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Historic Versions of the System of National Accounts

The broad objective of the System of National Accounts (SNA) is to provide a comprehensive conceptual and accounting framework for compiling and reporting macroeconomic statistics for analysing and evaluating the performance of an economy.


The origins of the SNA trace back to the 1947 Report of the Sub-Committee on National Income Statistics of the League of Nations Committee of Statistical Experts under the leadership of Richard Stone.


At its first session in 1947, the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) emphasized the need for international statistical standards for the compilation and updating of comparable statistics in support of a large array of policy needs.

In view of the emphasis on international statistical standards throughout the history of the Commission, the following national accounts standards were produced:


The 1953 SNA was published under the auspices of the UNSC. It consisted of a set of six standard accounts and a set of 12 standard tables presenting detail and alternative classifications of the flows in the economy. The concepts and definitions of the accounts were widely applicable for most countries, including developing countries. Two slightly modified editions of the 1953 SNA were published.


The first revision in 1960 reflected comments on country experience in the implementation of the 1953 SNA.


The second revision in 1964 improved consistency with the International Monetary Fund's Balance of Payments Manual.


The 1968 SNA extended the scope of the national accounts substantially by; adding input-output accounts and balance sheets; giving more attention to estimates at constant prices; and making a comprehensive effort to bring the SNA and the Material Product System (MPS) closer together.


The 1993 SNA represents a major advance in national accounting and embodies the result of harmonizing the SNA and other international statistical standards more completely than in previous versions.


The 2008 SNA, which is an update of the 1993 SNA, addresses issues brought about by changes in the economic environment, advances in methodological research and the needs of users.

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