County authority accounts

Updated: 15 March 2024

Next update: 17 June 2024

Net operating surplus as a percentage of total gross operating revenue
Net operating surplus as a percentage of total gross operating revenue
Financial key figures, national figures exlusive Oslo
Financial key figures, national figures exlusive Oslo1
Net operating surplus as a percentage of gross operating revenues (per cent)
Annual accumulated surplus/deficit as a percentage of gross operating revenues0.00.00.0
Working capital excl. pension premium deviation as a percentage of gross operat21.422.119.7
Net interest rate exposure as a percentage of gross operating revenues (per cent29.029.233.5
Net loan debt as a percentage of gross operating revenues (per cent)
Unrestricted revenues per capita (NOK)15 63915 88616 293
Free equity operational account (per cent)15.816.115.3
Gross investment expenditures as a percentage of gross operating revenues (per c19.921.520.0
Self-investment financing as a percentage of total gross investment expenditures59.665.261.5
1Breake in time series between 2019 and 2020 due to comprehensive change in the regional classification.
2The figures for the last published year is preliminary between 15. March and 15. June.
Explanation of symbols

About the statistics

County authority accounts show the total revenues and expenditures of the counties. The accounts represented in these statistics comprise of operational accounts, capital accounts and balance sheet accounts. The statistics provide relevant information about the county authorities’ financial activities and financial situation.

Working capital

The county authority accounts is a working capital oriented account, whereby the operational accounts shows both the acquirement and application of funds. The working capital is the difference between liquid assets and short-term liabilities. The county authority accounts therefore shows the capability of the county to pay-off both the short- and long term debts.

Modified accrual basis principle

A fundamental principle of the county authority accounts is that the accounts are kept on a modified accrual basis. All known revenues and expenditures in the period must be included in the accounts for the concerning years, whether they are paid or not at the accounts closure. The time of payment is not significant for the accounts, but the time of acquisition and use.

Yearly county authority accounts

The yearly county authority accounts are the basics for the statistics, which is included in this publication. This includes operating accounts, capital accounts and balance sheets accounts.

Operating account

The operating account includes revenues and expenditures, and also includes repayment etc.

Capital account
The capital account includes investment expenditures and shows how these are financed by use of loans and other means of investment.

Balance sheet account
The balance sheet accounts show a summary of property (current and fixed assets) and debt and net capital (short-term debt, long-term debt, net capital and memorandum accounts). In the balance account, the counter sector will also be stated.

Account category
The account category divides the operational, capital and balance sheet accounts. Category 1 and 3 states the operational account, category 0 an 4 states the capital account and category 2 and 5 states the balance sheet account.

Function states which objective revenues and expenditures are according to, for instance administration, secondary education and dental health care. See Codelist for Accounting functions for a complete list of the functions in use.

Types define different expenses and revenues. They consist of these main categories:

-Social expenditure
-Purchase of goods and services included in county service production
-Purchase of goods and services replacing county service production
-Financial expenditure/financial transactions

-Sales revenues
-Grants subject to return service
-Government and other grants not subject to return service
-Financial expenditure/financial transactions

The classification by type also includes types that are meant to specify transactions between counties and county associated companies and inter-county companies. The objective with these types is to consolidate between the purchase and sale internally between counties and county units with separate consolidated accounts.

See Codelist for KOSTRA accounting types and balance post for a complete list of the types in use.

Name: County authority accounts
Topic: Public sector

17 June 2024

Division for Public Finance.

Data is published for all the counties including the average figures for county groups, and the country with and without Oslo.

Preliminary figures are published on the 15. of March. Audited figures are published on the 15. of June in KOSTRA.

Accounting figures for counties are included in General government revenue and expenditure, reported to Eurostat, IMF and OECD.

Collected and revised data are stored securely by Statistics Norway in compliance with applicable legislation on data processing.

Statistics Norway can grant access to the source data (de-identified or anonymised microdata) on which the statistics are based, for researchers and public authorities for the purposes of preparing statistical results and analyses. Access can be granted upon application and subject to conditions. Refer to the details about this at Access to data from Statistics Norway.

The statistics give a detailed overview of the county authorities' financial situation based on the accounting figures. It also shows the development of the economic situation both over time and by comparisons among the counties and its counterparts.

Data about the county authorities' finances are published in NOS Local Government in the Rural and Urban Municipalities of Norway from 1866-1874, and from 1875-1883 in NOS Statistics on Norway's Municipal Finances, and from 1884-1907 in NOS Municipal Finances. Further from 1908-1961 the figures are published in NOS Norway's Municipal Finances. In 1966 and 1971 the municipal accounts were published in NOS Municipal Accounts. From 1974-1995 the municipal accounts were published in NOS Structural Figures for Municipal Finances. Municipal accounting figures for 1996 and 1997 are published in NOS Key Figures for Municipalities and boroughs. NOS Municipality Accounts gives account data for this period.

The ministry of Local Government and Regional Development is the assignment-giver (authority) for the publication of the county authority accounts statistics.

The statistics is important in providing governing information regarding the county authorities' economical activities to politicians, state authorities and to the municipalities. In Statistics Norway the statistics are incorporated in the national accounts and the financial sector balance sheets.

External users are e.g. municipalities and county authorities, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Health and care services, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, the Ministry of Education and Research Affairs, and the Technical Reporting Committee on Local Government Finances, in addition to research institutions, media and others.

No external users have access to statistics before they are released at 8 a.m. on after at least three months’ advance notice in the release calendar. This is one of the most important principles in Statistics Norway for ensuring the equal treatment of users.

Data from county authority accounts are assembled in KOSTRA with service data and key figures and show county authority priorities, coverage, productivity and other enhanced service data.

In addition the county authority accounts in "converted form" is applied in the National accounts and financial sector account balances. The development of the counties economy is also influenced by the organisational changes such as we have seen in the previous years by the different forms of establishments of associated companies (FKF) and inter-county companies. The statistics for county authority accounts must therefore be seen in relation to the statistics for the consolidated accounts.

Consolidated accounts consist of county authority accounts, county consolidated company accounts and inter-county company accounts.

Inter-county company accounts was included in KOSTRA from 2003.


The statistics comprises all the county authorities, including annual accounts from county authority companies.

The statistics is published in different levels and categories of all expenditures, revenues including the financing of the organisations. Oslo is responsible for both the municipality and county municipality tasks.

The individual county authority's annual accounts (appropriation accounts and balance sheets) with inclusion of county consolidated accounts and inter-county company accounts.

The statistic is based on the principle of total counting.

Data is reported electronically to Statistics Norway through a file extract from the county authorities and associated companies. The deadline for reporting is 22 of February.

Editing is defined here as checking, examining and amending data. The data is controlled online before submission to Statistics Norway with the help of an online control program designed to counter check the accounting file-extract for any deviations. In case of any deviations, the file must be corrected by the respondents ( municipalities) before it is finally accepted and registered.

Additional checks are further carried out internally in Statistics Norway. These are checks to ensure there are figures for important activities which have been assigned to the county authorities by legislation. In addition the figures are checked against figures from the previous year. Similar rough checks are also carried out on the balance sheet accounts. If large or many deviations are found, the respondent is contacted and asked to submit a new corrected accounting report.


The data is published in different levels i.e basic figures and indicators. Basic figures are the absolute figures given in 1000 kroner and published in different aggregated levels. The indicators on the other hand are ratio figures calculated using the aggregated basic data compared to each other or to the inhabitant figures.

The indicators also show the average figures for the different regions and the country as a whole.

The national average shows figures with and without Oslo. The reason is because Oslo's figures comprises of both the municipality and county municipality, thus making it incomparable.

If there are non-responsive county authorities, the average figures for aggregated regions are estimated by imputing the figures reported last year from the non-responsive county authorities.

Not applicable.

Employees of Statistics Norway have a duty of confidentiality.

Statistics Norway does not publish figures if there is a risk of the respondent’s contribution being identified. This means that, as a general rule, figures are not published if fewer than three units form the basis of a cell in a table or if the contribution of one or two respondents constitutes a very large part of the cell total.

Statistics Norway can make exceptions to the general rule if deemed necessary to meet the requirements of the EEA agreement, if the respondent is a public authority, if the respondent has consented to this, or when the information disclosed is openly accessible to the public.

More information can be found on Statistics Norway’s website under Methods in official statistics, in the ‘Confidentiality’ section.

There is a breakage in time series between 2019 and 2020 due to comprehensive change in the regional classification.

The Local Government Act was revised in 2019 and there were some alterations of the chart of accounts, but for the most of the variables, there are similar definitions backward to 2001 which was the first year all county authorities reported to KOSTRA. Figures before and after 2001 are not directly comparable. Further back, it was a large change in the regulations in 1991, so that figures from before and after 1991 are also not directly comparable.

The controlling of the published preliminary figures March 15th, are only done by electronic controls. These controls do not find all the errors and there can be errors in the published preliminary figures March 15th. When publishing edited figures June 15th, controls are made by both Statistics Norway and the municipalities themselves.

The publication gives very detailed information, and the controls done by Statistics Norway do not cover all details, so errors can still occur.

Partial non-response occurs. The reporting of county authority accounts is based on the principle of total counting, but there will always be considerable defections when Statistics Norway publishes preliminary figures March 15th. Publication of audited figures 15th of June produce some defections but considerable less than publication of the preliminary figures. In the publication of 15th March the defection rate can be about 30 per cent, but in June the defection rate is normally less than 2 per cent.

Preliminary figures for 2023 comprises of all the 10 county authorities exclusive Oslo and 13 county authority consolidated company accounts and inter-county company accounts.

To get a better estimation for the aggregated regional figures, data for the non-response county authorities are calculated.

A revision is a planned change to figures that have already been published, for example when releasing final figures as a follow-up to published preliminary figures. See also Statistics Norway’s principles for revisions.

Preliminary figures publication is 15. March in KOSTRA . Audited figures publication is 15. Juni in KOSTRA.