The purpose of the statistic is to show the activities that are owned or controlled by the general government and to illustrate the public area as an economic unit called the public sector. Statistics Denmark began publishing the statistic in March 1998, where it contained figures covering the period 1993-1996.
The public sector's finances is an annual specification of the institutional distribution of activities carried out by the public corporations, giving total figures as well as figures divided into industrial groups. Furthermore, the statistics contain figures for the public sector and all public corporations and quasi-corporations.
The data for the statistic is based on accounting information from central government, regions, and municipalities, along with approximately 700 public companies. The accounting information is gathered directly from central government, regions, and municipalities, while data from the public companies are collected by the use of surveys. The accounting information is checked for errors, along others by comparing to the previous year's accounts, and a macro-validation is carried out on the most detailed industrial classification. The gathered data covers the full population, and as such no further calculations are necessary.
The primary users are the ministries of economic affairs, interest organisations, politicians, educational institutions, and the interested public. Some users needs information on the total sector and the subsectors contribution to the public sector as a hole. Others needs detailed information on the public corporations.
Full coverage of all industries is obtained by conducting a yearly check of the population in relation to a variety of sources. Accounting information is obtained from central and local government accounts and furthermore from questionnaires. Some accounting information is adjusted to the terminology used in the national accounts system and therefore deviates from normal accounting conventions. Furthermore, public corporations may use different methods of accounting. Accounting data entered wrongly are also a source of error, which is minimized by comparison with information from the previous year. If necessary, the company in question is contacted to validate the data.
The statistic is published in December the year after the latest accounting year and without delays.
These statistics are comparable from 1993 and onwards. The figures are produced according to international guidelines and are therefore comparable with similar estimates from other countries.