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1993 SNA Update Information - Country comments for issue:
Databases

Issue description
Issue description in [English] | [French] | [Russian] | [Spanish]
The 1993 SNA recommends that large databases should be capitalized. Should the SNA provide a clearer definition of databases to be capitalized covering characteristics such as size and marketability of the data as well as the database itself, or should all databases be capitalized? How should the value of a database be determined?
Country comments
Number of country comments for selected issue:86
  Date postedSourceComment
 10/10/2006SwedenAgreement with proposal
 15/09/2006United KingdomWe do not think this subject has been adequately resolved, and questions remain.
 15/09/2006LatviaAfter deep discussions and expert consultations we basically support the 1993 SNA Update Issues.
 18/08/2006ItalyWe are in favour of the AEG recommendation.
 31/07/2006MongoliaDatabases should be treated as a case of fixed capital formation. According to the definition of the fixed assets the criterion for its determination shall be specified as follows: Databases which are repeatedly used and are maintained for more than one year might be considered as fixed capital formation.
 27/07/2006EgyptDatabase that has a life more than one year should be considered as capital asset.
 24/07/2006NepalCentral Bureau of Statistics Nepal agrees the AEG recommendation that databases that have a usual life of more than one year are assets. There is no maintenance on the database itself – but maintenance cost would apply to the DBMS. While AEG intends to include all data base as a capital formation, further clarification/ clarity on the definition and valuation of database ( use/quality aspects: successful and unsuccessful data base rather than taking into account only the cost aspect) needs to be clarified.
 23/02/2006South African Reserve Bank We agree with all the recommendations made by the AEG.
 27/01/2006Central Bank of El SalvadorEstamos de acuerdo con su capitalización siempre que las bases de datos sean susceptibles de valoración de mercado y si su inclusión es indispensable en el proceso de producción. Es importante que se aclare con ejemplos y criterios precisos el tamaño de la base de datos y la forma de cuantificarla a precios de mercado.
 17/01/2006KuwaitKuwait agrees that the reference to “large” should be dropped from the SNA and also agrees that all databases that meet the standard criteria should be recorded as fixed capital formation.
Clarification are needed about some related issues:
One) Providing a definition of “database” and a definition showing exactly which databases should be included (or excluded) in fixed capital
Two) Consideration the distinction between creation and maintenance and the implication for the inclusion in fixed capital.
Three) Adding precision to the nature of employees to be included in the recommended means of valuing own account databases.
 06/01/2006State Bank of PakistanYes, clear definition of databases to be capitalized would be required covering all characteristics that can easily be measured, for sake of uniformity across countries. Trivial characteristics of databases may lead to problems in terms of assessment and reliability of the required data. Revaluation and depreciation of databases also need further clarification.
 03/01/2006CubaProponemos que las grandes bases de datos deben ser capitalizadas, pero priorizándose para su registro no el tamaño en si de la base, sino por el potencial de comercialización de los datos.
 03/01/2006Singapore(i) We support using definition 2 for the valuation of a database, and to exclude the value of the DBMS which would be capitalised separately as a software asset. All databases holding data which is expected to be in use for more than one year are a fixed asset.
(ii) We agree that there is no maintenance entailed with databases, as there is no wear and tear of data (embodied in databases). All set-up and updating costs should be capitalised.
(iii) We concur with the recommended method for deriving estimates of own-account database capital formation, though we may have to collect more information to derive these estimates.
 22/12/2005Serbia and MontenegroWe agree with the suggested changes.
 19/12/2005KenyaAgreed in principle, however currently not very relevant for Kenya. We are not yet able to measure GFCF in databases and software
 14/12/2005FranceL'INSEE soutient les recommandations faites par I'AEG lors des réunions de décembre 2004 et de juillet 2005. La valeur comptabilisée d'une base de données doit se faire de la façon suivante :
- la dépense de constitution d'une base de données comprend les seuls coûts relatifs à la mise sur un support spécifique, à I'exclusion des coûts d'acquisition des données ;
- la vente d'une base de données inclut la valeur du contenu.
 13/12/2005CanadaCanada agrees that databases that have a usual life of more than one year are assets and that the database management system is a software asset which would be recorded separately. The value of the asset would be the sum of the updating costs. There is no maintenance on the database itself – but maintenance cost would apply to the DBMS.
While this recommendation makes good sense, more clarity is required on the updating costs included in valuation of the database.
 12/12/2005Bank of KoreaWe agree to all the recommendations.
 12/12/2005MexicoActualmente el SCN 1993 considera en la formación bruta de capital fijo en software la compra o desarrollo de grandes bases de datos que la empresa espera usar en la producción por un periodo de tiempo mayor a un año.
Estamos de acuerdo con las recomendaciones del Grupo de Canberra II en que el punto de vista de “grande” no podría ser fácilmente interpretado ya fuera en términos monetarios o en términos del tamaño (memoria) físico de la base de datos y por lo tanto recomienda que la referencia a “grande” sea eliminada.
Así que apoyamos la recomendación de que todas las bases de datos, en principio, deben ser registradas como capital fijo.
Por otra parte, respaldamos la recomendación del Grupo acerca de la descripción en la clasificación de activos para software y bases de datos (AN.1122) la cual es llamada “software para computadoras”, debería ser llamada “software y bases de datos para computadoras” con software y bases de datos identificables por separado como subclases si fuese posible.
Estamos de acuerdo en que se incluyan las bases de datos por cuenta propia, recomendación similar de la OCDE/Eurostat Task Force.
 09/12/2005RussiaRosstat largely supports the recommendations on the updating 1993 SNA, made at the July 2005 meeting of the Advisory Expert Group on National Accounts.
 05/12/2005Denmark m3Denmark12;
 02/12/2005NetherlandsWe generally support the recommendations of the AEG.
 02/12/2005AustraliaAustralia agrees with the AEG recommendations.
 02/12/2005TurkeyWe agree with the recommendations made at the July 2005 meeting of the Advisory Expert Group on National Accounts.
 01/12/2005GermanyWe agree with the new AEG recommendations on databases. According to the close relation-ship between software and databases regarding DBMS (as mentioned), we would like to repeat our proposal, that there should be only one single category for “software and databases” to-gether, and not a further disaggregation into two separate items “software” and “databases” in the classification of assets.
 01/12/2005NorwayWe agree with the AEG's recommendations.
 01/12/2005BrazilWe agree with the decision of the AEG meeting in Bangkok. We are concerned about the data availability.
 01/12/2005Central Bank of NicaraguaEstamos de acuerdo, que toda base de datos que genere beneficios económicos para el propietario o para los usuarios y que tenga una vida útil mayor a un año debe ser considerada como formación bruta de capital fijo. Sin embargo, nos parece que el valor de esta base de datos debe incluir no sólo el valor del software y los costos directos e indirectos que se incurrirían al convertir la información disponible de su formato original a un formato electrónico, sino también el costo asociado a recolectar la información básica, la cual posteriormente es incluida en una base de datos.
Por otra parte, el método propuesto para calcular el valor de las bases de datos de uso propio, es comprensible y adecuado en teoría, porque para llevarlo a la práctica requiere de recopilar información adicional y detallada, que quizás muchas unidades institucionales no la tengan o no estén dispuestas a producirlas para fines de la contabilidad nacional, razón por la cual se considera poco plausible, en el corto plazo, compilar las bases de datos de uso propio como formación bruta de capital fijo.
 01/12/2005IranWe agree on this issue that the databases should be treated as the fixed capital formation; however, the criterion for its identification shall be regarded based on the definitions given for fixed assets as follows:
The databases, which are used repeatedly and maintained for more than 1 year, are treated as for fixed capital formation.
 01/12/2005IsraelWe agree that for practical reasons, it is only possible to include the parts recommended by the AEG.
 01/12/2005SloveniaWe do not support treatment of databases as an asset. We have concerns about valuation of databases since we think it would be very difficult. We think that there would also be a problem of determination of lifetime of these assets.
 01/12/2005United KingdomWe agree with the AEG decisions.
 30/11/2005Slovak RepublicSO SR agree with AEG recommendations.
 30/11/2005ItalyIstat fully agrees with the recommendations made at the July 2005 meeting of the Advisory Expert Group on National Accounts.
 30/11/2005State Bank of VietnamWe agree with recommendation of AEG
- Databases should be treated as fixed capital and included in a single category in the classification of assets for "software and database" with a subsequent disaggregating in to "software" and "database" will be consequent.
- It is implement ability of Estimation of database output by applying a marco- based model for estimation of own- account databases.
 29/11/2005TadjikistanМы согласны с тем, что понятие "база данных" нуждается в определении, содержащем критерий для отнесения баз данных к основному капиталу. На наш взгляд, затраты на создание баз данных следует трактовать как приобретение основного капитала, в то время как затраты на их поддержание следует относить к промежуточному потреблению, что согласуется с учетом других видов основного капитала.
Мы считаем, что создание баз данных для собственного использования как часть выпуска должно оцениваться на основе общих правил СНС, то есть по сумме текущих затрат на их создание, если невозможно найти рыночную цену для их оценки.
 29/11/2005LithuaniaWe agree with capitalisation of big databases under the clear definition.
 29/11/2005CambodiaWe agree with recommendation of the AEG that; a large database should be treated as fixed capital formation. But it should be clarified the meanings of “Large”, it is difficult to define what a large database to be considered (what size, value, and etc..) and SNA should provide a clear guideline on how to estimate output of databases and its consumption or its depreciation because of it maybe difficult in practice such as in Cambodia.
 29/11/2005People's Bank of ChinaI agree with your improvements and have no other suggestions.
 21/11/2005USAWe observe that the proposed treatment of own-account databases leads to a potential conceptual inconsistency. The proposed valuation of own-account databases only includes the costs of converting the data to the format required by the database management system; it excludes the costs of acquiring the data themselves. However, if that same database is subsequently sold, the value of the information content is included. This inconsistency in valuation could lead to unusual holding gains when such databases are sold. However, in view of the limited source data available on databases, we regard this proposed valuation to be acceptable on practical grounds.
 17/11/2005BotswanaWe agree with the approach that has been taken by AEG. In addition to the recommendations our suggestion is that it is important that there is distinction between active data bases and achieved data bases particularly in terms of valuations.
 30/06/2005Slovak RepublicAccording legislation valid in the Slovak Republic, software and databases are considered as an intangible fixed assets assuming that meet capitalization criteria and their acquisition is part of gross fixed capital formation. Therefore we welcome initiative which aim is dropping the word “large” from SNA definition related to database, since in the practise it is very difficult to define, what is considered as “large” and “small” database. We think that capitalization criteria are sufficiently determinative for including into gross fixed capital formation. However, we see problem of assets breakdown into Software and Databases, since systems of databases contents software tools, can to enlarge and occurrence of self-contained software is decreased. In our opinion this fact could lead to bigger response burden, because of this information are usually not available. Therefore we recommend weighting enlargement of assets breakdown within the framework of SNA revision.
 30/06/2005MexicoIt is very important to have a clear definition about what does a database constitute, and that this one provides examples and numerical cases of databases included as fixed capital. It could be difficult to determinate the value at market prices of databases for the national accounts purposes in Mexico, for instance for measuring the database’s National Institute of Statistics the related costs of production of them implies an important imputed component. We consider that the treatment of databases should be analyzed carefully because is a complex issue that could affect importantly the measurements of non-market producers.
 30/06/2005Serbia and MontenegroWe agree with the recommendations made at the December 2004 meeting of the AEG.
 22/06/2005Bank of GhanaAccording to the 1993 SNA, the acquisition and production of large databases should be treated as fixed capital formation. Clearly, this is subjective, and we agree with the other views that a more precise definition of what is 'large' is appropriate. This will clarify exactly which database should be included in fixed capital formation. Secondly, the definition of database needs to be looked at again, as pointed out by the Canberra II Group. This is due to the similarities between databases and software; the fact that databases are part softwares and the inherent difficulties in measuring them separately.
 03/06/2005Central Bank of VenezuelaWe agree with changing the term "large databases" to "databases" and with presenting the concept of "software and databases."
We support the proposal to capitalize all databases, including own-account production; provided the useful life is greater than one year.
With respect to own-account database production, we believe that the proposed estimate of a surplus for hypothetical use is arbitrary and impractical, primarily because of the statistical limitations such calculation implies.
 20/05/2005National Bank of PolandAccording to our opinion it would be possible to use the criteria of the value of databases (in Euro) according to which some data bases should be included in fixed capital and some (of minor value) not included.
 19/05/2005Bank of IndonesiaBI agrees with the AEG recommendation, but it should be supported by legal aspects.
 18/05/2005Central Bank of Chile(a) Conclusions on the proposal
We agree that all databases with an expected service life of more than one year should be capitalized.
The word "large" only adds ambiguity to an already complex estimate. Therefore, it should be eliminated from the manual.
With respect to the AEG's request regarding the definition of databases to be included (or excluded), it is desirable, but complex, due to the nature of its makeup (software, data, and storage device) and the lack of an objective quantitative valuation. If no objective classification exists, it would be better to consider all databases.
With respect to own-account database production, one must consider as an investment all databases created with original and incorporated data that represented either a monetary or an intellectual investment for the company and that were intended to obtain, verify, or present the database, not merely copies of reorganized databases.
In view of the difficulty of measuring the investment in the preparation of own-account databases due to the lack of data, it is feasible to use as a proxy the market value of the database, if such a value exists.
It is difficult to distinguish the nature of employees working on the production of databases from those who work on the production of software or the delivery of management services and/or current operations because, in general, they are all part of one common information technology area.
We agree that the manual should recognize the subcategories “software and databases”.
(b) Experience in Chile
There is no consensus in Chile regarding how to account for databases. Corporate accounting should be governed by the guidelines set forth in Technical Bulletin No.55 of the
Accountants Association, which provides that only databases purchased or acquired should be capitalized. This is not the case in practice, apparently for tax reasons, with databases being systematically excluded from the balance sheet.
As the Canberra II group has said, one could consider including these databases in the capitalization of software, since it is difficult to separate the database from the underlying software. However, there is no clear position on the capitalization of software or data in this regard. A significant portion of software is booked to expenses, while it is in fact an investment.
 16/05/2005JordanThe Department of statistics in Jordan agree in principle with AEG recommendation to include databases as fixed capital formation since it is going to be used for more than one year. But the revised SNA should contain paragraphs to make it clear about the part of the expenditures to be capitalized to make sure that the costs of producing the information are not included when valuing database.
 16/05/2005Eastern Caribbean Central BankWe agree with the AEG recommendation and support the need for a clear definition of databases showing which databases should be included or excluded from fixed capital.
 12/05/2005European Central BankWe are in favour of treating certain databases as fixed capital, taking into account the increasing importance of these assets in the production process. Therefore, the ECB welcomes the request that the Canberra II Group should provide additional clarifications on the defmition of a database and on which databases should be included in fixed assets and which should not be included. The specification of a threshold may be useful.
 11/05/2005IndiaIndia agrees with the decisions of the AEG
The output of those databases which satisfy the conditions of a fixed asset should be treated as fixed capital. The databases should be able to generate income year after year.
The databases developed in-house and used for internal use, should have the same treatment as that in the case of the Issue on return to capital
 10/05/2005USAThe U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis endorses the recommendations made by the AEG.
 10/05/2005National Bank of MoldovaWe agree with the recommendation of the AEG that databases should be treated in the same way as computer software, following the similar nature of these assets. At the same time a clear definition of type and nature of databases, which should be treated as capital formation is strongly required.
We support the recommendation to include in the assets classification a single category for “software and databases” with software and databases as sub-classes.
 09/05/2005AustraliaAustralia agrees with the AEG recommendations
 09/05/2005MaldivesWe wish to agree with the recommendation of the AEG to treat “large databases” as fixed capital. However, the suggestion to define the type of database is useful and there should be a consensus on the definition. We feel that the countries will also benefit from guidelines on how to estimate value and consumption of fixed capital.
 09/05/2005United KingdomWe agree with all the three recommendations made here. In particular, that this is still work in progress in order to agree on the definition and the scope of capitalisation. And also to find practical solutions to dealing with own account creation and valuation of databases.
 09/05/2005Central Bank of IranWe agree with the AEG recommendation that all databases in principle should be recorded as fixed capital, because the characteristics of and economic benefits from databases are similar to those of other assets. But there should be a guideline about the treatment of databases that produced by governmental organizations and contain historical data and used for a long period of time with no market prices and those databases that produced by private sectors with market prices. In our view there should be a distinction between two kinds of databases. In addition more information is necessary about computing consumption of fixed capital on this issue. Also there should be only one single category for “software and databases” together without a subsequent disaggregation into “software” and “databases” due to the lake of sufficient data.
 06/05/2005TurkeyWe agree with the recommendations made by the Advisory Expert Group on National Accounts at its second meeting in December 2004.
 06/05/2005Commonwealth of Independent States We agree that the concept of “database” needs definition containing criteria for allocating databases to fixed capital. In our view, expenses on creating databases should be treated as acquisitions of fixed capital while maintenance expenses should be allocated to intermediate consumption to be consistent with accounting of other types of fixed capital.
We believe that own account databases as a part of output should be valued using the common SNA rules, that is by sum of costs on their creation unless it is possible to find a market price for such databases.
 06/05/2005Macao, SAR ChinaWe agree with the recommendations of the AEG in principle, especially the subjective term, “large”, which is proposed to be dropped. However, in case of all databases should be capitalized, should there be a clear guideline to calculate the value of those databases without market value.
 06/05/2005VietnamWe agree with recommendation of AEG
- Databases should be treated as fixed capital and included a single category in the classification of assets for “software and database” with a subsequent disaggregating in to “software” and “database” will be consequent.
- It is implement ability of Estimation of database output by applying a marco-based model for estimation of own- account databases.
 05/05/2005SwedenWe agree in principle with the recommendations from the AEG. However, the asset category “software and databases” should not be disaggregated into “software” and “databases” partly because we believe that the software producers will have difficulties distinguishing between the production of software and the production of software for databases.
We believe that it is very important to have a clear definition of “a database”, and that this definition also provides examples of which databases to include as fixed capital. There seems to be an agreement regarding what constitutes a database; the software and the data stored in the database. However, Sweden would like a discussion regarding whether or not the data in a database should be counted as software. A database could also be considered to consist of only software, and the content in the database would then be information of some kind, and this information, in turn, could be intermediate consumption or gross fixed capital formation depending on whether or not the criteria for an investment are met.
 04/05/2005DenmarkStatistics Denmark agrees with the recommendation to drop the word “large”. We also agree with the proposal to request further clarification on the three issues. In particular we find it important to have very clear guidelines concerning point ii), the distinction between creation and maintenance.
Concerning classification we agree with a single category for “software and databases”, but we are against a subsequent subdivision into “software” and “databases”. This resistance is mainly based on practical reasons because in the case of own-account production – which is very important in this area – it will usually be impossible to distinguish between the two types.
 29/04/2005NorwayStatistics Norway agrees that all databases should in principle be treated as fixed capital, and that the word large should be dropped from the definition. A single category for "software and databases" is also a good idea, since it may be difficult to separate the two in practice. The expenditures to be capitalised should be those related to the design and implementation of the database, data conversion and transfer etc., but not the costs of producing the information that is stored in the database.
 28/04/2005Trinidad and TobagoWe agree with the recommendations of the AEG.
 26/04/2005Central Bank of NicaraguaIt is not feasible to determinate the value at market prices of databases for the national accounts purposes in Nicaragua. First, the related costs of production and/or uses of the databases are difficult to be allocated; besides, there is no expertise or willingness to carry out this task in the enterprises. The treatment of databases should be analyzed deeply by AEG because is a complex issue.
 25/04/2005Bank of Sierra LeoneWith reference to the above subject we agree with the recommendations of the Expert Group on National Accounts (AEG) especially where there is harmonization of definitions and other concepts between the Balance of Payments (BOP) and system of National Accounts (SNA).
 19/04/2005SingaporeWe agree to exclude the reference to “large” as it is a relative and subjective term. We support the proposal to treat as GFCF all databases which are expected to be used for more than a year.
We agree with the description of “computer software and databases” with software and databases as the sub-classes. We note the importance of a clear definition for databases and the need for methodological guidance on their valuation.
 13/04/2005Bank of KoreaSince databases are usually "large" enough to be recorded as fixed capital assets, the Bank of Korea supports the idea that all databases should be regarded as fixed capital assets. In Korea, all databases have been regarded as fixed capital assets.
For the terminology of these kind of assets, we prefer “computer software and databases” to “computer software”, because the former is clearer. And it would be more useful to have more detailed sub-classes in data availability.
 12/04/2005GreeceWe agree with the recommendations of the AEG on the issues for which a decision has been taken, at the December 2004 meeting of the group.
 12/04/2005Central Bank of HondurasLa calificación de Bases de datos “grande” en el SCN 93 está ambiguo por lo que determinación de eliminar el término “grande” es aceptable, además debe quedar especificado cuales son las bases de datos que deben capitalizarse.
 11/04/2005Central Bank of KuwaitKuwait agreed to include a single category in the classification of assets for “software and databases” with a subsequent disaggregation into “software” and “databases”.
 11/04/2005Bank of Tanzania/National Bureau of StatisticsWe concur with the AEG recommendation that all databases should be treated as fixed capital. However, the procedure of evaluating data bases (i.e. whether it is an investment value put in the generation of data bases or the amount of payments received for utilization of databases) should be explained by AEG.
 11/04/2005Hong Kong, ChinaWe agree that the treatment of databases should be consistent with that for computer software, in view of the similar nature of these intangible assets. We strongly support the initiative of providing a clear definition as regards the type and nature of databases to be recognized as capital formation, to ensure the comparability of national accounts statistics compiled by different economies. The distinction between creation and maintenance of databases is crucial for classifying the relevant expenditures into fixed capital formation and intermediate consumption. Guidelines for the treatment of “databases” produced by central statistical offices, databases on financial and human resource information maintained by business enterprises, financial and economic data-stream services (including charges and subscription for data updating services) should be provided.
We support the AEG recommendation of including a single category in the classification of assets for “computer software and databases”, but anticipate some practical difficulties with the disaggregation into “computer software” and “databases” because in some cases, databases are integrated with the supporting computer software.
 11/04/2005IranWe agree with you that databases should be treated as a case of fixed capital formation. According to the definition of the fixed assets the criterion for its determination shall be specified as follows:
Databases which are repeatedly used and are maintained for more than one year might be considered as fixed capital formation.
 11/04/2005Germany m2(c)de12;
 11/04/2005MalawiI fully endorse the recommendations of the Expert Group on National Accounts.
 11/04/2005Philippines -There should be a firm guideline on what type of databases are be capitalized. There are databases that were developed at its infancy and grew to be very valuable not only to the entity that started it but also to others. If there are such cases, at what point should this type of databases be capitalized? Furthermore, how are databases valued especially for those produced in-house? Would this include the software that was used? Would it not be practical to lump software and databases together?
-Archives, which are becoming popular, should also be part of fixed capital formation because they contain historical information that can be very valuable in the future.
 11/04/2005Russian FederationWe agree with the recommendations made by the AEG on National Accounts.
 11/04/2005South African Reserve Bank We agree in principle with the proposal, however we strongly request that the clarifications to be provided by Canberra II are very clear, especially on how to draw the line between new (creation) and maintenance. In addition, more information on the valuation problem would be appreciated – although an indication is given in the documentation we feel that there is a lack of information and examples.
 11/04/2005South AfricaSouth Africa agrees in principal with the proposal. We, however, need clarification in the final revision document on:
• The type of asset;
• Valuation – although an indication is given in the documentation we feel that there is a lack of information and examples for developing countries.
 11/04/2005The NetherlandsWe agree with the recommendations made at the December 2004 meeting of the Advisory Expert Group on National Accounts.
 01/04/2005PolandIn the scope of the databases we support the AEG opinion that the definition of this issue in the SNA should be more detailed and that all databases should be included into capital stock. As very difficult to implement we find this part of the AEG recommendations in this area that concerns dividing into subclasses the item „software and databases” implementation of which into classification of fixed assets was suggested.
 18/03/2005Palestinian Central Bureau of StatisticsPCBS agree with the decision to consider all databases as fixed capital.
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