Audit reports
You are here: Home / Audit reports / Products / Annual Reports / 2019 / Preface / 2019 Annual audit report - Preface

Document Actions

2019 Annual audit report - Preface

Graphic - Annual Report 2019

Kay Scheller
Dear readers,

The German constitution stipulates that the federal government and all federal bodies are accountable for their decisions and actions. Granting discharge to the government is a central element of parliamentary control over the performance of the executive branch and underpins the separation of powers doctrine.

Our annual report on the government’s financial and commercial management provides a cornerstone of the discharge procedure. What budget funds have been used in violation of applicable regulations or inefficiently? What funds due has the government failed to collect? These are the cases we study and insert into our annual report if they are of relevance for the discharge procedure. Another part of our report presents our findings on the government’s annual financial accounts and an assessment of the trends in federal public finances, which means the sustainability of public funds over a mid-term period.

Our annual report provides recommendations on how to overcome shortcomings or to use budget funds more efficiently and effectively. This said, we do not only promote regularity, compliance and efficiency of government operations, but also ensure transparency. Our findings on government action also inform the general public and help shape the public opinion to shore up trust in the federal government and its capacity to act.

To live up to our responsibility, we need to define the audit scope of our audit matters and collect appropriate audit evidence. To do so, we also need to be vested with all rights and powers to investigate the matters we have selected for audit work in full and in depth. This also includes the use of public funds outside the federal government level.

Government departments have the duty to report to us on how they steer and monitor public shareholdings. We found major governance shortcomings when studying the German railways for example. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure in charge often reported to us with delay or not at all.

We also noted with concern that the Federal Ministry of Finance did not enough regarding the €7 billion financial assistance package launched to help ailing local governments. The Ministry should do more to monitor more carefully, consistently and comprehensively whether the federal states and local governments have used the funds for the intended purposes. With the Ministry failing to do so, it tolerates any improper use of funds remaining undetected and financial grants not having the desired effect.

The 2019 annual report also delves into other issues such as IT (security, systems, processes and the use of apps), defence procurement, federal civil service allowances, transport infrastructure (rail and road), tax revenue shortfalls and other fiscal and financial administration tasks.

The Public Accounts Committee, a sub-committee of parliament's Budget Committee, is set to deliberate on our 2019 annual report in the months to come. As a result of these deliberations, parliament usually adopts a resolution urging the government to implement our recommendations.

Our 2019 annual report will also be published in the official records of the German parliament. It is also available to download from

Bonn, December 2019

Kay Scheller

President of the Bundesrechnungshof


© 2020 Bundesrechnungshof