What do we do?
NAOF audits central government finances, evaluates fiscal policy, and oversees election campaign and political party funding. By conducting independent audits, NAOF ensures that state funds are used in a proper manner in accordance with the law and Parliament’s decisions and that the fiscal policy is on a sustainable basis. Read more about NAOF.
How many people work at NAOF and who are they?
NAOF has a staff of about 150. NAOF employs experts in a broad range of different fields and with a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Most of our staff members have an academic degree in economics and business administration, or in political or administrative sciences. Read more about a career at NAOF.
Where are we located?
NAOF has its head office in Helsinki and it also has an office in Oulu. Inquiries: Contact details
Why are we needed? What is the impact of our work?
The purpose of NAOF is to ensure that the Finnish Government acts in accordance with the law and respects the will of Parliament. NAOF also promotes effective and high-quality management of central government finances.
By performing audits, NAOF works to ensure that the legislation on central government finances is observed, that the information provided on central government finances is correct and adequate, and that central government finances can be managed more efficiently.
Based on its audits, NAOF issues recommendations to the audited entities and it also monitors whether the recommendations are implemented. However, the recommendations are not legally binding. The authorities in charge of the activities are always responsible for ensuring that the management of the finances is in accordance with the law and on an efficient basis.
What is our legal status? Are we subordinate to Parliament?
NAOF is the external auditor of central government finances. Its legal status is laid down in the Constitution of Finland and the Act on the National Audit Office (in Finnish). Under the Constitution of Finland, an independent national audit office operates in affiliation with Parliament. NAOF decides independently on what it audits, how the audits are performed and when they are carried out. The Auditor General decides on the audit plan. Parliament may only assign tasks to NAOF by law.
Are NAOF’s recommendations legally binding?
NAOF is an external auditor of financial management and its recommendations are not legally binding on the audited entities. The authorities in charge of the activities are always responsible for ensuring that the management of the finances is in accordance with the law and on an efficient basis. In the oversight of election campaign and political party funding, NAOF may impose a penalty payment if the disclosure obligation is not met.
What can we audit?
The NAOF’s activities cover central government finances as a whole. We audit the Government, individual ministries and central government agencies. NAOF also audits off-budget entities, unincorporated state enterprises and companies in which the State of Finland has a controlling interest. NAOF may also audit government aid granted to municipalities, companies and other corporations, as well as transfers of funds between Finland and the EU. Read more about the entities audited by NAOF.
Audit and evaluation
How many audits are made each year?
NAOF publishes between 80 and 90 audits each year. Audit reports are issued on each audit.
Most of the audits are financial audits and about 70 of them are published each year. About 15 performance audits and between two and three compliance audits and fiscal policy audits are published annually.
What are the differences between audit types?
The purpose of a financial audit is to determine whether the state budget and the budget provisions have been complied with, is the information contained in the final accounts correct and adequate, and whether the internal control of the audited entity is properly organised.
The purpose of a compliance audit is to determine whether the state budget and the provisions concerning central government finances and the principles of good governance have been complied with in the audited entity.
The purpose of a performance audit is to ensure that central government finances are managed in an economically efficient and effective manner. The National Audit Office always examines performance from economic perspective: Performance is based on cost-effectiveness, which means that the objectives should be achieved as successfully as possible with as few resources as possible.
The purpose of a fiscal policy audit is to determine whether a true and fair view has been given of the central government financial position and the sustainability of general government finances. The aim is to provide a strong basis for decision-making and public debate concerning fiscal policy. Fiscal policy audit also produces information for fiscal policy evaluation.
The main purpose of fiscal policy evaluation is to ensure that national and EU-level fiscal policy rules are observed. As part of the evaluation, the applicability of these rules to Finland is also assessed and their transparency and clarity promoted. In fiscal policy evaluation, the economic forecasts used as a basis for fiscal policy are also assessed.
The purpose of the oversight of election campaign and political party funding is to ensure that all those required to do so file the disclosures and documents required under the law. As part of the oversight of election campaign and political party funding , NAOF receives and publishes documents on which provisions are laid down in the Act on Political Parties and the Act on a Candidate’s Election Funding.
How is a financial audit performed?
The audit process can be divided into the planning, implementation and the reporting stage. However, the planning stage is not a separate phase but a continuous process, which usually starts from the conclusion of the previous audit and continues until the end of the audit assignment.
The planning process usually starts in late spring when a project-specific plan and a risk analysis are drawn up. The time and resources allocated to the audit, the manner of performance and more specific audit areas are also documented in the planning process.
Based on the plan, different types of audit measures, such as substantive audits and tests of controls, are carried out during the accounting period. Substantive audits include such measures as the checking of receipts. In the testing of controls, the ability of the processes in the audited entities to detect errors is examined.
A financial audit concludes with the audit of the final accounts, and the writing of the audit report. The audit report must include a summary of the information that is of material significance for the stakeholder’s decision-making process.
What instructions are used as a basis for the audits?
The manuals used in the audit process are approved by NAOF. The procedure is based on the Act on the National Audit Office. However, the audit manuals are based on the international ISSAI auditing standards. The general audit manual is supplemented by the manuals used by individual audit departments. NAOF also has its own ethical guidelines, which must be observed by all auditors working in the agency.
When can I submit a complaint to NAOF?”] You can submit a complaint to NAOF if you suspect that there have been irregularities in the management of central government finances.
You can submit a complaint on unlawful financial practices by the State of Finland or companies in which the State of Finland has a controlling interest and on certain matters concerning the funding of political parties and election campaigns. Read more about the complaints procedure.
You cannot submit complaints on
Parliament or the funds under the responsibility of Parliament
Bank of Finland
Social Insurance Institution of Finland
the authorities in other countries
international organisations, or
How is a complaint processed?
NAOF sends the complainant a notice of arrival. NAOF examines the matter and if there are reasons to suspect that laws have been violated or obligations neglected, it will investigate the matters raised in the complaint.
NAOF requests information and statements from the authorities named in the complaint. Finally, the complainant and the parties requested to submit information and statements will be notified of NAOF’s decision. If necessary, NAOF decides to prepare a separate report or perform a separate audit. Read more about the complaints procedure.
What are the consequences of a complaint?
In its decision, NAOF may
draw the attention of the monitored entity to the requirements of good governance
convey to the monitored entity NAOF’s view on what is required under law
issue the monitored entity with a caution.
NAOF may also decide not to investigate the complaint. Read more about the complaints procedure.
Do I need pay for making a complaint?
Complaints are investigated free of charge. Read more about the complaints procedure.