Accounting in central banks

Working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 20 May 2016

Working Paper No. 604
By David Bholat and Robin Darbyshire

This paper examines the important but not often discussed issue of accounting in central banks. It highlights the distinguishing factors that make the financial statements of central banks unique relative to those produced by other bodies. We begin by explaining why central banks produce financial statements. We then discuss a variety of specific topics in central bank accounting. In terms of balance sheet items, we discuss banknotes, shareholders’ equity, gold, foreign exchange and financial instruments. Our discussion of the income statement then centres on profit recognition and distribution.

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