DEFINITION of 'Macro Accounting'

Macro accounting is the compilation of national accounts, or macroeconomic data, of a country. Macro accounting forms the basis for the official statistics that summarize a nation's economic development and performance, which in turn drives forecasts and government policy. Also known as "national accounting."

BREAKING DOWN 'Macro Accounting'

Macro accounting aggregates and organizes national statistics and economic indicators such as gross domestic product, external debt, imports and exports, inflation, non-farm payrolls, durable goods orders, retail sales, and so on. These figures are released on a periodic basis, usually monthly or quarterly by government departments and agencies. The Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Department of Commerce conducts macro accounting, as does the Federal Reserve Bank, Department of Treasury, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to name a few key official organizations. The data are closely watched by financial market participants to assess a nation's economic performance, and form predictions about future performance to integrate into their decision-making process with regard to trading and investments. They are also important to economic policymakers who depend on reliable data to adjust levers on a country's economy to keep it moving forward.

Macro Schmacro?

Almost all data from macro accounting is used responsibly by those who formulate and implement fiscal and monetary policies. The national accounts are taken seriously when important decisions have to be made. However, there are times when data of far-reaching significance are ignored by an office to comply with an agenda. The OMB of the Executive Office of the President, for example, unconcerned with the existing amount of national debt, painted a picture of future national debt under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that looks very different from that of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and many other authorities in economics who are worried about the potential of too much debt and the attendant perils to the country's economy.

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