European Structural and Investment Funds
Summer Course |
27.05.2020 - 29.05.2020 |
Sicily |
Language: English

Financial Control and Audit of ESI Funds Now and in 2021-2027

Managing, Certifying, Intermediate and Audit Authorities face a number of challenges, when implementing financial control and audit requirements of the current programming period 2014-2020. The first proposal for the Regulatory Framework for Structural Funds 2021-2027, aiming among others, simplification in management of funds, flexibility to respond to emerging needs, more potential to financial instruments, will bring new practical questions. New regulations and requirements as well as some old issues can be challenging for professionals dealing with audit and control of ESI Funds.



Managing Authorities and Intermediate Bodies have to conduct administrative and on-the-spot verifications in order to ensure efficient and reliable first level control procedure. Not only eligibility of expenditures and compliance with complex State aid and public procurement rules have to be considered, but especially the new obligations, related to the Assurance Package, such as drawing up, certifying and submitting Annual Accounts to the EC, still raise a number of questions to first level controllers.

Furthermore Managing Authorities, Certifying Authorities and Intermediate Bodies have to be aware of the new audit requirements in order to be best prepared for audit visits. The day-to-day obligation of Audit Authorities is to conduct audit on operations, audit on projects, audit on payment claims, which causes such difficulties as choosing the right sampling methodhandling of error rates and auditing of state aid and public procurement. Besides, Audit Authorities have to meet new requirements and assessment criteria in system audit and audit of accounts, and effectively conduct audit of management declaration.

Irregularities and fraud at any stage of these processes can bring to repayments and financial corrections. When the amounts cannot be recovered and this is a result of fault of a Member State, the latter is obliged to reimburse these amounts to the budget of the Union. Therefore, national authorities have to meet the challenges of stronger financial controls and carry out the respective verifications and audits.


The three-day Summer Course focuses on the following topics:

  • Control and audit framework for MA, CA, AA and IB now and in 2021-2027
  • Life cycle of operations and tasks of the authorities involved
  • Administrative and on-the-spot verifications of ESI Funds
  • Verification of Simplified Cost Options
  • Verification of State aid and public procurement
  • Audit findings and recommendations in system audits, in audits on operations and projects
  • Audit of Simplified Cost Options
  • Audit findings in State aid and public procurement
  • Audits by the European Court of Auditors
  • Management of and most common irregularities in ESI Funds
  • Reporting and financial corrections: How to conduct financial corrections
  • Combating fraud & corruption in ESI Funds
  • Assurance Package 2020 and challenges with annual accounts

Who should participate?

  • Representatives from public authorities in dealing with different aspects of financial control and audit of ESI Funds, especially from:
    • Managing Authorities
    • Certifying Authorities
    • Audit Authorities
    • Intermediate Bodies
  • ESI Funds experts from regional and local authorities and experts involved in ETC Programme
  • Auditors controlling and auditing ESI Funds programmes and projects
  • Experts from EU, National and regional Court of Auditors
  • Experts from Institutions involved in implementation of ESI funds
  • Consultants and lawyers specialized on ESI Funds
  • Beneficiaries of EU funded projects

Workshop Material – No need to miss anything!

If you were unable to make it to the workshop you may want to order a copy of the printed material including the access data to all presentations shown during the events. The price is € 299,- (each, excl. of VAT). If interested, please contact Anya Zuschke.

Day 1: Wednesday, 27 May | 08:45 - 17:15


Registration & Welcome Coffee


Welcome Note by Lexxion and Chair, Introduction Round

Session 1:
Financial Management and Control System in this Programming Period and Outlook into 2021-2027


Financial Management and Control Requirements for Managing, Certifying, Audit Authorities and Intermediate Bodies

  • Regulatory environment 2014-2020 –what is new?
  • Roles and responsibilities of the bodies involved
  • Implementation of a control framework: control checklists and control reports

Outlook into the future: Regulatory Framework 2021-2027

  • Proposal for the Regulatory framework 2021-2027
  • What are the main expected changes and challenges?
  • Points for duscusstion at national level

Coffee Break

Session 2: Audit Findings and Recommendations in ESI Funds
(incl. Lunch Break 12:30 – 13:30)



Audit Findings – Practical Insights


  • Newest legal requirements: Chapter on good practices promoted by Audit Community
    (EC and national AAs) when carrying out audits under ESI funds, by DG REGIO
  • Audit findings and recommendations in
    system audits
  • Audit findings and recommendations in audits
    on operations/projects
  • Process of the audit of projects
    (planning, execution, reporting)


During this practical session participants from managing, certifying authorities and intermediate bodies will be asked to brainstorm, what and how they would prepare for audit control. Auditors will be asked to consider their expectations to the auditees. Finally we will examine the gap between auditors and auditees.



You are welcome to take part in the quiz and to test your gained knowledge. Don’t miss the chance to win special prizes from our speaker!


Coffee Break

Session 3: Irregularities and Financial Corrections in ESI Funds


Management of and Most Common Irregularities in ESI Funds

  • Definition of an irregularity and difference
    between error and irregularity
  • Overview on most common types of irregularities
  • Who can determine irregularities?
  • Which irregularities can be identified by first
    level controllers?
  • Which irregularities are typically identified
    by auditors?
  • How to treat irregularities?

Practical exercises

Practical exercises on how to detect and handle irregularities. You are welcome to contribute to this session. Just send us your questions in advance and we will discuss them during the event.


Reporting and Financial Corrections

  • When do irregularities lead to recoveries,
    withdrawals and financial corrections?
  • Rules and obligations for bodies involved
  • Purpose and types of financial corrections
  • Pre‐ and post‐payments
  • Reporting requirements
  • New rules on treatment and reporting of irrecoverable amounts
  • Recoveries and withdrawal workflow

Group Exercises

How to Choose the Right Type of Financial Correction and how to Calculate the Rate of Corrections


End of Day 1


Boat tour and common dinner with all speakers and participants

Day 2: Thursday, 28 May | 09:00 - 17:45

Session 4: Assurance Package for 2020 and Challenges with Annual Accounts


Introduction into the Assurance Package

  • Regulatory framework
  • What is the Assurance Package
  • Requirements and obligations of involved actors
  • Management declaration and annual summary (Managing Authority)
  • Annual accounts (Certifying Authority)
  • Audit opinion and annual control report
    (Audit Authority)
  • Timing obligations for programming bodies
    and division of tasks

How to Draw up, Certify and Submit Annual Accounts to the EC: Exchange of Experiences from 2017, 2018 and 2019

  • Timeline for structure of annual accounts
  • Preparation, documentation and reporting requirements
  • Content of annual accounts
  • Which information can be added after
    submission to the EC
  • How to treat irregularities
  • Planning the activities for upcoming months

Coffee Break


Practical Exercise on Annual Accounts

Participants will be offered to go through the template for annual accounts and discuss on concrete examples, how to fill it in.


Audit of Annual Accounts

  • Regulatory framework
  • Timeline for conducting audit of annual accounts
  • Communication between certifying and audit authorities
  • How to use results of system audits for the audit of accounts
  • How to use results of audit of operations for the audit of accounts
  • Final additional verifications of the draft certified accounts
  • Audit opinion on the accounts


Participants will go through the check list for audit of accounts and discuss in groups the most important issues to be checked and the common errors.



Session 5: Effective Management Verifications in ESI Funds



Guidance on Management Verifications


  • Legal requirements
  • Verification methodologies
  • Delegation principles
  • Timing / nature / frequency of verification

Administrative versus On-the-Spot Verifications


  • Strategy and planning:
    Administrative versus on-the-spot verification
  • Cooperation between Managing Authorities
    and Intermediate Bodies
  • Segregation of duties
  • Record-keeping and reporting requirements
  • How to put together a verification methodology
    for on-the-spot checks
  • How to deal with personnel and overhead costs?
  • The importance of documentation in the verification process

Coffee Break


Group Exercises

Verification of Simplified Cost Options


Group Exercises

Verification of State aid and public procurement


Group Exercises

Verification of State aid and public procurement



Sampling and On-the-Spot Verification

Simon Hannah ERDF Compliance and Quality Assurance Manager, East of England ERDF Growth Delivery Team, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Cambridge

End of Day 2

Day 3: Friday, 29 May | 08:30 - 16:00

Session 6:  Combatting Fraud and Corruption in ESI Funds – Practical Insight


Requirements and Tools

  • The anti‐fraud cycle
  • KR 7: Anti-Fraud Measures
  • Instruments and methods for the prevention and detection of irregularities, fraud and corruption
  • How to identify red flags of fraud and corruption?
  • Cyber fraud
  • Capability of IT tools: The obligatory fraud risk self‐assessment tool and Arachne

Best practice

Best practice from Latvia: cooperation between AFCOS and Audit Authority


Practical exercises

How to conduct a (fraud) risk analysis with fraud risk self‐assessment tool, and how to define effective and proportionate measures based on the outcome of that risk analysis.


Coffee Break

Session 7: Audit of Simplified Cost Options


How to Ensure Good Cooperation between Managing and Audit Authorities?


Audit of Simplified Cost Options

  • Using SCOs: Considerations for Audit Authorities
  • Implications for the audit procedure:
    Audit of methodology
  • Specific audit trail requirements
  • Compliance with eligibility rules, public procurement and State aid rules
  • Errors and irregularities in SCOs –
    how to avoid them?

Practical Exercises and Group Work on Eligibility of Costs: How to Avoid Errors and Irregularities in SCO?

Participants will work on practical exercises and will discuss different situations where SCO are being applied. Given the use of different options, participants will assess whether and why there is ground for an irregularity.


Lunch Break

Session 9: Audit of Public Procurement and State Aid


Audit Findings in State Aid and Public Procurement

  • Use of professional expert institutions in
    public procurement and State aid
  • Public procurement and State aid errors detected
    and corrected during management verifications
  • Audit findings in public procurement and State aid
  • Practical examples

Practical examples of

  • Audit findings in State aid and public procurement from the ongoing audits
  • Using Arachne when auditing public procurement

Coffee Break

Session 10: Audits by the European Court of Auditors


Audits by the European Court of Auditors

  • Financial and compliance audits
  • Performance Auditing
  • Reasons & Objectives
  • Performance audit approaches and methodologies
  • Typical audit results/Weaknesses in EU funded programmes

Case Study

A Real-life Performance Audit


End of Summer Course & Distribution of Certificates

*Programme may be subject to change.


Simon Hannah
ERDF Compliance and Quality Assurance Manager, East of England ERDF Growth Delivery Team, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Cambridge

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Exclusive Venue in Sicily

Sicily, Italy
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Summer Course | 27.05.2020 - 29.05.2020 | Sicily | Language: English

Participation Fees
Reduced fee for public authorities: € 2.230,- (excl. VAT)
Regular fee: € 2.630,- (excl. VAT)

The Italian VAT of 22% will be added.

Seating limit
The number of seats is limited. Registrations will be accepted first come, first served.

Are you a public authority?
Ticket Type Price Spaces
Financial Control and Audit of ESI Funds Now and in 2021-2027
Regular fee / Reguläre Teiulnahmegebühr
Financial Control and Audit of ESI Funds Now and in 2021-2027
Reduced fee for public authorities / Reduzierte Teilnahmegebühr für Angehörige einer Hochschule/Behörde

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Single invoices

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