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Changes when ESA 2010 is introduced

The national accounts is an accounting system that presents economic activity as well as assets and liabilities for a country or a region. The methods used in the compilation of the national accounts are to be designed so that the national accounts reflect economic activity and capture changes in assets and liabilities.

An update of previous methods and content (according to ESA 1995) has now been done. In addition to the in-depth concepts and methods that the new guidelines involve, minor changes in both terminology and accounting/presentation will occur in the Swedish national accounts.

Special interest has been directed towards the changes that affect GDP and GNI. The member states of the EU needed to estimate the combined effect of the switch-over for these two statistical measurements. The greatest effect on the GDP estimate has been the change of presentation of expenses for research and development. These expenses will now be presented as investments instead of intermediate consumption.

One area that involves certain method changes in the new ESA and SNA is the area of transactions that affect production abroad, three party trade (merchanting) and payroll administration. In relation to foreign trade, the application of the principle when transactions take place has been changed. Previously, goods were assumed to be exported/imported when they crossed a national border. But according to ESA 2010, the principle of change of ownership shall also form the basis of trade in goods between countries. This means that if the parties of the transaction have their economic home in different countries, goods shall be assumed to be exported/imported when ownership changes. This is regardless of what occurs with the goods in question. The goods do not need to be brought to the new owner's home country, but can even be transported to a third country and then change owners again (so-called merchanting/three party trade). In most cases, change of ownership occurs when the goods pass the border, but in addition to three party trade, there is another important exception that is called goods for processing abroad. Goods for processing is when goods are sent to another manufacturer, who in this case is located in another country. The goods will then be further processed and later sent back to the owner, who only pays for the processing service that has been performed abroad.

The presentation for the area for pensions will also be changed in the new ESA. According to the new guidelines, it is clear that the liabilities for occupational pensions are to be included in the presentation of the financial liabilities of the government. Previously only incoming and outgoing payments have been included in the national accounts. The new directive also means that the national pension system and the occupational pension system will be presented in a special table by 2017. This special table is known as a satellite account for pensions. The table should be regarded as a complement to the presentation that is included in the main account of the national accounts, and thus provides a summarised description of the benefits provided by enterprises, organisations and public administration.

Other changes that occur with the adaptation to the new ESA are the addition of new instruments for the financial accounts as well as a new sector classification (mainly for the financial corporate sector). The guidelines for calculating the financial savings and liabilities of the public sector will also be changed.