The Bundesrechnungshof is the supreme federal authority for federal audit
The general definition of an audit is an evaluation of a person, organization, system, process, enterprise, project or product. The term most commonly refers to audits in accounting, but similar concepts also exist in project management, quality management, and energy conservation.- Accounting...
matters in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
. There are equivalent bodies at state
States of Germany
Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...
level. The status of the Bundesrechnungshof, its members and its essential functions are guaranteed by the German Constitution (art. 114 paragraph 2 of the Basic Law
Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany
The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is the constitution of Germany. It was formally approved on 8 May 1949, and, with the signature of the Allies of World War II on 12 May, came into effect on 23 May, as the constitution of those states of West Germany that were initially included...
), and regulated by other legislation (i.e. Bundesrechnungshof Act, Federal Budget Code). It is an independent judicial body, with around 600 employees.
RoleThe Bundesrechnungshof examines the financial management of the federal government, its various property funds and state-owned companies, carrying out sample audits of revenue and expenditure totalling over 500 billion Euros. Its audit mandate also covers social security
Social security is primarily a social insurance program providing social protection or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment and others. Social security may refer to:...
institutions and the activities of the federal government in private-law enterprises of which it is a shareholder. This includes areas such as defence, roadworks, taxation, and the federal government's activity as a minority shareholder of the formerly nationalised railways, post, and phone companies (Deutsche Bahn
Deutsche Bahn AG is the German national railway company, a private joint stock company . Headquartered in Berlin, it came into existence in 1994 as the successor to the former state railways of Germany, the Deutsche Bundesbahn of West Germany and the Deutsche Reichsbahn of East Germany...
AG, Deutsche Post
Deutsche Post AG, operating under the trade name Deutsche Post DHL, is the world's largest logistics group. With its headquarters in Bonn, the corporation has 467,088 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide and generated revenue of € 51.48 billion in 2010...
AG and Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom AG is a telecommunications company headquartered in Bonn, Germany. It is the largest telecommunications company in Europe....
The Bundesrechnungshof makes recommendations on the basis of its audit experience and provides advice to the audited bodies, to the German Parliament and the Federal Government. Its consulting activities have steadily increased and set out significant recommendations for quality improvement, pointing out the potential for savings or increases in revenue.
The Bundesrechnungshof reports on its audit findings in management letters which are sent to the audited bodies for comment. In addition the Bundesrechnungshof submits an annual report ("Observations") to both Houses of the German Parliament, the Bundestag
The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...
and the Bundesrat, as well as to the Federal Government. The annual report is also used as a basis for Parliament authorising the Federal Government's budget. The annual report is presented to the public at a federal press conference. The Bundesrechnungshof may at any time submit special reports on matters of major significance to both Houses of Parliament, and to the Federal Government.
The Bundesrechnungshof provides advice to the executive and legislative branches by including recommendations for improvement in its management letters and annual reports, as well as by commenting - orally or in writing - on topical issues such as government bills and major procurement projects, or in the course of the annual budget procedure.
By virtue of legislation regarding German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...
, the Bundesrechnungshof's new headquarters were transferred from Frankfurt am Main to Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....
, effective 1 July 2000. The Bundesrechnungshof also has a branch office in Potsdam
Potsdam is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg and part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, southwest of Berlin city centre....
HistoryIn 1989 the Bundesrechnungshof hosted XIII INCOSAI, the thirteenth triennial convention of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions
International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions
The International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions is a worldwide affiliation of governmental entities. Its members are the Chief Financial Controller/Comptroller General Offices of nations.INTOSAI was founded in 1953 in Havana, Cuba...