Court of Auditors

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An audit office is a government-independent body of financial control that is subject only to the law and whose task it is to check the budgetary and economic management of the public administration for correctness (i.e. compliance with formal and material legal provisions) and efficiency ( auditing ). Audit offices often exist in a similar form in many democratic states.



The audit offices occupy a special position in the state structure. It has not been clarified whether they are to be assigned to the legislative , executive or judicial branches or whether they are outside the three powers ( separation of powers ) expressly mentioned in Article 20, Paragraph 3 of the Basic Law (GG) and constitute a sui generis institution .

The audit orders, requests for information and audit notifications from the audit offices are sovereign measures, but generally not administrative acts . This only exists if the audit measure is directed against a body outside the administration , which is possible in the cases of Sections 91 , 92 and 104 of the Federal Budget Code (BHO).

Federal Audit Office

For this purpose, the Federal Audit Office (BRH) was set up for the federal sector and has its seat in Bonn (formerly Frankfurt am Main ). The BRH is, insofar as it performs administrative tasks, a supreme federal authority ( Section 1 BRHG); its members ( Section 3 (1) BRHG) have judicial independence ( Article 114 (2) sentence 1 GG, Section 3 (4) BRHG). The historical forerunner of the BRH is the audit office of the German Reich .

State audit offices

In the countries there are separate national audit offices (LRH) as the highest state authorities :

Municipal audit offices

Authorities with comparable tasks at the local level are called audit offices .


In Austria, the audit offices are independent organs of the National Council and the state parliaments . You are responsible for checking the management , i.e. the financially effective activity, of the federal government or the states as well as the municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants . Companies, foundations, funds and corporations in which the public sector has a stake of at least 25% - previously 50% was necessary - are also obliged to submit to its examination at its request.

  • Court of Auditors - the Federal Court of Auditors (RH)
  • the state audit offices (LRH; historically emerged from the state control offices LKA)



At the federal level in Switzerland there is the Federal Audit Office , or SFAO for short . It is administratively assigned to the Federal Department of Finance and therefore, unlike in Germany or France, it is not one of the highest state institutions alongside the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

It was founded in 1877 as a control bureau, with the post of permanent auditor in existence since 1852. When it was put on an explicit legal basis with the law on the reorganization of the finance department in 1882 , it was given its current name. Since it came into force on January 1, 1968, the Financial Control Act has been a separate law for the SFAO, which has expanded its competencies. The trigger for this was the Mirage affair . Today it employs almost a hundred people.


Separate, independent administration and the except Swiss (German and French) System stand closer SAIs Cours comptes of called the cantons of Geneva and Vaud . The Vaudois Court of Audit was introduced in 2003 as part of the new cantonal constitution of 2002 (Art. 166), whereupon the Genevans adopted their former constitution in 2005 (Art. 141, in force since 2006; in the new cantonal constitution of 2012, Art. 128-131) to this effect amended and established an audit office . In Vaud, the five members of the Court of Auditors are elected by the Grand Council, i.e. the cantonal parliament; in Geneva, on the other hand, the people elect the six members by direct election.

The other cantons and many larger municipalities also have financial supervisory authorities that are technically independent from the government, but some are attached to the administration. As a rule, as at the federal level, they are called financial control, and sometimes also financial inspectorate.


The financial control of the Principality of Liechtenstein is a supervisory body of the state parliament and has only been established as a relatively independent and independent body since 2010.


The Cour des comptes is the French court of auditors and, with its history going back to 1318, one of the oldest audit offices in the world and one of the oldest institutions of the French central state that has existed to this day.


The Court of Auditors of the Italian Republic has both controlling and judicial functions. In particular, he controls the provisions issued by the Council of Ministers and the budgetary management of the state and speaks law in the areas of bookkeeping, financial management and pensions.


The Norwegian Court of Auditors is the main body that the Storting National Parliament has at its disposal to control the government. He reviews the various state institutions and is obliged to inform parliament as well as the state administration and the public about the results.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the function of the Court of Auditors is performed by the National Audit Office (NAO) based in London.


The Greek Court of Auditors was created in 1833 on the French model. Its mandate is derived from the constitution. It is part of the judiciary and, as the Supreme Finance Court, has the right to impose sanctions. His tasks are: auditing and reporting, advice, jurisdiction. In addition to the traditional review of public budgets, it also controls the use of 'Community funds' (EU funds) in the area of ​​the common agricultural policy and the structural funds (see also IACS ).

European Union

Financial control at the European Union (EU) is carried out by the European Court of Auditors (ECA), which has existed since 1975. Its task is to check the legality and correct use of funds of the EU institutions. The seat of the Court of Auditors is Luxembourg.


A predecessor authority to the Audit Office of the Russian Federation (Счётная палата Российской Федерации), which has existed since 1993, was the State Control of the Russian Empire from 1811 to 1918 (Государстисвенный контроророророророророророролеророролероророролероролороролороролороролоролороролороролороролороролороролоролороролороролороролоролороролоролероророл.

United States

In the United States, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) acts as a court of audit . It represents a bipartisan investigative body of Congress represent the United States and also takes over the function of Auditors also tasks that in Germany in the Federal Public Procurement Tribunal at the Federal Cartel Office are located. The Comptroller General of the United States presides over the GAO .

See also


  • Jens Bögershausen (2009): From classic invoice verification to modern financial control . Dissertation, University of Bamberg ( online (pdf)).


  1. ^ The Austrian Court of Auditors: The Court of Auditors: legal bases. Retrieved June 22, 2017 .
  2. Members of the professional association. In: Professional Association of Financial Controls in German-speaking Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. Retrieved July 14, 2020 .
  3. (PDF; 3.5 MB), accessed on July 3, 2011