Definition: Quadruple-entry bookkeeping

SNA

The simultaneous application of both the vertical and horizontal double-entry bookkeeping results in a quadruple-entry bookkeeping, which is the accounting system underlying the recording in the SNA. It deals in a coherent way with multiple transactors or groups of transactors, each of which satisfies vertical double-entry bookkeeping requirements. A single transaction between two counterparties thus gives rise to four entries. In contrast to business bookkeeping, national accounts deal with interactions among a multitude of units in parallel, and thus require special care from a consistency point of view. As a liability of one unit is mirrored in a financial asset of another unit, for instance, they should be identically valued, allocated in time and classified to avoid inconsistencies in aggregating balance sheets of units by sectors or for the total economy. The same is also true for all transactions and other flows that affect balance sheets of two counterparties (SNA 2008, § 3.116).
Source:
European Commission (Eurostat), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations (Statistics Division), World Bank, "System of National Accounts 2008", United Nations, New York, 2009
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