EC Audit in H2020 – how to survive?
Ready, steady, go – It´s EC audit time!
All right, so this is a topic that nobody likes to think about. Some say it is like preparing for a PhD exam, others say it is like a difficult job interview. Any of these similies are valid and no-one says it is easy – but the good news is you will survive.
You are receiving public money and audits are part of the game. Better to play by the rules from the very beginning!
What types of audits might happen in relation to your EU grant?
On one hand, the EU Commission has the right to perform reviews or audits to verify the proper implementation of your project during the project or afterwards, up to the time limit established in your Grant Agreement. These audits can focus either on the technical implementation or the financial compliance with your Grant Agreement.
On the other hand, an audit certificate on the Financial Statement must be submitted by default for each beneficiary and linked third party that requests more than €325,000 in EU grants. This audit certificate would be issued by an external audit firm, selected by you.
Any claimed costs found to be ineligible will be rejected and deducted from your payments.
If systematic errors are found, the Commission may extend the findings of the audit to non-audited grant agreements too. Besides these corrections, other measures may be taken, including financial and administrative penalties.
Prevention is better than curing – we cannot repeat this enough
The rules must be followed since the very beginning of the project, your files must be well organized and archived. Calculations must be in line with the directives of the EU Commission and everything must be properly reported.
The preparation of the audit documentation is time-consuming, so don´t leave it for tomorrow.
Do not think it will not happen to you
The EC might send you an invitation letter for audit at any moment, but do not panic – you can always forward it to email@example.com and ask for our help.