The EU Assurance Team

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Our EU Assurance Team has experience with a wide range of audits:

  • Financial audits for European Institutions

    One of the main activities of the EY Centre of Excellence for the audit of EU funds (EY CoE) is to give assurance to the European Institutions on the legality, regularity and eligibility of expenditure incurred by beneficiaries of EU funding. This assurance is provided by performing financial audits at those entities receiving and benefitting from EU funds for the implementation of a wide variety of projects in many areas, from scientific research to development aid.

    Every year, several hundred financial audits are performed by EY on behalf of the European Institutions. When performing these assignments EY auditors follow a specifically-tailored audit programme based on the applicable regulations of the funding programme or financial instrument the financial statements being audited fall under.

    The objective of these financial audits is to assist the European Commission in determining whether the funds have been used in conformity with the relevant Grant Agreement conditions and whether the costs declared and paid are also in accordance with the same. Our multinational teams have been auditing EU-funded activities all around the world for more than a decade on behalf of various bodies such as DEVCO, DG Research, EEAS, DG Budget, DG REGIO and SESAR Joint Undertaking, among others.

    Furthermore, the EY CoE is also becoming increasingly involved in the performance of audits of annual accounts of EU Agencies and Joint Undertakings as the primary engagement team coordinating multiple national component teams across the European Union.

  • Systems audits

    Within our framework contracts with the European Commission, the EY CoE also carries out systems audits for organizations or projects benefitting from EU funds. Since the inception of the EY CoE, our teams have performed more than 250 of this type of audits all over the world.

    Systems audits are often performed in combination with financial audits of projects, with the objective of determining and expressing an audit opinion on whether the internal control system set up by an entity was suitably designed and operated effectively.

    Systems audits may also be performed at the level of national authorities or global organisations, whose internal control system for managing EU funds is examined.

  • First-level Control / Audit Certificates

    Given our excellent understanding of EU regulations and requirements built on extensive experience working in EU policy areas such as research and development, EY is considered to be a leading service-provider for dozens of organisations in certifying expenses incurred in EU-funded projects, before being formally reported to the European Commission.

    A contractual obligation of beneficiaries, these first-level controls generally take the form of agreed-upon procedures whereby costs incurred for a project are certified for their eligibility and regularity with the underlying contractual conditions of the project.

  • Verification missions of UN managed actions

    Also through our framework contracts with the European Commission, the EY CoE is often engaged to perform verification missions of UN entities that are entrusted with the management and devolvement of EU funds to third-parties for the implementation of UN-led development and assistance projects.

    Our assignments include a review of the design of the internal control system in place at the relevant agency and the evaluation of its operating effectiveness through a substantive testing of project transactions.

  • Pillars assessments / Institutional Compliance Assessments

    Before organisations can cooperate with the European Commission under indirect management, they must ‘pass’ a comprehensive assessment of their main operations. The institutional compliance assessment covers up to seven pillars and is performed within an assessment framework established by the commission.

    Our long-standing experience in performing pillar assessments for the European Commission — and our extensive technical knowledge in the assessment pillars — ideally positions us to help organisations during the important step of institutional compliance assessments. Over the past few years, EY has performed more than 70 organisational assessments of different types of organisations in various locations.

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  • Performance audit / Value-for-money Assessment

    Performance audits or ‘value-for-money’ audits can play a vital role in assessing whether best value for money has been achieved and can provide a degree of transparency and accountability in the use of public resources. They provide information about what money has been spent on, in which way and what the impact of an activity has been. That can help verify that money is going to the ‘right’ measure, programme or project, and that it serves its intended purpose. A performance audit will ultimately focus on assessing whether resources have been used according to the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

    The scope of a performance audit will depend on the main focus chosen: we can examine the overall operations of an entity or a selected unit, look at one activity or process, or audit at specific project. Thus, the performance audit aims to identify recommendations for improvement and produce lessons learned.

    • Auditing a longstanding recipient of grants to determine whether funding was spent in an economic, efficient and effective way EY was selected to audit an organisation which had been receiving a grant over a longer period in time. By examining various topics and activities, we could provide interesting information about the Beneficiaries’ approaches in managing the grant, from their strategy, internal control arrangements, to evaluation and performance measurement. The audit approach included desk review of documents, fieldwork at the entity, walkthrough of key processes, stakeholder survey and focus groups. This led to a number of important findings and recommendations, on the basis of which future priorities and action points could be discussed between the Commission and the beneficiary organisation.
    • Assessing value-for-money of a Rural Infrastructure Development Programme: On behalf of EuropeAid we examined selected programme elements with regard to the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness. The audit focused on the very first phase of the programme and covered areas such as programme management, procurement, monitoring and evaluation system, and programme design. Several weaknesses were identified and could be tackled to improve the programme. Moreover, our audit revealed that most workers had been paid a wage below the UN poverty threshold – and important finding in view of the fact that the programme was also designed as a reduction poverty programme.
    • Auditing a specific process at an Authority: We assessed the policy-making process by an organisation which aimed to make sure that the process was designed and implemented in efficient way, while compliant with defined rules. The performance audited demonstrated both strengths and weaknesses in the process; and fostered internal discussions on improvement.
  • Fraud examinations / Forensic Assignments

    Fraud examinations and forensic assignments: We help to combat fraud and corruption by assessing and improving the anti-fraud policies of institutions and governments. We can also detect problems, either as part of the audit process or through data analytics, and give technical support to the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) or the Directorate-General for Competition in investigating possible cases. In addition, we may perform financial audits for the European Commission which include a specific fraud-related objective.