Do I need an auditor?

All enterprises that are obliged to submit audited annual accounts must have a public auditor. Whether or not you are subject to the audit obligation will partly depend on your organisational form and the size of the enterprise.


Some sectors are subject to the audit obligation through specific rules. Any enterprise operating in a sector supervised by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway are required to have an auditor, regardless of the legal structure of the enterprise.

An audit is a review of accounts to check they are in order. If the enterprise is subject to the audit obligation, you must ask an firm to perform this audit. After completing the audit, the auditor must prepare an audit report which must be submitted along with the annual accounts to the Register of Company Accounts. Any remarks which the auditor wishes to make must be stated in this audit report.

Auditing and Auditors Act on the audit obligation (in Norwegian only)

The auditor must not have any links with the enterprise other than being its auditor. The Auditor Act imposes strict requirements on independence. For example, if you have a brother who is an auditor, he will not be able to act as auditor for your enterprise.

Finanstilsynet's registry

Auditing and Auditors Act on auditor’s disclosure obligations (in Norwegian only)

Audit obligation and exemption to the audit obligation

Opting out of auditing

Opting out of auditing by new limited companies

If no auditor is appointed in the memorandum of association, the annual accounts are not to be audited. In these cases, the new company is considered to have opted out of audits.

Opting out of auditing by existing limited companies

If a private limited company is considering opting out of audits, the previous annual accounts will be used as a basis for the assessment. If the annual accounts show that the limited company is below the thresholds, the general meeting may decide that the annual accounts need not be audited, and that the company can terminate the auditor's assignment. Opting out of auditing must be reported using the "Coordinated register notification" form in Altinn, and will be valid once it has been registered in the Register of Business Enterprises.

Limited Liability Companies Act on opting out of auditing (in Norwegian only)

The Brønnøysund Register Centre – Waiving audit

Regulations on threshold values for deciding to opt out of auditing following the Limited companies Act (in Norwegian only)

Parent companies in groups

Private limited companies which are a parent company in a group can opt not to have their annual accounts audited when the conditions are met for the group viewed as a single entity.

In order to be considered a parent company, you must have a controlling influence in another company, either as the owner of shares or holdings or through an agreement.

Limited Liability Companies Act - definition of group (in Norwegian only)

Example

Eksempelbedriften AS was founded in 2016. During its first years of operation, the company had revenues of less than NOK 6 million and otherwise satisfied the requirements for being able to opt out of auditing. They selected this option and opted out of auditing the annual accounts.

In 2018, they received an extraordinarily large order and had revenues of NOK 7 million for that year. This meant they had a statutory audit obligation for the following year, i.e. 2019.

In 2019, they had turnover of NOK 4 million, but still had to audit the accounts because the accounts from the previous year (2018) were used as a basis.

In 2020 they again reported that they would be opting out of auditing because revenues for 2019 were below the threshold.

Sole proprietorships are not normally subject to the audit obligation. The obligation to have the accounts audited arise when the enterprise is obligated to submit annual accounts, and one of the following conditions are met:

  • Sales revenue of more than NOK 6 million
  • Balance sheet showing assets of more than NOK 23 million, or
  • Average number of employees of more than 10 full-time equivalents

When the thresholds are passed and the enterprise becomes subject to the audit obligation, the obligation will be triggered during the next financial year.

Sole proprietorships under supervision from the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway are obligated to have their accounts audited. The same applies for legal firms registered as general partnership.

Auditing and Auditors Act on the audit obligation (in Norwegian only)

The Brønnøysund Register Centre – Who has accounting obligation?

When the thresholds are passed and the enterprise becomes subject to the audit obligation, the obligation will be triggered during the next financial year.

General partnerships under supervision from the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway are obligated to have their accounts audited. The same applies for legal firms registered as general partnership.

Auditing and Auditors Act on the audit obligation (in Norwegian only)

The Brønnøysund Register Centre – Who has accounting obligation?

Co-operatives become subject to the audit obligation when their operating revenues during the previous year amount to NOK 5 million or more.

  • Sales revenue of more than NOK 6 million
  • Balance sheet showing assets of more than NOK 23 million, or
  • Average number of employees of more than 10 full-time equivalents

When the thresholds are passed and the enterprise becomes subject to the audit obligation, the obligation will be triggered during the next financial year.

Auditing and Auditors Act on the audit obligation (in Norwegian only)

The Brønnøysund Register Centre – Who has accounting obligation?

Example

Fellesblomster SA was established in 2018. During its first year, the co-operative recorded income of NOK 3.5 million. The threshold for audit obligation was NOK 5 million (as of 1 January 2021 – 6 million). Therefore, the cooperation does not have an audit obligation.

In 2019, they receive a large order and their income increases to NOK 6.5 million. The threshold for the audit obligation is exceeded. This means that the co-operative will be subject to the audit obligation in the following year (2020).

In 2020, the co-operative's income falls to NOK 4.5 million. The audit obligation no longer applies as of 2021, since the sales revenue is under the threshold.

NUFs which are liable to pay taxes to Norway will be subject to the audit obligation when one of the following conditions are met:

  • Sales revenue of more than NOK 6 million
  • Balance sheet showing assets of more than NOK 23 million, or
  • Average number of employees of more than 10 full-time equivalents
The obligation to have the accounts audited may also arise from specific statutory requirements or regulations.

When is the audit obligation triggered and when does it lapse?

When the thresholds are passed and the enterprise becomes subject to the audit obligation, the obligation will be triggered during the next financial year.

Auditing and Auditors Act on the audit obligation (in Norwegian only)

The Brønnøysund Register Centre – Who has accounting obligation?

Audit confirmations

Be advised that even if your enterprise are not under an obligation to have the annual accounts audited, certain events may require a certification from an auditor ("audit confirmation").

For example, the Companies Act requires an auditor to confirm the invested capital in a private limited company if the share contribution is made in the form of non-cash assets. This applies both to the foundation of the limited company and any subsequent increase in capital. Various support schemes may also require audit confirmation.

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