Marja Lemne.
Marja Lemne.

Abstract

The professional profiles of the Auditors-General have gained scarce attention in scholarly work. Yet, these profiles may have major consequences for the choices that are made at the Supreme Audit institution (SAI), for example in terms of audit approaches. This article builds on the case of the Swedish National Audit Office (SNAO). In Sweden, there is no public list of qualifications for the appointment of the Auditor-General and no access is provided to the details of the appointment process. Therefore, we have chosen to explore changes with regard to what competences are given priority, by examining how the profiles of the first ten Auditors at the Swedish National Audit Office (SNAO) have changed. The study covers the period 2003–2015. The review shows that the profile has changed from that of a specialist to that of a generalist and that qualifications generally have increased. Five explanations are outlined, based on an overview of the history of the SNAO. The SNAO has been subjected to heavy criticism over the years, including disclosures in 2016, leading to the resignation of all three Auditors-general. Findings indicate that this may be a reason for the increasing demands. This may, however, also indicate a more general change of discourse in state audit, where focus is shifted from autonomy issues to issues of quality and competence.

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