Audits in Horizon Europe projects

Are you having night sweats thinking about a possible audit in your European project? Then keep reading! And if you’re still not at ease, get in touch.

Audits are like the monster in the closet that you don’t know when it will jump on you. We analysed the Grant Agreement for you and there are several procedures with different names that cover different aspects.

In a nutshell:

  • The EU has the right to carry out the controls outlined in Article 25 of the Grant Agreement (GA) and you have the obligation to comply;
  • It can happen during the implementation or after the end of the project but you will always be notified in advance;
  • don’t confuse the Audit Certificate on the Financial Statement – CFS (read the entire article dedicated to this topic) with other procedures performed by the EC such as checks, reviews and financial audits.

For more clarity, the table below might help:

Certificate on the Financial Statement  (CFS) Check Review Audit by OLAF¹, EPPO², ECA³

audits and investigations

What? Mandatory for grants over 430 000€ Case-by-case to check the proper implementation and compliance with the obligations under the Agreement.
Who? The Auditor that the Beneficiary chooses. Led by the Granting Authority. Led by the Granting Authority with outside expert hired by the EC. Led by the Granting Authority with external audit firm hired by the EC. Led by the OLAD, EPPO, or ECA.
When? During the project; this must be submitted as part of the project’s final report. Can start during project implementation or after the end of the project.

The Authority usually has up to two years after the last payment for EIC projects (double check the time limit in your GA).

How? EU does not intervene. The beneficiary has to start the CFS when appropriate. The beneficiary will receive official notification.
Subject Expenses justified in the grant and complying with HE reporting rules. Assessing costs and contributions, deliverables and reports. General project reviews or specific issues reviews, especially technical, technological, scientific. Especially financial information.
Method Remote or onsite. Meetings, onsite visits. Meetings, onsite visits. Access to sites and premises for on-the-spot visits or inspections.
Documentation Any information on costs charged to the project. Precise and complete and in the format requested, including electronic format. Any information (including complete accounts, individual salary statements or other personal data). Full, accurate and complete information in the format requested (including complete accounts, individual salary statements or other personal data, including in electronic format).
Consequences of non-compliance Rejection of costs or costs can be capped to reflect the CFS threshold. Can lead among to reduction of the grant, recovery of undue amounts and administrative sanctions.

Can also lead to consequences in other EU grants meaning extending this verification to your other grants.

¹the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), ²the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), ³the European Court of Auditors (ECA)

If you would like us to review your project costs to make sure they meet all the HE rules, we’ll be glad to support you. Tell us more at