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The System of National Accounts (often abbreviated as SNA; formerly the United Nations System of National Accounts or UNSNA) is an international standard system of national accounts, the first international standard being published in 1953.

Handbooks have been released for the 1968 revision, the 1993 revision, and the 2008 revision.

The System of National Accounts, in its various released versions, frequently with significant local adaptations, has been adopted by many nations. It continues to evolve and is maintained by the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Statistical Office of the European Communities.

The aim of SNA is to provide an integrated, complete system of accounts enabling international comparisons of all significant economic activity. The suggestion is that individual countries use SNA as a guide in constructing their own national accounting systems, to promote international comparability. However, adherence to an international standard is entirely voluntary, and cannot be rigidly enforced. The systems used by some countries (for example, France, United States and China) differ significantly from the SNA. In itself this is not a major problem, provided that each system provides sufficient data which can be reworked to compile national accounts according to the SNA standard.

About the 2008 SNA

The System of National Accounts 2008 (2008 SNA) is the latest version of the international statistical standard for the national accounts, adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC).

The 2008 SNA is an update of the System of National Accounts, 1993 (1993 SNA). The update was in 2003 entrusted to the Intersecretariat Working Group on National Accounts (ISWGNA) to address issues brought about by changes in the economic environment, advances in methodological research and the needs of users.

The first seventeen chapters of the 2008 SNA comprising the accounting rules, the accounts and tables, and their integration were adopted by the UNSC in 2008; chapters 18 to 29, comprising the interpretations and extensions of the accounts and tables of the System, were adopted by the UNSC in 2009.

The 2008 SNA is the result of a process that was notable for its transparency and the wide involvement of the international statistical community, both of which were made possible by the innovative use of the project's website Towards 2008 SNA as a communication tool. In its adoption of the 2008 SNA the UNSC encouraged Member States, regional and sub-regional organizations to implement its recommendations and use it for the national and international reporting of national accounts statistics.

Being a conceptual framework, the 2008 SNA does not attempt to provide comprehensive compilation guidance on how to make estimates nor is it descriptive in setting priorities which accounts and tables should be implemented or expresses norms on the frequency and format of their presentation. For practical compilation guidance, international agencies have developed separate handbooks like the handbooks of national accounting prepared by the United Nations Statistics Division.

A number of research issues have emerged during the update of the 1993 SNA, but where more extensive consideration is needed than what was possible in the course of the update process. These issues are listed in Annex 4 of the 2008. More information on these and emerging research issues and recommendations on the outcome of the research can be found at under the Research agenda.