National accounts are designed to provide a systematic summary of national economic activity and have been developed to assist in the practical application of economic theory.
The Australian system of national accounts includes national income, expenditure, and product accounts, financial accounts, the national balance sheet, input-output tables and satellite accounts. At their summary level, the national accounts reflect key economic flows - production, the distribution of incomes across sectors, consumption, saving and investment. At their more detailed level, they are designed to present a statistical picture of the structure of the economy and the detailed processes that make up domestic production and its distribution.
The financial accounts show the financial assets and liabilities of the nation and of each institutional sector and inter-sectoral financial transactions. The balance sheet is a comprehensive statement of produced and non-produced assets, liabilities to the rest of the world and net worth. Satellite accounts allow the development of an integrated set of statistics about a particular sector which crosses a number of industries or sectors. Input-Output tables show the structure of a country's production system for a particular period. They show which goods and services are produced by each industry and how they are used.
The national accounts also include many detailed classifications (e.g. by industry, by purpose, by commodity, by state and territory, and by asset type) relating to major economic aggregates.
The information presented in this chapter is on the same conceptual basis as the information presented in the International Accounts and Trade chapter of this edition of Year Book Australia. However, estimates in the two chapters differ as they are based on information compiled at different points in time.
This chapter contains the article Fifty Years of Quaterly National Accounts.