Eurostat's Concepts and Definitions Database


Balance sheet
Term extension
ESA 1995
A balance sheet is a statement, drawn up at a particular point in time, of the values of assets owned and of liabilities outstanding. The balancing item is called net worth.

A balance sheet is drawn up for sectors, the total economy and the rest of the world. For a sector the balance sheet shows the value of all assets - produced, non-produced and financial - and liabilities and the sector's net worth. For the total economy the balance sheet provides as balancing item what is often referred to as national wealth: the sum of non-financial assets and net financial assets with respect to the rest of the world. The balance sheet for the rest of the world, called the external assets and liabilities account, consists entirely of financial assets and liabilities.

A balance sheet relates to the value of assets and liabilities at a particular moment of time. Balance sheets are compiled at the beginning of the accounting period (the same as the end of the preceding period) and at its end (§ 7.01).

Balance sheets show the total assets and liabilities of the various units at the beginning and the end of the accounting period, together with their net worth. The flows for each asset and liability item recorded in the accumulation accounts are seen again in the changes in balance sheets account (§ 8.04).

The aim of the balance sheets is to give a picture of the assets, liabilities and net worth of units at the start and end of the accounting period and of changes between balance sheets. The sequence is as follows:

a) opening balance sheet;
b) changes in balance sheet;
c) closing balance sheet (§ 8.60).

Provisions for the layout of the balance sheet for certain types of companies within the EU is given in Articles 9 and 10 of the Fourth Council Directive (Fourth Council Directive 78/660/EEC of 25 July 1978 based on Article 54 (3) (g) of the Treaty on the annual accounts of certain types of companies).
Eurostat, "European System of Accounts - ESA 1995", Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 1996
Other link(s)
Fourth Council Directive on the annual accounts of certain types of companies
Related terms
Term Term extension    
  • Opening balance sheet
  • ESA 1995 View
  • Closing balance sheet
  • ESA 1995 View
  • Changes in balance sheet
  • ESA 1995 View
    Statistical theme(s)
  • Economy and Finance
  • Other languages
    Term Term extension    
  • Vermögensbilanz
  • ESVG 1995 View (Deutsch)
  • Compte de patrimoine
  • SEC 1995 View (Français)