Skip to content

Annual Business Survey

Survey at a glance 


The Annual Business Survey (ABS), formerly known as the Annual Business Inquiry - part 2 (ABI/2), is the main structural business survey conducted by ONS. It crosses all economic sectors, collecting financial data from businesses' end year accounts, including turnover, wages and salaries, purchases of goods and services, stocks and capital expenditure.

ABS is the primary source of data used in the compilation of the Input-Output Annual Supply and Use tables for National Accounts. It also provides a major contribution to the Blue Book which is produced annually by National Accounts and used to inform HM Treasury in managing economic policy.

The Bank of England also use the data to help manage monetary policy, for example whether interest rates should be changed in order to control inflation.

ABS is also the main collection module so that ONS can meet its legal obligation to Eurostat (The European Union statistical body) in collecting and providing data under the Structural Business Statistics Regulation (SBSR).

Other users include the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Department for Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland (DFPNI), the Scottish and Welsh Governments and local authorities.

ABS also provides a key bench marking source for monthly and quarterly ONS surveys such as Capital Expenditure and Stocks.

  • Selection Criteria - UK trading businesses registered for VAT and/or PAY

  • Population - Approximately 1.8 million 

  • Sample – Approximately 62,000

  • Frequency - Annually

  • Dispatch Date - Between the 21 and 28 February.

  • Return by Date - Beginning of May or within two months of business year end.
    Please Note - Dispatch and Return by dates are a guide. They are subject to change due to national holidays and weekends.   

Where are the data published? 

The data are published in the First Release of National Data, National Revised Data First Release, First release and web update for regional data and The Blue Book.

For more information go to the ABS webpages.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.