Spotlight on quality assessment report: Profitability of UK Companies and Gross Operating Surplus of non-financial corporations

18 January 2024
Last updated:
16 January 2024

Further information

Annex A: Data Sources

Annex A1: Data sources used for the quality assurance and triangulation of Quarterly Profitability and GOS data

Data sources used to quality assure Profitability and GOS estimatesDefinitionSource
ONS Economic Output data (GDP output)Movements in the volume of output for the UK services industries (seasonally adjusted)Index of Services
ONS Economic Output data (GDP output)Movements in the volume of production for UK production industries: manufacturing, mining and quarrying, energy supply, and water and waste managementIndex of Production
The Bank of EnglandSummary report compiled by the Bank of England from 12 regional agents as a result of discussions with 700+ businesses across the UKAgents' summary of business conditions
The British Chambers of Commerce A survey of over 5,000 firms – (92% of whom are Small-Medium Enterprises) on business performance across different sectorsQuarterly Economic Survey
Ernst & YoungAnnual profit warning from UK-listed companiesProfit warnings
Trading Economics Provides the latest reported value for the United Kingdom Manufacturing Purchase Managers IndexPurchases Managers Index (PMI)


Annex A2: Primary data sources used to compile Annual Gross Operating Surplus of Private Non-financial corporations

Profitability and GOS data sourcesDefinition
HMRC Corporation trading profits dataBreakdown of Corporation Tax receipts and liabilities by number of companies, income, deductions, industry sector, company size and financial year
HMRC Schedule A taxation records (dataset supplied by HMRC that is not published)Taxes on trading income from UK land
HMRC Self-assessment tax data (data are an extract of self-assessment data that are not publicly available)Tax that is deducted automatically deducted from wages and pensions
Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) (1/2)
Gas energy trends
Gas and Oil prices data
Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) (2/2)
Oil and Oil Products energy trends
Gas and Oil prices data
National Grid Gas dataNatural Gas Prices
HMRC Self-assessment tax data for partnerships – all industries except 64-68 (financial corporations). Specific industry data are sourced from:
• DEFRA – farming (substituted with profits data copied from CORD DEFRA sources system)
• ONS Central Government Team – pensions data for GPs and dentists (via CORD series ID CFYH)
Quasi corporations (unincorporated partnerships) profits data


Annex A3: Data used to make adjustments to the administrative source data

Gross Fixed Capital Formation Machinery, cultivated assets, entertainment and artistic originals, mineral exploration, computer software, own-account construction and R&DONS GFCF dataset
Rent payable/receivable Average farm rents paid in England under full agricultural tenancies, farm business tenancies and seasonal agreements (those of less than 12 months) and the area of land covered by these agreements.DEFRA and devolved administration governments
Interest payable on Bonds and Loans 1/2Interest that companies pay on bonds and loansONS financial services surveys for bond liability levels and non-bond payments.
Interest payable on Bonds and Loans 2/2Interest that companies pay on bonds and loansThe Bank of England surveys for non-bond payments
FISIM (Financial intermediaries services indirectly measured)Difference between what the bank charges to borrowers and the payments it makes to lendersONS financial services surveys and Bank of England administrative data
Insurance premiumsInsurance pay-outs on insurable losses and claims. The Bank of England - Prudential Regulatory Authority administrative data
Holding gains and losses Calculated as the change in value of inventories caused by price movements. Includes work in progress, computer software and agricultural assetsONS Annual Business Survey
Patent Royalty data Payments for foreign patentsONS Balance of Payment Accounts
Takeover costs Publicity, advertising and consultancy feesONS Mergers and Acquisitions survey
Work in progress services Stoppages of work-in-progress in the UK during a year caused by labour disputesONS Annual Business Survey
New stock issuances and transaction costs of financial assetsIssues of shares through Initial Public Offerings (IPO) or Seasoned Equity Offerings (SEO)Value of IPOs
International Branch Profits Foreign branches of UK companies’ profits ONS FDI survey
Entertainment expensesBusiness entertainment of clients (for example, eating, drinking or other hospitality) to discuss a particular business project or forming or maintaining a business connectionHMRC microdata (model) that uses a carry forward proportion applied to the data
Implicit Fees Perceived or estimated loss in revenue. All adjustments taken out of intermediate consumption (P2) – for company accounts ONS Financial Survey
Tax Evasion & VAT fraudIllegal mis-or non-reported incomeHMRC tax gap analysis
Balancing Adjustments Adjustments to align with expenditure and output measures of GDPONS Supply and Use Tables


Annex B: International comparisons

The information in the table is sourced from the International Monetary Fund’s Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS) guidance. The website provides information about economic and financial data disseminated by member countries that subscribe to the SDDS. We noted that some of the information included was however outdated. As a result, we have supplemented SDDS information with our own research sourced from NSI websites and conversations with statisticians.

International Comparison of Profitability and Gross Operating Surplus (GOS) Estimation within National Accounts

Statistics Canada

Annual GOS Estimates: Statistics Canada sends annual GOS estimates broken down by industry to the OECD.

Quarterly GOS Estimates: GDP, income-based, quarterly – GOS is published unadjusted and seasonally adjusted annual rates of GDP income. The key source for the statistics is the Quarterly Survey of Financial Statements.

Corporation profits before taxes, on an original-costs-basis, excluding government business enterprises, quarterly– unadjusted and seasonally adjusted estimates of non-financial corporations’ profits.

Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (Insee): France

Annual Profitability Estimates: France produces Ratios of the industry sectors by business sector – an annual publication that includes a Profitability measure. It is defined differently to the UK. France defines the profit margin as the ratio between GOS to GVA.

Annual GOS Estimates: Gross operating surplus by industry at current prices

Destatis (Statistisches Bundesamt): Germany

Annual GOS Estimates: Sector Accounts – Annual results 1991 onwards. Include estimates of operating surplus for the non-financial corporations.

Quarterly GOS Estimates: Sector Accounts – Quarterly results 1999 onwards. Includes estimates of operating surplus for non-financial corporations.

Other publications: Deutsche Bundesbank has produced research papers on the Profitability of German enterprises, using enterprise financial data.

Statistics Bureau of Japan

Annual GOS Estimates: Statistics Bureau Japan sends annual GOS estimates industry breakdowns to the OECD.

Annual GOS Estimates: Istat sends annual GOS estimates broken down by industry to the OECD. Raw annual GOS estimates: Sequence of accounts (

Quarterly GOS Estimates: GG quarterly non-financial accounts-Q3 2022 ( – Note: Chart 4. Raw quarterly GOS estimates: Seasonal adjusted aggregates (

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA): The United States of America

Annual Profitability Estimates: “Returns for Domestic Nonfinancial Business It calculates sector returns as the ratio of net operating surplus to the net stock of produced assets. It sets out the net operating surplus and stock of produced assets for each industry before outlining rates of returns. Whilst it is a similar measure to Profitability produced by ONS, the key difference is that the US does not produce a gross rate of return measure but a net measure. The US measure goes into greater granularity by estimating the rate of return per industry and the US measure calculates a before and after-tax rate of return.

Annual GOS Estimates: BEA sends annual GOS estimates industry breakdowns to the OECD. Using the Profitability data supplied on returns for domestic non-financial business, GOS can be calculated by adding net operating surplus and the consumption of fixed capital.

Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek: Netherlands

Annual GOS Estimates: Statistics Netherlands sends annual GOS estimates industry breakdowns to the OECD.

Other publications: Statistics Netherlands has produced articles regarding PNFC profits and GOS. Statistics Netherlands uses a profit measure expressed as “profit margin”. The profit margin is defined as the ratio of GOS to GVA.

Central Statistics Office: Ireland 

Annual GOS Estimates: Annual Gross Operating Surplus of PNFCs is calculated using administrative corporation tax records supplied to us by the Irish Revenue Commissioner. The “large cases unit” administrative data is used along with Balance of Payments company survey data to ensure coherence of results for important cases in the Irish economy.

Quarterly GOS Estimates: CSO published experimental quarterly estimates of corporate profits, calculated using an indirect approach. Quarterly Balance of Payments survey data and administrative Value Added Tax records were used to interpolate the annual corporate tax data in the closed years and to extrapolate forward into the latest “open” quarters. The background notes chapter from the publication provides additional detail on the data sources and methods used to derive these quarterly estimates. Ireland CSO are further developing these methods to produce more granular quarterly estimates continually.


Annex C: Revisions analysis

C1. This revisions analysis used quarterly growth rates of GOSs statistics. Mean Revisions (MR) and Mean Absolute Revisions (MAR) were used to assess the reliability of GOS figures, providing insights into the direction and magnitude of revisions compared with the initial estimate. Revisions focused on the pre-COVID and COVID pandemic periods, comparing the first quarterly estimates with the same period at 12, 24 and 36 months (T+12, T+24 and T+36 respectively), using quarterly first estimates produced at the second month of every quarter (M2) as the baseline.

C2. The pre-COVID period covers 2010 (Q1) to 2019 (Q4). The COVID period covers 2020 (Q1) to 2022 (Q2). Data was sourced from GDP income components – revision triangles – Office for National Statistics.

C3. MR of quarterly GOS growth rates during the pre-COVID period, were -0.4pp one year after the first estimate (T+12 months) and were revised upwards by 1.4pp and 1.6pp, respectively at T+24 months and T+36 months. During the COVID period, MR were revised upward by 1.0pp at T+12 months.

C4. MAR measures the average revision in absolute terms, avoiding the offsetting effect from the negative and positive values. MAR revealed the quarterly GOS growth rate during the COVID period was revised by 3.5pp in T+12 months compared with the pre-COVID period which were 2.3pp, 3.1pp and 3.2pp at T+12 months, T+24 months and T+36 months respectively.

Figure C.1 – Mean revisions for quarterly growth of GOS

Source: ONS, GDP income components – revisions triangles – Private non-financial corporations gross operating surplus, 29, September 2023 (Pre-COVID period, 2010Q1-2019Q1. COVID period, 2020Q1-2022Q2).

Back to top
Download PDF version (501.90 KB)