Public Finance Challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Responses of the State Audit Office

Civic Review· VOL 17. Special Issue, 2021, 26–40., DOI: 10.24307/psz.2021.0003

László Domokos PhD, Honorary University Professor, President of the State Audit Office of Hungary (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


Measures introduced worldwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have brought with them the potential for a crisis to develop. A crisis, by its nature, will pose a challenge to all of us. However, a challenge will also create opportunities to implement a qualitative change. This article presents the challenges the State Audit Office has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of its day-to-day work and when analysing the effects of the pandemic. Restrictions on personal contacts have induced organizational changes and integrity risks have increased. In response to these challenges, organizational changes have taken place, covering aspects such as work organization and digitalisation. The State Audit Office has introduced new types of audits to increase audit coverage, thereby contributing to a reduction in increased risks of corruption, and thus to the functioning of a well-governed state. The SAO has produced an increased number of analyses on public finance to serve as a basis for its advisory activities intended to help achieve the goals of the Government. In budget management, the concept of resilience had to be reinterpreted and the aim of ensuring fiscal balance had to be subordinated to the financing of measures to strengthen the resilience of the economy as a whole. A new challenge is posed by the fact that, concurrently to efforts for restarting the economy, steps must also be made to consolidate the balance of the budget.

Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) codes: H61, H70, H10, H12, O30
Keywords: challenge, digitalisation, counselling, resilience