The staff at the Auditor General’s Office are the Parliament's accountants: they audit the state’s accounts to prevent errors and to make sure that the state’s finances are spent in the best possible way.
The Auditor General’s staff review the state's accounts
Each year, the Ministry of Finance prepares a combined set of accounts for the Danish state. These are known as the state's accounts and are based on the accounts from all the ministries. These accounts must be presented to the Parliament before the end of June, but usually it takes about 18 months before the Parliament approves them. This is due to the fact that the state's accounts – just like the accounts of private companies – must first be audited by accountants. This is the job of the Auditor General’s Office.
The Auditor General’s staff issue an annual report
When the Auditor General’s staff have finished auditing the state's accounts, they issue a report about the audit, which is then forwarded to the Auditors of Public Accounts, a group of six people appointed by Parliament for a period of four years. The Auditors of Public Accounts review the report and present a final report on the state's accounts to the Parliament, which then either approves or rejects the accounts. In this way, the audit procedure is divided between the civil servants who work for the Auditor General’s Office, the politically-elected Auditors of Public Accounts and Members of Parliament.
Independence is the key word
Although the Office of the Auditor General is an institution under the Parliament, it is independent of the Government and the Parliament. This means that no Minister or Member of Parliament can influence the audit of the state's accounts. Independence is thus the key word for the Auditor General’s staff in relation to the areas they choose to investigate and the methods they employ to do so. The Auditors of Public Accounts is the only authority entitled to ask the Auditor General’s staff to investigate a given area. When such an investigation has been completed, the Auditors of Public Accounts can make critical statements and talk to the press and public about any initiatives that will follow from the conclusions of the investigation. The work carried out by the Auditor General’s staff thus helps to ensure democratic control and promote efficient, ethical public administration.
The website of the Auditor General's Office