We perform our audits in accordance with international auditing standards and code of ethics, which we apply to the specific EU context. These standards help ensure the quality and professionalism of our work, as well as its efficiency. We also contribute to the development of the standards as part of our international cooperation activities.
The statement of assurance audits
The statement of assurance is our annual financial and compliance audit exercise on the reliability of the EU's accounts and the regularity of the transactions underlying them. We publish the resulting findings, conclusions and audit opinions in our annual reports. The audit includes testing a statistically representative sample of transactions, and evaluating supervisory and control systems, to determine whether revenue and payments are calculated correctly and comply with the legal and regulatory framework. Detailed testing covers all spending schemes and member states, and is used to provide specific assessments of the different areas of the EU budget. We also use the work of other auditors as evidence to support our conclusions.
In our performance audits we address the quality of EU revenue or spending, and whether the principles of sound financial management have been applied. They involve an examination of programmes, operations, management systems and procedures of bodies and institutions that manage EU funds, to assess whether they are achieving economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of those resources. Our performance audits cover a wide range of topics with a particular focus on issues related to growth and jobs, European added value, management of public finances, the environment and climate action. We publish the results of our performance audits in special reports and bring together findings in this area in an annual report on performance.
Auditing performance involves assessing different aspects of the public intervention process, including inputs (financial, human, material, organisational or regulatory means needed for the implementation of the programme), outputs (the deliverables of the programme), results (the immediate effects of the programme on direct addressees or recipients) and impacts (long-term changes in society that are attributable to the EU's action).
AWARE – methodology and guidance
More details of our audit approach can be found in our online methodology and guidance platform
AWARE (Accessible Web-based Audit Resource for the ECA). AWARE consolidates all our audit resources in one easy to access tool, as a practical support for our auditors to use in their daily work.
AWARE sets out the principles we follow in our work, and provides guidance on how to apply them in practice, in order to achieve the expected quality of output. It provides guidance on our financial, compliance and performance audits as well as our reviews and opinions.
Information on how AWARE is organised can be found in the platform itself.
Helping to fight fraud against the EU budget
The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is responsible for the EU's fight against fraud and protecting its financial interests. In accordance with its Decision No 43-2017 (which lays down arrangements for cooperation with OLAF), the ECA forwards to OLAF any suspicion of fraud, corruption or other illegal activity affecting the EU's financial interests. We sometimes identify cases of potential fraud through our audit work, or when communicated to us by third parties.
The EPPO is the EU's new independent public prosecution office, responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to judgment crimes affecting the EU's financial interests. The ECA and the EPPO have signed a
working arrangement, which came into effect on 3 September 2021. It sets out a structured framework for establishing and maintaining a cooperative relationship between both parties in order to protect the EU budget, while fully respecting the mandates of both institutions.