveys while minimising the burden on our providers.)