The National Audit Office has audited the final central government accounts and the Government’s annual report for 2019. The aim of the audit was to examine whether the final central government accounts have been prepared in compliance with the regulations and whether the budget and budget provisions have been followed. In addition, the National Audit Office also examined whether the Government reports on the state of central and general government finances and on the operational performance in its annual report as required by law.
The financial audit shows that the final central government accounts for 2019 have been prepared in compliance with all relevant provisions.
Based on the financial audits, the National Audit Office draws attention to procedures that are in violation of the state budget and the key budget provisions and that are also in contravention of the provisions on central government finances laid down in the Constitution of Finland. A total of 7 accounting offices were issued with qualified opinions on regularity on account of such violations. The National Audit Office submitted a total of 61 financial audit reports on the financial audits of ministries and other accounting offices for the 2019 budget year.
The Government’s annual report provides information on the relevant issues required by law. The reporting on the objectives set by the Government Programme is comprehensive, but the large number of objectives weakens its strategic perspective. The comprehensiveness of the reporting is satisfactory, as the report provides information on most issues under the budget chapters.
As a whole, the reporting is very concise, which is the desired trend for annual reports. The report provides information on the state of sustainable development from three perspectives but does not report clearly on the measures taken by the Government itself to implement the report on sustainable development.
As a rule, the report deals with general government finances comprehensively. The picture that the Government’s annual report provides of the state of general government finances and its parts in 2019 is concise but includes the essential information.
Because of the coronavirus situation, the outlook of general government finances is exceptionally uncertain, and the report presents no projections of general government finances. The National Audit Office considers this justified under the present circumstances, as the document is fundamentally intended to be a report on 2019.
The information content of the Government’s annual report and the risk overview of the Ministry of Finance should be further developed as a whole to reduce the amount of overlapping information.