Government finance statistics (GFS) show the economic activities of the general government sector, including:
- government total revenue
- government total expenditure
- government balance, i.e. surplus (+)/deficit (-), called in national accounts terminology net lending (+)/net borrowing (-)
- transactions in financial assets and liabilities
- other changes in assets and liabilities (other changes in volume and revaluation)
- balance sheets
The GFS presentation is similar to that of business accounting where the profit and loss accounts and the balance sheet are presented together, in an integrated manner.
The emphasis is on the economic substance over the legal form of the event. Hence GFS differ noticeably from the budget or public accounting presentations that are nationally specific as far as scope of units and recording of transactions are concerned.
European GFS are produced in accordance with the European System of Accounts 2010 (ESA 2010), which is the European version of the national accounts, supplemented by further interpretation and guidance documentation from Eurostat.
GFS form the basis for fiscal monitoring in Europe, most notably for the statistics related to the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP).