Der österreichische Rechnungshof - Logo

Municipalities

Currently, the ACA is authorised to act independently only in municipalities with at least 10,000 inhabitants, therefore only 86 of the 2,100 Austrian municipalities.

In municipalities with at least 10,000 inhabitants, the ACA is responsible for auditing

  • financial affairs subject to the control of these municipalites,
  • the financial performance of all foundations, funds and institutions administered by institutions of the municipalities or people which are appointed by institutions of the municipalites,
  • financial management of companies

- which are run by the municipality alone or together with other legal entities subject to public auditing or

- of which the municipality alone or together with other such legal entities owns at least 50% or

- of which the municipality alone or together with other legal entities subject to public audting has de facto control through financial or other economic measures,

  • finances of public authorities operating with municipality funds.

Municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants may be audited by the ACA if requested by the provincial governments (with good reason) or by the provincial diets. Every year only two such requests can be made by a provincial government and two by a provincial diet. Such requests are only permitted for municipalities having shown a significant change in terms of debts or liabilities.

The mayors of the audited municipalities are to submit annual estimates and financial statements to the ACA and the provincial governments at the same time.

The municipalities are important partners when it comes to fulfilling state functions, especially in the dynamic expenditure areas of care, social welfare, education and childcare. They are also among the largest public investors. They adhere to the general budget responsibility as laid down in the federal constitution (Art. 13 paragraph 2 Federal Constitutional Law) and are an important partner in the Stability Pact and in fulfilling the Maastricht criteria. Since 1929, the municipalities have gained in importance, but the auditing process has not been able to keep up with the increase in activities and budget responsibility of the municipalities.  

Based on the currently available data, no reliable information can be given on the financial situation of the municipalities. The adequacy of financial flows is not apparent, control, assurance and welfare effects are not sufficiently known and a networked approach is missing.

Consolidated accounting of all municipalities using the skills of external public auditing would be helpful for the municipalities themselves to see whether expenditure and revenue from transfers match, for the municipal councils as a basis for implementing their auditing rights or to learn from benchmark comparisons, as well as for the municipal mayors, because it would make the taxes more transparent. 

This would guarantee that the  ACA and/or the laender audit institutions (according to their respective strengths) could audit and/or consult the municipalities. For the ACA it is a matter of course - not only from the point of view of efficiency - that the mandatory coordination which has been agreed between the ACA and the laender audit institutions is adhered so that duplicate audits can be eliminated.

The ACA is active as body of the laender parliaments when we audit municipal associations. These associations are made up exclusively of munipical administrative functions which have their own legal entity. They fulfil various tasks of the municipalities involved and have their own responsibility. The most important tasks of the Austrian municipa associations are the setting up and running of hospitals, schools, water supply works, sewerage systems and waste disposal, the provision of social care, local health police, citizenship and civil status matters and matters concerning health, accidents or pensions of civil servants and mayors in municipalities. The responsibility of the ACA covers all municipal associations, regardless of the size of the municipalities involved.