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Quarterly national accounts (QNA) constitute a system of integrated quarterly time series coordinated through an accounting framework. QNA adopt the same principles, definitions, and structure as the annual national accounts. In principle, QNA cover the entire sequence of accounts and balance sheets in the System of National Accounts; in practice, the constraints of data availability, time, and resources mean that QNA are usually less complete than annual national accounts.

The coverage of the QNA system in a country usually evolves. In the initial stage of implementation, only estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) with a split by industry and/or type of expenditure may be derived. Gross national income (GNI), savings, and consolidated accounts for the nation can follow fairly soon.

Extensions can be made as the use of the system becomes more established, resources become available, and users become more sophisticated; additional breakdowns of GDP, institutional sector accounts and balance sheets, and supply-use reconciliation may be added.

More about this topic can be found on the website Knowledge Base on Economic Statistics with the UN statistical division: unstats.un.org/unsd/EconStatKB/Knowledgebase.aspx and on the IMF’s website under “Data and Statistics”, see: www.imf.org/external/data.htm.