Accrual Accounting

System of accounting where items are brought to account and included in the financial statements as they are earned or incurred, rather than as they are received or paid.

Accumulated Depreciation

The aggregate depreciation recorded for a particular depreciating asset.

Administered Items

Expenses, revenues, assets or liabilities managed by agencies on behalf of the Commonwealth. Agencies do not control administered items. Administered expenses include grants, subsidies and benefits. In many cases, administered expenses fund the delivery of third party outputs.

Additional estimates

Where amounts appropriated at Budget time are insufficient, Parliament may appropriate more funds to portfolios through the Additional Estimates Acts.


An authorisation by Parliament to spend moneys from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for a particular purpose.

Annual Appropriation

Two appropriation Bills are introduced into Parliament in May and comprise the Budget for the financial year beginning 1 July. Further Bills are introduced later in the financial year as part of the additional estimates. Parliamentary departments have their own appropriations.

Capital expenditure

Expenditure by an agency on capital projects, for example purchasing a building.

Consolidated Revenue Fund

Section 81 of the Constitution stipulates that all revenue raised or money received by the Commonwealth forms the one consolidated revenue fund (CRF). The CRF is not a bank account. The Official Public Account reflects most of the operations of the CRF.

Departmental items

Assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses that are controlled by the agency in providing its outputs. Departmental items would generally include computers, plant and equipment assets used by agencies in providing goods and services and most employee expenses, supplier costs and other administrative expenses incurred.


Apportionment of an asset’s capital value as an expense over its estimated useful life to take account of normal usage, obsolescence, or the passage of time.

Equity or net assets

Residual interest in the assets of an entity after deduction of its liabilities.


Total value of all of the resources consumed in producing goods and services or the loss of future economic benefits in the form of reductions in assets or increases in liabilities of an entity.

Intermediate outcomes

More specific medium-term impacts (eg. trend data, targets or milestones) below the level of the planned outcomes specified in the Budget. A combination of several intermediate outcomes can at times be considered as a proxy for determining the achievement of outcomes or progress towards outcomes. (See outcomes)

Operating result

Equals revenue less expense.


An outcome is the intended result, consequence or impact of Government actions on the Australian community.


One of the three key efficiency indicators. The amount the government or the community pays for the delivery of agreed outputs.


Activity that delivers benefits, services or transfer payment to individuals, industry and/or the community as a whole, with the aim of achieving the intended result specified in an outcome statement.


One of the three key efficiency indicators. Relates to the characteristics by which customers or stakeholders judge an organisation, product or service. Assessment of quality involves use of information gathered from interested parties to identify differences between user's expectations and experiences.


Total value of resources earned or received to cover the production of goods and services.

Special Account

Balances existing within the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) that are supported by standing appropriations (Financial Management and Accountability (FMA) Act 1997, ss.20 and 21). Special accounts allow money in the CRF to be acknowledged as set-aside (hypothecated) for a particular purpose. Amounts credited to a Special Account may only be spent for the purposes of the Special Account. Special Accounts can only be established by a written determination of the Finance Minister (s.20 FMA Act) or through an Act of Parliament (referred to in s.21 of the FMA Act).

Special Appropriations

An amount of money appropriated by a particular Act of Parliament for a specific purpose and number of years. For special appropriations the authority to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund does not generally cease at the end of the financial year.

Standing appropriations are a sub‑category consisting of ongoing special appropriations — the amount appropriated will depend on circumstances specified in the legislation.

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