Subject areas in auditing

The audit work of the National Audit Office is centred around four subject areas. Some of the audit themes or perspectives extend to several subject areas.

Audit topics and their themes. Topic 1, Sustainable General Government Finances. Themes: fiscal policy, financing risks, costs and financing of investments, asset management and reorganization of central government operations, ownership steering of state-owned companies, regulation and monitoring of the financing sector. Topic 2, Sustainable Governance and Public Administration. Themes: unified government, structural reforms of public administration and experimental culture, state as an employer, sustainable development, quality of legislation. Topic 3, A Safe, Healthy and Affluent Society. Themes: social security benefit systems, social and health care service system, employment and entrepreneurship, continuous learning, research, development and innovation, comprehensive security. Topic 4, Information Governance. Themes: common information flows in the management of central government finances, reliability of central-government-level information, development of the cost-effectiveness of production, improvement of State Group information, central government risk management and internal control, compliance with the budget. Interfaces covering all of the topics include quality of legislation, state budget, digitalization, fiscal policy, sustainability gap of general government finances, ownership steering, asset management, tax system, data protection and cyber security, risk management, and structural reforms of public administration.
Figure: Areas of auditing

By monitoring the operating environment, we identify risks that are significant for general and central government finances as well as potential audit topics, and draw up reviews, expert opinions, and other statements to support Parliament and the central government in decision-making.

Audit topics of permanent nature

  • Core team (financial audit)

  • Balance sheet team (financial audit)

  • Security team (financial audit)

  • Government grant team (financial audit)

  • Final central government accounts (financial audit)

  • Shared processes audit (financial audit)

  • International financial audit: ESO

  • International financial audit: CERN

  • International financial audit: HELCOM

  • Centralized audit of compliance with the budget

  • Audit of the Government’s annual report

  • Audit of EU funds.

Audit topics previously incorporated into the audit plan

  • Measures for promoting the growth and competitiveness of regional trade and industry

  • Activities of the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA) in the implementation of housing policy development measures

  • Statistics on general government finances (in audit plan 2020: Statistical knowledge base of fiscal policy)

  • Finnfund’s investment activities and risk management

  • Reform and funding of continuous learning

  • Multiple steering and reorganizations (in audit plan 2021: Multiple steered central government organizations)

  • Taxation procedure for self-assessed taxes

  • Mergers and reorganizations

  • Grants awarded from the proceeds of gambling activities – Appropriateness of management and prerequisites for effectiveness (in audit plan 2021: Settlement of gambling proceeds and government grants allocated from them)

  • Recruitments and competence development in implementing central government’s personnel policy targets

  • Monitoring of the operating environment and foresight activities to support strategic decision-making

  • Management of the utilization of research data in health sector business (in audit plan 2020: Utilization of research data in business: funding and incentives)

  • Incentives and obstacles to work-based immigration

  • The state pension scheme and central government liabilities in other pension schemes

  • Centralization of central government functions: Economic efficiency, quality and steering of Palkeet’s service portfolio

  • Effectiveness of the reforms of student financial aid in the 2010s (in audit plan 2021: Impacts of the reform of student financial aid in 2016)

  • General housing allowance

  • Effectiveness of the entrepreneurship service system.

New audit topics

  • Battery value chain, the national battery strategy, and the Finnish Minerals Group

  • Automatic fiscal stabilizers

  • Municipalities in a particularly difficult financial position (procedure for municipalities in crisis)

  • Certain measures promoting employment

  • Special purpose entities in the planning and implementation of rail investments

  • Subsidies for productive investments in agriculture

  • Rescue services reform and capacity project

  • Digitalization projects related to health and social services

  • Situation with and further development of services

  • Central government related party transactions and reporting

  • Long-term operating models in central government’s service procurement

  • Old information systems

  • Organization and effectiveness of water resources and marine environment management

  • Targeting of government agencies’ activities at their statutory duties

  • Private forestry subsidies and forest biodiversity.