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Finance Helpdesk Newsletter #30

Upcoming Financial Workshops

Finance Helpdesk Helpline

Auditing Subcontractors

Risk based audits

Audits Targeting Fraud

Ombudsman opens public consultation on Commission's late payment problems



Upcoming Open Workshops:

18/02/2010 – 2 Day Marie Curie Financial Workshop in Brussels, Belgium.

22/02/2010 – 3 Day in-depth FP7 Financial Workshop in London-Heathrow, UK


The Finance Helpdesk would be pleased to come and hold a targeted workshop for your organisation.

Please contact us to request a workshop, discuss dates and prices, or to receive more information.


Finance Helpdesk Helpline:

The Finance Helpdesk accountants are standing by and ready to answer any FP7 financial questions that you may have.

This service is Free of Charge.

To ask us a question, please ensure that you are registered with the website. Helpline questions can be submitted here. We try to answer any questions we receive within 3 Days.

If you have not received an answer from us, please ensure that your mail server has not filtered our answer as "junk"

Note: Information that is sent to us via the helpline is held in confidence. The questions may be made anonymous and added to the Website Financial info and FAQs.


Auditing Subcontractors:

Article II.7 of the Grant Agreement deals with Subcontracting.


One of the conditions for use of subcontractors is that "the beneficiary must ensure that the subcontractor can be audited by the Commission or the Court of Auditors" (Guide to Financial Issues relating to FP7 Indirect Actions Version 02/04/2009 – page 26)


Until last year, even though the provision was there, the Commission did not audit subcontractors – unless there were special circumstances.

Now however, things are changing and the Commission has started to audit Subcontractors.


To view the Finance Helpdesk leaflet on the use of subcontractors in FP7 press here.


Risk based audits:

One of the mechanisms the Commission uses for flagging an organisation as requiring an external audit is via a Risk based method.

This method targets the following organisations:

·          Those that are heavily dependent upon EU funding;

·          Where overall assessment of the Organisation is worrying

Data mining tools are also used to determine "high risk" organisations.

The Commission has found that the use of Risk based audits works really well in finding mistakes/fraud.


Audits Targeting Fraud:

The Commission is targeting organisations/personnel suspected of fraudulent activities – “intentional deception made for personal gain."

In particular audits have been looking for:

·          Double Funding

·          Virtual People

·          Misrepresentation

·          Manipulation of personnel costs – mostly via timesheets

Be Warned.


Ombudsman opens public consultation on Commission's late payment problems:

The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has invited individuals, companies, NGOs, associations and other interested persons to participate in a public consultation concerning the European Commission's late payment problems.

During the current investigation into the Commission's late payment problems, the Commission announced new measures to improve the situation, such as stricter time limits and an increased use of lump sum payments.

In the Ombudsman's view, the Commission has, during the past few years, made progress in this front. Further improvements could, however, be envisaged. Before any further steps are taken, the Ombudsman is keen to receive feedback from concerned parties about what the Commission can and should, in their view, do further to reduce late payments.


Note: the aim of the public consultation is not to solve individual late payment cases. Such cases can be submitted to the Ombudsman as individual complaints, using the on-line form available on the Ombudsman’s website.


Contributions to this public consultation may be submitted by 31 March 2010 in any of the 23 official languages.

The Ombudsman's invitation to submit comments is available at:




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