National income accounting is a standardised bookkeeping system used by governments to measure the level of the country’s economic activity in a given time period, and to assess the standard of living or the distribution of income within a population. It is a key source of data to assess the effects of economic policies. The System of National Accounts, 2008 (2008 SNA) is the underlying statistical framework that has been produced and released under the auspices of the United Nations, the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group. The presentation of national accounts data may vary by country (commonly, aggregate measures are given greatest prominence), however the main national accounts include the following:
Current accounts: Production accounts record the value of the goods and services used in producing domestic output. Income accounts show primary and secondary income flows – both the income generated in production (wages and salaries) and distributive income flows (predominantly the redistributive effects of government taxes and social benefit payments). Expenditure accounts show how disposable income is either consumed or saved. Capital accounts record the net accumulation, as the result of transactions, of non-financial assets; and the financing, by way of saving and capital transfers, of the accumulation.