What is the National Audit Office?

Maris Vaino | 12/4/2019 | 10:00 AM

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The National Audit Office is an independent institution acting in the interests of and hired by the Estonian taxpayer whose function is to investigate how the state and local authorities have spent the taxpayer’s money and what they have given them for it.

Thus, the National Audit Office is the auditor of the state that verifies whether public funds have been used successfully – economically, efficiently and effectively – and lawfully. The National Audit Office is not interested merely in the formal compliance of the activities with laws, but just as much the fact whether the laws and the government’s actions are sufficient to ensure purposeful and advisable use of funds and whether reports give an adequate picture of the spending and successfulness.

Based on the recommendations of the National Audit Office the Estonian Parliament, the Riigikogu, and the Government can improve the functioning of the state and use the taxpayer’s money more responsibly. The National Audit Office also has the right to make proposals to the Government, ministers and local authorities to draft legislation or amend or modify legislation in force.

The independence of the National Audit Office is secured by the Constitution and the National Audit Office Act. No one can order the National Audit Office to perform mandatory audit functions. The National Audit Office decides on its own what, when and how to audit. The activities of the National Audit Office are annually audited by an auditor appointed by the Parliament.

The National Audit Office is managed by the Auditor General who has extensive powers in managing the National Audit Office. The Auditor General is appointed to office by the Parliament based on a proposal of the President. The term of office of the Auditor General is not confined to only one.
Each member of the Parliament can ask questions from the Auditor General about subjects that are of interest to them or that are on the agenda in the Parliament and fall in the area of activity of the National Audit Office.

The fundamental values of the National Audit Office is objectiveness and independence, competence and diligence, cooperation and openness, and honesty and integrity.

The National Audit Office was established in 1918 in the same year when the Republic of Estonia was declared. In 1940 the activities of the National Audit Office were interrupted due to Soviet occupation. In 1990 the activities of the National Audit Office were restored.

The National Audit Office employs approximately 100 people. Three-fourths of them are engaged in auditing and one-fourth is engaged in supporting auditing, ensuring the work of the Auditor General and overall records management.

  • Posted: 12/4/2019 10:00 AM
  • Last Update: 8/28/2020 9:10 AM
  • Last Review: 8/28/2020 9:10 AM