National accounts

Also known as: VGR

National accounts describe the statistical representation of economic transactions between the sectors of an economy (and those with other countries) over a period of time. In the strict sense, statisticians determine that in this way gross domestic product. Among other things, it provides a summary of how added value was created or distributed and used.

Definition / explanation

In order to prepare economic and monetary policy measures, it is essential to get an overview of the macroeconomic relationships.

Since many millions of people and institutions are usually involved in economic activity in an economy, these and their activities must be combined into large groups (sectors). The result is a comprehensive and structured cycle scheme of value creation for a defined period of time.

This is the main task of the national accounts (VGR). Transactions are the exchange of capital and goods between economic operators. The Federal Statistical Office has the task of determining these macro variables in the Federal Republic.

Components of the national accounts

The national accounts are based on two pillars:

1. Calculation of gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national income (GNI)
The calculation of gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national income (GNI), which are statistical values that express the economic performance of an economy in monetary units.

Gross domestic product (GDP) - GDP corresponds to the value of all goods, goods and services produced within the geographical boundaries of the country over a period, regardless of the nationality of the provider.

Gross National Income (GNI) - The gross national income (GNI), on the other hand, records all services provided by residents in terms of value, regardless of whether they are at home or abroad.

When surveying GDP and GNI, the national accounts asks:

how the added value came about (generation calculation): The contributions of the individual sectors (households, companies, government, foreign countries) are recorded and the corporate sector in particular is subdivided again (agriculture and forestry, manufacturing and construction, trade, public and private service providers).

how the added value is distributed (distribution calculation): National income plays a role here (all earned and property income), which is broken down according to the criteria of work, entrepreneurship and wealth.

How the added value is used by the sectors (usage calculation): The use of GDP can be based on private consumption, Business investments, Government consumption expenditure and the external contribution.

2. The subsidiary accounts of the national accounts are in particular

  • Input and output invoicing (networking of production and goods transactions between the production areas)
  • Asset accounting (it compares the sum of material goods and receivables with liabilities)
  • Financial accounts (the changes in the financial assets of households, companies, financial institutions and the state are shown)
  • Foreign trade accounts (which flows of goods and capital exist in which sizes between residents and foreigners)

Calculation of the gross domestic product in detail

after creation:
   Production value (company turnover plus inventory changes)
- advance payments
= Gross value added
- Fees for banking services
+ value added tax (not deductible)
+ Import duties

after use:
   private consumption expenditure
+ State consumption expenditure
+ Corporate investments
+ Exports
- imports

after distribution:
   Employee remuneration (residents)
+ Corporate and property income
= National income
+ Production and import taxes less subsidies
+ Depreciation
= Gross national income
- Primary income from the rest of the world


  • National accounts are the basis for making decisions about economic policy
  • represents, in a compressed form, the added value of the sectors of an economy over a period
  • consists of several partial calculations, in particular the calculation of the gross domestic product
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