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The Swiss Federal Audit Office celebrates 140 years

13 / 12 / 2017

Press release

More than 150 people met on Wednesday at the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Swiss Federal Audit Office (SFAO). In addition to Federal Councillors Ueli Maurer and Ignazio Cassis, various other members of parliament were also present. Director of the SFAO, Michel Huissoud, highlighted the growing interest in the tasks which the SFAO and its staff are responsible for. Surprise guest, comedian Viktor Giacobbo lightened up the evening.

The SFAO was created on 19 February 1877 by the Federal Council. It was an account audit office and was part of the Federal Department of Finance and Customs. “Five employees dealt with the invoices of an administration which was in full development and employed around 1000 staff,” recalled Michel Huissoud. 140 years later, in the same department, the SFAO and its employees past and present, came to celebrate its anniversary.

High-flying guests filled the room

“Crises such as Mirage III and the INSIEME IT project mean our capabilities have been adapted and our procedures strengthened. We are working increasingly with Parliament, a development which has not come at the expense of government,” welcomed Michel Huissoud in the presence of Federal Councillors Ueli Maurer, Head of the FDF, and Ignazio Cassis, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Members of the Finance Delegation and the presidents of the Finance Committees and the Control Committees attended the anniversary as well.

The SFAO also presented two works published with the help of the Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics (FOBL). The first was a study made by historian Simon Rüttimann, speaker for the evening. His work explores the day-to-day life of the SFAO exactly 100 years ago during the First World War. The institution’s staff levels tripled in order to ensure that the administration’s accounts were audited as it was mobilised for a war economy. The second was an illustrated and educational chronology of the SFAO and financial monitoring from the founding of the federal state to the present day.

The Swiss Federal Audit Office in a nutshell

The SFAO is the supreme financial supervisory body of the Swiss Confederation. Accordingly it was allocated a budget of CHF 26.8 million by the Federal Parliament in 2016 to perform its tasks. Currently, the SFAO employs around 110 staff. The vast majority of its audits are published and, in 2017, these allowed the federal coffers to recover tens of millions of francs. Its next audit programme will be published in mid-January 2018.

With a preface by Prof. Matthieu Leimgruber (University of Zurich), the book by Simon Rüttimann (in German and French) and the illustrated chronology of the SFAO (in French, German, Italian and English) are available from the FOBL Federal Publications Shop. These publications are also available in PDF format on the website of the SFAO (