With the current programming period a number of changes and new instruments in the area of financial control and audit of ESI Funds have been introduced. A stronger control regime was established, aimed to prevent and detect irregularities and fraud at all stages. New regulations and requirements as well as some “old” issues can be challenging for professionals dealing with 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 method, handling 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.