When is a CFS required?
A CFS is obligatory for all beneficiaries who request a contribution reaching or exceeding the threshold of 325,000 euros as reimbursement for "actual costs" and "unit costs” calculated according to the beneficiary's usual accounting practices (e.g. average personnel costs, internal invoicing) for the entire duration of the action. This applies also to linked third parties. The flat rate for indirect costs as well as other unit costs and lump sums are not counted for the threshold.
While Horizon 2020 foresees a single CFS for the whole action as a matter of principle, it is also possible to prepare one CFS per reporting period. In both cases, however, the certificate(s) may be submitted only at the end of the project (with the final report).
What will be audited?
The audit involves examining whether the actual costs and unit costs calculated according to the beneficiary's usual accounting practice declared are in compliance with the criteria of the Grant Agreement (GA). The audit is carried out according to the steps described in the "Model for the Certificate on the Financial Statements" (see below).
Costs which have already been audited by the European Commission do not have to be audited again.
Who may audit?
A CFS may be issued by any qualified auditor in Europe.
The Austrian "Kammer der SteuerberaterInnen und WirtschaftsprüferInnen" provides a search function for Austria.
What is the process for issuing a CFS?
The CFS must be issued by a qualified auditor using the Model for the Certificate on the Financial Statements (Annex 5 of the GA). Annex 5 consists of the "Terms of Reference" (model for the agreement between the participant and the auditing firm) and the model for the certificate itself. The auditor will indicate any irregularities and errors in his/her report. The EU Commission/funding agency is responsible for deciding on the consequences of the errors indicated by the auditor.
More detailed information can be found in the Annotated Grant Agreement (AGA), Article 20.4 (b) (ii).
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