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The EU must place a greater emphasis on effective public financial management for the benefit of its citizens


08 Apr 2014


Innovation & Enterprise

The European Court of Auditors will have an ever increasing role to play when it comes to the effectiveness of EU public financial management, says an EU auditor’s essay in a report from ACCA

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) is poised to offer ‘landscape reviews’ on the risks to EU public financial management and on EU accountability and audit arrangements, says Lazaros S. Lazarou, Member of the European Court of Auditors, in an essay included in a new report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) called Breaking out: public audit’s new role in a post-crash world.

Explaining developments in the ECA’s role, Mr Lazarou refers to the ECA’s 2013-2017 strategy which states that: “The ECA will use its unique powers and perspective and the knowledge, expertise and partnerships it has built up over 35 years to contribute. It will help other parties in the EU accountability process to identify risks to EU accountability and facilitate their use of audit results; enhance its professionalism by contributing to and applying new audit standards and good practices; further streamline its processes for producing its reports and opinions; and improve its performance and accountability framework.”

Mr Lazarou joins other public audit experts in this report, who all offer an upbeat reflection of auditor’s role in accountability and improving public service from Australia to Jamaica, Scotland to Bhutan. The writers speak about improving public engagement and strengthening scrutiny and public service effectiveness.

Gillian Fawcett, ACCA’s Head of Public Sector and a fellow contributor in the report, said: “As the boundaries of public audit widens, the role of the public sector will need to expand to play a more crucial role in correcting the way public money is spent and accounted for.

“Auditor generals around the world need to remain vigilant in their roles as guardians of public confidence through greater transparency, being clearer about the long-term consequences of decisions, identifying opportunities for improvement and always being seen as being independent and representing the public interest.”

Ms Fawcett concludes: “Auditors must intervene earlier in the processes by which money is allocated to departments.  A strong argument has been made that it is only by doing this that problems can be nipped in the bud. Providing assurance in the early stage of a project can limit the administrative failures, preventing them from spiralling into significant value for money failures.”

Mr Lazarou concludes: “External audit is an important element in the governance structure of the EU. The ECA is addressing the challenges from developments in the EU public sector environment and will continue to contribute effectively in strengthening EU democratic accountability, building EU citizens' trust.”

- ends -

For more information, please contact:

Lali Sindi, ACCA Newsroom
+ 44 (0) 207 059 5643
+44 (0) 7921 698085


Notes to Editors

1.      ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

2.      We support our 162,000 members and 428,000 students in 173 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of 91 offices and centres and more than 8,500 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

3.      Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. 


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