The Financial Accounts (formerly known as the Flow of Funds accounts) are a set of financial accounts used to track the sources and uses of funds by sector. They are a component of a system of macroeconomic accounts including the National Income and Product accounts (NIPA) and balance of payments accounts, all of which serve as a comprehensive set of information on the economy’s performance.(1) Some important inferences that can be drawn from the Financial accounts are the financial strength of a given sector, new economic trends, changes in the composition of wealth, and development of new financial instruments over time.(1)
Sectors are compiled into three categories: households, nonfinancial businesses, and banks. The sources of funds for a sector are its internal funds (savings from income after consumption) and external funds (loans from banks and other financial intermediaries). (1) Funds for a given sector are used for its investments in physical and financial assets. Dividing sources and uses of funds into two categories helps the staff of the Federal Reserve System pay particular attention to external sources of funds and financial uses of funds.(2) One example is whether households are borrowing more from banks—or in other words, whether household debt is rising. Another example might be whether banks are using more of their funds to provide loans to consumers. Transactions within a sector are not shown in the accounts; however, transactions between sectors are.(2) Monitoring the external flows of funds provides insights into a sector’s health and the performance of the economy as a whole.
Data for the Financial accounts are compiled from a large number of reports and publications, including regulatory reports such as those submitted by banks, tax filings, and surveys conducted by the Federal Reserve System.(2) The Financial accounts are published quarterly as a set of tables in the Federal Reserve’s Z.1 statistical release.
(1) Teplin, Albert M. “The U.S. Flow of Funds Accounts and Their Uses.” Federal Reserve Bulletin, July 2001; http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/bulletin/2001/0701lead.pdf.
(2) Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. “Guide to the Flow of Funds Accounts.” 2000, http://johnfwilson.net/resources/$40Guide+to+the+FOF+Accounts+$282000$29.pdf.
A = Annual, SA = Semiannual, Q = Quarterly, M
= Monthly, BW = Bi-Weekly, W =
Weekly, D = Daily, NA = Not Applicable
Seasonal Adjustment (Seas. Adj.)
SA = Seasonally Adjusted, NSA
= Not Seasonally Adjusted, SAAR = Seasonally Adjusted
Annual Rate, SSA = Smoothed Seasonally Adjusted, NA = Not Applicable