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10 September 2015

ECB: The Bank for the Accounts of Companies Harmonized database

BACH is a free-of-charge database containing the aggregated accounting data of non-financial incorporated enterprises for, so far, 11 European countries. According to the EBA, it is the most reliable source of available data for European companies.

The Bank for the Accounts of Companies Harmonized (BACH) database is a very powerful and unique tool for evaluating the economic and financial performance of European non-financial corporations. The information it provides is relevant to several groups of users and purposes, including researchers, national central banks and other institutions (for macroeconomic analysis and to support decision making), companies (as a benchmark) and also to credit and financial institutions (in credit risk analysis). 
The BACH database facilitates the evaluation of the economic and financial performance of European non-financial corporations, based on the Nomenclature of Economic Activities (NACE Revision 2), and using detailed and harmonised aggregated data to make cross-country comparisons. The underlying data cover the period from 2000 onwards, providing a large level of detail by business sector (17 NACE sections and about 80 NACE divisions) and size class (based on net turnover, allowing the user to select small, medium and large firms) at country level. Data are available in variable and sliding samples.
International accounting harmonisation is not an easy task – the main concern in defining BACH indicators is the minimisation of the differences in accounting practices among countries. For that purpose, an extensive stock-taking exercise covering each national database/accounting item was conducted. In this sense, the BACH database currently represents a significant data harmonisation effort both within and across countries, with a view to minimising differences in accounting practices among countries, minimising gaps/breaks in time series/limitations of national samples, providing complete accounting statements, and fulfilling user needs, while adjusting to the requirements of modern analysis.
BACH data are based on accounting figures, in accordance with national accounting standards, and include a set of indicators related to the balance sheet (22), the income statement (41), the notes on investment behaviour (3) as well as economic and financial ratios (29), which have previously been subjected to several tests, in each country and across countries, in order to guarantee the quality of the underlying data. 

© ECB - European Central Bank

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