Revision Bank Accounting Guidelines (BAG): Changes in reporting


The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is introducing a new data model from November 2015, which will enable it to structure survey data on banking statistics along subject-specific lines.  This change will improve access to data for internal and external users and create data-processing synergies.

The new data model will be introduced alongside other changes already being made in conjunction with the revision of the Bank Accounting Guidelines ( Subject-specific keys are at the heart of the new data model. In practice, this means that the keys of the individual positions to be surveyed are no longer coordinates-based, i.e. determined by their position (rows and columns) in the form, but by their subject-specific meaning.

In order to ensure efficient data processing, the data surveys and the new data model will be put on a new technical footing. This will entail changes to the methods used to report statistical data; the SNB can define these changes as per Art. 10 of the National Bank Ordinance (NBO).

For the time being, the changes will only apply to those surveys that must be fundamentally overhauled due to the BAG revision. The technical formats used to date shall continue to apply to surveys subject to only minimal BAG revision-related modifications and to all other surveys. However the SNB ultimately plans to transfer all surveys to the new format in a gradual transition process.

Existing data model coordinates-based

The coordinates-based model is based on forms, rows and columns. The keys used for this reflect a figure’s position in a given form.

For example, the following surveyed item from the comprehensive monthly balance sheet: Assets, Liquid assets, Domestic, CHF is assigned to the key M011(Z01,K01); it is assigned to <x/> and <y/> in the XML format. The corresponding item is to be found on form M011, row 01, column 01.

The delivery formats Excel and XML are set up to be able to support these keys.

New subject-specific data model

The new data model, which will be deployed from 2015, is structured according to a survey’s subject-specific content (e.g. Balance sheet, Assets, Liquid assets, Domestic, CHF); for the structural elements, it uses codes, which combine to create a key.

For instance, in the subject-specific data model, the item in the example above is identified using the key BIL.AKT.FMI(I,CHF). Each part of the code is given a title in order to make clear which position it refers to: BIL = Balance sheet, AKT = Assets, FMI = Liquid assets,
I = Domestic, CHF = Swiss francs.

The delivery formats Excel and XML, which support subject-specific keys, are therefore different from the ones used in the past.

The XLSX delivery format

As in the past, the SNB will continue to supply Excel forms for the submission of statistical data. These will now be based on the XLSX data format and therefore require users to have Microsoft Office 2007 or above.

The row numbers and column names shown in the forms (alphanumeric) correspond to the Excel coordinates and simplify communications with the SNB in the event of queries. The link between Excel coordinate and data point is dynamic and may therefore change as a result of future adjustments to the Excel form.

Consistency rules will also be subject to a change. In the past, totals and subtotals contained formulas which calculated these (sub)totals; the new XLSX forms no longer contain calculated positions. The reason for this is that the consistency rules are now created and embedded automatically in a separate Excel table drawn from the database system. These consistency rules will be included in the definitive XLSX survey documents from May 2015.

The new XLSX survey documents are supplied together with an XML schema, which contains the subject-specific keys. In the processing of the file, the assigned XML schema is used to link the figures in the table tabs with the subject-specific keys and to output these as an XML file. Thus, if an XLSX file containing a report based on subject-specific keys is submitted to the SNB, it must be supplied together with the relevant XML schema.

The XML delivery format

Up to now, the XML definition (DTD), which used coordinates-based keys, could be deployed for all surveys.

In the new subject-specific model, a separate XML schema containing subject-specific keys exists for each survey. These XML schemata are supplied along with the other survey documents.

The keys also contain language-dependant titles to ensure that these can be understood.

Under the existing model, a version history was kept for every form; under the new model, only one version will be kept for the entire schema.

In each case, the XML schemata are also supplied in the relevant Excel survey documents. Thanks to Excel’s convenient XML Import function, this means that XML reports can also be displayed in Excel. This may make sense if the contents of an XML file need to be displayed and validated in tabular form.

Until now, multiple surveys could be included in a single XML report; however, under the new model a separate XML report must be generated and delivered for each survey.

Consistency rules

The changeover to the new formats will necessitate adjustments to the consistency rule language. The SNB will provide reporting organisations with consistency rules that can be interpreted in the context of both the Excel coordinates and the subject-specific keys.

The rules will be implemented using Excel formulas and will be inserted into a separate table for subject-based XLSX survey documents, ensuring that the content of the report can be checked (exceptions: cross-survey checks).

The new consistency rules for the BAG surveys will be available from May 2015.

Subject-specific survey documents

The new Excel survey forms and XML schemata will be introduced gradually and will apply to the surveys in question from the relevant reference date. From this point onwards, these surveys may no longer be submitted in the old format.

Coordinates-based survey documents

The following surveys are affected by the changes based on the BAG revision but will remain in the existing format for the time being.

Valid from