The financial accounts constitute a subset of the national accounts system (ESA 2010). They illustrate how the different economic sectors invest their financial surplus and/or finance their financial losses.
The financial accounts present a detailed picture of the financial claims and debts between the national institutional sectors (non-financial companies, financial companies, government, households) and between the national economy and abroad. Those debts and claims are also classified by financial instrument. The financial accounts illustrate outstanding claims and debts (inventories) at a specific point in time and changes (flows) over a certain period.
In the European system of national accounts (ESA 2010), the financial accounts are the last block in the sequence of accounts. Thus, while the non-financial national accounts show the financing positions for the various economic sectors (households, companies, general government, rest of the world), the financial accounts explain how these various sectors invest their surpluses or finance their deficits.
Broadly speaking, the financial accounts cover all claims, debts, entitlements and liabilities in the economy: cash and sight deposits, other deposits, short and long-term loans, short and long-term securities, equities, units in collective investment undertakings, insurance technical reserves. These accounts reveal the way in which the various economic sectors allocate their financial savings or find the resources which they need. The financial accounts also supply information enabling the liquidity of the various sectors to be assessed, by classifying the various assets according to their degree of liquidity.
The analysis of the main financing channels in the economy and the assessment of liquidity are matters of concern to those responsible for economic and financial policy. The description of inter-sectoral financing in fact reveals the role of the financial intermediaries and the markets in the process of fund collection and distribution. This can lead to the detection of any imperfections in the financing channels and contribute to the development of a policy aimed at optimising the allocation of financial resources. In addition, the financial accounts permit evaluation of the effects of monetary and fiscal policy measures. Finally, they also make it possible to formulate certain estimates for the sectoral balances, income and expenditure, and to predict the movement in certain categories of assets or liabilities.
The financial accounts are recorded in terms of flows (new net assets and new net liabilities) or stocks (outstanding financial assets and liabilities on a particular date).
The compilation of quarterly financial accounts requires the collaboration of numerous parties both within the National Bank (accounting layouts of credit institutions - schedule A-, survey of dematerialised securities, balance of payments, annual accounts collected by the Central Balance Sheet Office, etc.) and externally (FSMA, Euronext, BIS, etc.).