The International Board of Auditors for NATO (IBAN) - established in 1953 - is an independent audit body of six members - including also a Hungarian member until 2014 - reporting to the North Atlantic Council (NAC). An international staff of twenty-one auditors and nine administrative support personnel assist the Board in its work. The Board is responsible for financial and performance audits of NATO bodies and the NATO Security Investment Programme (NSIP).
According to its Charter defining the rules of operation, the primary objective of the audits of the Board is to provide sufficient information for the NAC and the Governments of Member Countries on whether NATO bodies and concerned national institutions have properly used common funds for the settlement of authorised expenditure.
The professional relation between the State Audit Office of Hungary (SAO) and the Board has already started before Hungary's NATO membership (1999). The Chairman of the Board invited the SAO delegation for the first time in 1997 to visit NATO headquarters to get acquainted with the work of IBAN.
Representatives of the SAO responsible for defence auditing have been regularly participating in trainings organised by IBAN for its own audit staff. These events have provided opportunity to better understand the financial and performance audit methods and procedures applied by the IBAN.
SAO staff members and representatives of concerned bodies had the chance to become acquainted more extensively with the professional work of the highly respected Board in the course of seminars organised at the State Audit Office of Hungary and at the relevant institution of the Hungarian Army in the years of 1999, 2000 and 2002. Within the framework of these events, representatives of IBAN presented the methodology and practice applied during agency financial audits and audits concerning the NATO Security Investment Programme. There was an audit carried out in 2001 and 2002 on development projects implemented in Hungary under the framework of the NATO Security Investment Programme. This audit served as practical testing of the acquired knowledge and experiences.
The co-operation at institutional level has started in 1999 between the two institutions. The SAO - similarly to the SAIs of countries that joined the Alliance earlier - regularly takes part in the Board's professional events and in meetings of the competent national audit bodies evaluating the activities of the Board annually.
In 2000, a high-level SAO delegation headed by the President paid a visit to the Chairman of the Board in Brussels, and in 2004 the President of the SAO welcomed the IBAN delegation led by the Chairman of the Board. These visits also provided opportunity for defining the main principles of further professional co-operation.
The system of professional co-operation between the Supreme Audit Institutions of NATO countries becomes complete with the Defence Audit Seminar organised on a regular basis. The aim of these series of event is to provide a platform for processing actual issues of defence audit, having discussion on technical defence audit methods of mutual interest, and exchanging relevant experiences. Due to the confidence of the SAIs of NATO Member Countries, it was an honour for the SAO of Hungary to organise - for the first time among the new Member Countries of the Alliance - the 2003 Defence Audit Seminar in Budapest. In the framework of this event, the main priority was placed on the audit of military expenditures in circumstances of peace and war.