Aim of this survey

The Quarterly Balance Sheet Survey (BSS) collects information on the assets and liabilities of your business. The information supplied forms part of the UK's National Accounts and Balance of Payments which are used by the Treasury and the Bank of England to monitor the economy.

What you need to know

To complete the BSS questionnaire, you will need the following information:

  • asset, liability and equity balances held by UK domiciled companies in your group, excluding pure holding companies and financial companies

  •  intra-group balances held by UK resident companies in your group

  •  loans assets and trade & other receivables balances gross of any accounting adjustments

  •  the original, rather than remaining, term of any loan or debt securities balances held by your business

All information you provide is strictly confidential.

Survey information

Selection criteria: UK trading businesses registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) and/or Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
Population: approximately 3,000
Sample: approximately 800
Frequency: quarterly

Dispatch dates

Quarter 1: between 25 and 27 March
Quarter 2: between 24 and 26 June
Quarter 3: between 23 and 25 September
Quarter 4: between 16 and 18 December

Return-by dates

Quarter 1: 19 April
Quarter 2: 19 July
Quarter 3: 18 October
Quarter 4: 17 January

Dispatch and return-by dates are a guide. They are subject to change due to national holidays and weekends.

Why you were selected

Your business has been selected from a directory of businesses in the UK, which are registered for VAT and/or PAYE or with Companies House. Your response ensures we represent your industry.

The BSS is conducted under the provisions of the Statistics of Trade Act 1947. Once selected, your business is legally obliged to comply. You cannot appeal your selection.

Why you have received this survey

We select large businesses with 250 plus employees because their information is so significant.

How to complete this survey

The BSS is submitted via a secure online collection system.

If your business is selected, you will receive an enrolment letter that provides instructions on how to access the survey. You will be asked to complete the survey via Secure Electronic File Transfer (SEFT). You must use the template that appears in the Survey Data Collection (SDC) system for your BSS return.

You can view a copy of the spreadsheet-based questionnaire (which includes definitions and extra information) in the 'Related downloads' section of this webpage. Please be aware that this version of the spreadsheet is a specimen only and should not be used to return data. 

You will have three weeks to complete the BSS. Reminders are issued automatically, so you may receive one if you submit data just before or after the return date.

If you need help

If your question is not answered above, you may be able to find the answer in the About ONS business surveys section

You can call us on 0300 1234 935. Please enter the three-digit survey ID 086.

Er mwyn gwneud cais am ffurflen Gymraeg (to speak to someone in Welsh): 0300 1234 921.

Related downloads