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Understanding Financial Accounts

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Understanding Financial Accounts seeks to show how a range of questions on financial developments can be answered with the framework of financial accounts and balance sheets, by providing non-technical explanations illustrated with practical examples: What are the basic principles, concepts and definitions used for this framework which is part of the system of national accounts? What sources and which methodologies are used for their compilation? How are these used to monitor and analyse economic and financial developments? What can we learn about the 2007-2009 economic and financial crisis when looking at the numbers provided in this framework? What can we learn about financial risks and vulnerabilities? This publication is intended for young statisticians, students, journalists, economists, policy makers and citizens, who want to know more about the statistics that are at the heart of the analysis of financial developments in OECD economies.

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A brief overview of financial accounts and balance sheets

Concepts from financial accounts and balance sheets are part of everyday policy debates as well as academic research. This chapter introduces financial accounts and balance sheets by placing these concepts within the framework of the System of National Accounts (SNA), and also offers a short account of the origins and developments of the SNA, up to 1952, when the OECD (then the OEEC) took the lead in establishing international standards for macroeconomic statistics within the United Nations statistics framework. Finally, this chapter provides an overview of the key questions this book attempts to answer.

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