The purpose of the statistics is to analyze the financial assets and liabilities of the municipalities and regions, including especially the liquid assets and long term debt.
The statistic monitors the financial assets and liabilities of municipalities and regions broken down by functions. A function is the equivalent to an account in the accounting plan for municipalities and regions. Only the financial assets and liabilities are published quarterly. The current expenditure etc. is only published annually. Quarterly data are all preliminary, as the accounts of the municipalities and regions are not completed until the final accounts in May the following year. This means that corrections and account changes in the previous quarters of the year may happen.
Data is delivered annually from the municipalities and regions' own financial management systems. Error detection is done on a micro level through error detection rules based the official accounting system. The rules are updated annually according to the notices for the municipalities and regions sent out by the Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Interior. The accounts for the individual municipalities and regions are also compared with the accounts of the year before. Both absolute and relative changes are considered and all 98 municipalities and 5 regions are checked.
There is a great interest in the published municipal and regional quarterly accounts among users with an interest in the municipalities and regions. The users are among others the municipalities and regions themselves, ministries, organizations, the media, politicians, private businesses, and private people. The accounts are also used in a number of other areas, including calculation of the EMU-debt, the EDP questionnaire for Eurostat, government planning, business cycle monitoring, and the financial accounts in the national accounts for government expenditure and revenue.
There is a large variation between the quarterly accounts of the individual municipalities, partially because the placement of the individual account items can be interpreted in different ways. Adding to this is a number of unspecified account items (joint purpose). Some account items are estimated to be more 'safe' than others. This can be due to the fact that they reflect reimbursements from central government and therefore possibly the subject of ministerial interest. Some parts of the accounts are thus more 'safe' on a detailed level than others. Data for the quarterly accounts are preliminary, as the accounts of the municipalities and regions are not final until May the following year.
The publication time of the quarterly accounts of the municipalities and regions is approx. 35 days, from the last day of the quarter to the publication around 5 weeks later. The statistic has a high degree of punctuality, as it is usually published without delay in regards to the announced time.
Statistics Denmark has since 1977 electronically received and stored information concerning the financial assets and liabilities of local authorities at the end of the fiscal year. There is a break in data i 2007 due to the municipality reform, which means that the periods 1984-2006 and 2007- are hard to compare. Furthermore the following factors can complicate comparability over time: changes in the budget- and accounting systems, the assignments in the municipalities can changes over time, and the different ways the municipalities interpret the budget- and accounting system.