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Brussels, 16 March 2005

Transparent, accurate and modern – the new EU accounting system

This year witnessed the introduction of a new and improved accounting system for the European Commission, marking a great step forward for precise, transparent and up-to-date accounting of income and expenditure. European taxpayers expect no less, and the new system of Accrual Based Accounting, or ABAC, will deliver what they seek.

ABAC represents a great advance in several respects. Information fed into the EU’s general accounts, which include not only cash transactions but also assets, debts and liabilities will be intergated into a single system. These accounts are distinct from the budgetary accounts, which log financial transactions as they happen (cash based accounting.)

ABAC will bring the Commission into line with International Public Sector Accounting Standards or IPSAS. Computer systems will be enhanced to integrate existing functions, introduce new ones and improve security.

This process is part of a wider drive to introduce cultural change across the Commission’s administrative structure.

The beneficiaries from this reform fall into three camps:

Tax Payers

The taxpayer can rest assured that:

  • tighter control over all transactions limits the scope for errors, and enables early detection of discrepancies or attempts at fraud
  • management of EU funds will be more transparent
  • use of public money will be better monitored.

Financial managers

Managers will benefit from:

  • the ability to identify all financial relations with a particular beneficiary
  • better tools for managing multi-annual programmes
  • an integrated invoice registration and payment system (single workflow)
  • comprehensive follow-up of debts, liabilities and assets.

Financial Controllers

The bodies controlling EU accounts – the Court of Auditors, European Parliament and the Council – will see their task greatly facilitated by:

  • an integrated accounting system allowing easy checks, proper monitoring and control on all transactions
  • the ability to retrieve current and complete reports with a strongly reduced risk of error
  • the capacity to compare the Commission’s accounting system with other national and international organisations that use accrual-based accounting.

Please find further information on the new system at

and on the management of the EU budget at:

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