3.1 This chapter discusses the nature of basic entries in the international accounts and the accounting principles governing their recording. Entries in the international accounts are either flows or stocks. In the context of international accounts, stocks are called positions. The entries are recorded following a consistent set of accounting principles to ensure a complete integration of flows and positions as well as symmetry of recording between counterparties. This chapter first describes the important characteristics of flows and positions. It then explains the double-entry and quadruple-entry bookkeeping systems in the context of international accounts. Finally, the chapter describes general accounting principles concerning the time of recording, valuation, and aggregation and netting. Descriptions of specific types of flows and positions and the application of general accounting principles to their recording are discussed in relevant chapters.