County authority accounts
Updated: 15 June 2021
Next update: 15 March 2022
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.
The municipalities and county municipalities in Norway use a financially-oriented accounting system in accordance to the local goverment act. The municipality accounts is a working capital oriented account, whereby the operational accounts shows both the acquirement and application of funds. The working capital is the differance between liquid assets and short-term liabilties. The municipality accounts therefore shows the capability of the municipalities to pay-off both the short- and long term debts.
A fundamental principle of the municipal 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.
The municipal accounts are kept according to the Local Government Act and the municipal Account regulations. These regulations give detailed information of what to include in each type of revenue- and expenditure.
The yearly municipal accounts are the basics for the statistics, which is included in this publication.
This includes operating accounts, capital accounts and balance sheets accounts.
The operating account includes revenues and expenditures, and also includes repayment etc.
The capital account includes investment expenditures and shows how these are financed by use of loans and other means of investment.
The balance sheet account includes assets, equity and liabilities.
Operational accounts are specified according to account category, function and type. The account category divides the operational and capital accounts. Function states which objective revenues and expenditures are according to, for instance administration, kindergarten, primary school, childcare and wastewater. There are about 70 functions for municipalities and the same number for the counties.
The classifications of types is similar for municipalities and county municipalities. They consist of these main categories:
-Purchase of goods and services included in municipal service production
-Purchase of goods and services replacing municipal service production
-Financial expenditure/financial transactions
-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 county/municipalities and county/municipality associated companies and inter-municipal companies. The objective with these types is to consolidate between the purchase and sale internally between county/municipalities and municipal units with separate consolidated accounts.
Balance sheet accounts show a summary of property (current and fixed assets) and debt and net capital (short-term debt, long-tem debt, net capital and memorandum accounts) In the balance account, the counter sector will also be stated.
Overviews of the municipality functions, kinds and balance account is available only in Norwegian at:
Accounting definitions: The individual functions is subdivided into every service/activity areas and the individual types is aggregated to different definitions of revenues and expenditures.
Statistics Norway has classified all the 357 municipalities (2020) into 17 categories, by number of inhabitants and economic external conditions. The classification of municipalities is described by Kringlebotten and Langørgen in Rapporter 2020/48 (only in Norwegian) by Statistics Norway.
The 11 county municipalities are categorised in 6 regional groups, where Oslo is a group on its own.
Name: County authority accounts
Topic: Public sector
Division for Public Finance
Municipalities- Data is published for all the municipalities including the average figures for municipality groups, county municipalities and the country with or without Oslo.
County municipalities- Data is published for all the county municipalities, including average figures for the regions and the country with or without oslo.
Urban districts- Data is published for all the urban Districts including their average figures.
Prelimenary figures are published on the 15. of March. Audited figures are published on the 15. of June in KOSTRA. The audited figures for 2020 comprises of all of total 10 county authorities exclusive Oslo and 13 county authority consolidated company accounts and inter-county company accounts.
Accounting figures for municipalities and counties are included in General government revenue and expenditure, reported to Eurostat, IMF and OECD.
Revised microdata for the period 1972-1090 are saved in cassettes/discs.
Revised microdata for the period 1991-2000 are saved in the municipality economic database in Oracle.
Data for KOSTRA (from and til accounting year 2001) is saved in 3 samples of microdata ( file as per 15.3, revised by munipalities and municipalities counties 15.4 and revised by Statistics Norway as per 156) in KOSTRA-KOEK- database in Oracle.
Microdata from and til the accounting year 1991 is stored also in Supercross, which has its own database. The data from here is used for the production av data for different assignments.
The statistics give a detailed overview of the municipalities' and county municipalities' financial situation based on the accounting figures. It also shows the development of the economic situation both over time and by comparisons among the municipalities and its counterparts.
Data about the municipalities' 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 municipality accounts statistics.
The statistics is important in providing governing information regarding the municipalities' 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 municipalities, 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.
The municipalities' accounting statistics has a vital position in the annual reporting and publication of KOSTRA (Municipality-State-Reporting), which was in fully implemented in 2001.
Data from municipal accounts are assembled in KOSTRA with service data and key figures and show municipalities and county municipality priorities, coverage, productivity and other enhanced service data.
In addition the municipal accounts in "converted form" is applied in the National accounts and financial sector account balances. The development of the county/municipalities 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 ( KF/FKF) and inter-municipal companies.The statistics for municipal and county municipal accounts must therefore be seen in relation to the statistics for the consolidated accounts.
Consolidated accounts consist of county/municipal accounts, county/municipal consolidated company accounts and inter-municipal company accounts.
Inter-municipal company accounts was included in KOSTRA from 2004.
The Local government act, 22. of June 2018 No.83.
Municipal accounts regulations (available only in Norwegian)
Forskrift av 18. oktober 2019 om rapportering fra kommuner og fylkeskommuner.
Regulations for associated companies (available only in Norwegian): Forskrift av 21. oktober 2003 nr. 1445 om rapportering fra interkommunale selskaper og kommunale og fylkesskommunale foretak som driver næringsvirksomhet.
Act of official statistics and Statistics Norway, 21. of June 2019 No.32, § 10.
Commission Regulation (EC) No 264/2000 on the implementation of Council Regulation No 2223/96 with respect to short-term public finance statistics.
Regulation (EC) No 2516/2000 on modifying the common principles of the European system of national and regional accounts in the Community (ESA) 95 as concerns taxes and social contributions and amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2223/96.
Commission Regulation (EC) No 995/2001 on implementing Regulation (EC) No 2516/2000.
Commission Regulation (EC) No 1500/2000 on implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 2223/96 with respect to General Government expenditure and revenue.
Regulation (EC) No 1221/2002 on quarterly non-financial accounts for General Government.
The statistics comprises all the municipalities, county municipalities, municipal and county municipal associated 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 municipalities have different characteristics in relation to their geographical structures and the number of inhabitants. More than half of the municipalities have less than 5 000 inhabitants, while only 12 municipalities have more than 50 000 inhabitants.
The municipality and county municipality companies consists of county/ municipality accounts, county/ municipality consolidated accounts (KF/FKF) and inter-municipal company accounts( IKS) under the local goverment act.
The individual municipality's and county municipality's annual accounts (appropriation accounts and balance sheets) with inclusion of municipality consolidated accounts and inter-municipal company accounts.
Comprises of all the municipality, county municipalities, municipality and county municipal associated companies and inter-municipal companies based on the principle of total counting.
Data is reported electronically to Statistics Norway through a file extract from the municipalities, county municipalities and associated companies. The deadline for reporting is 15th Feb.
The data is controlled online before submission to Statistics Norway with the help of an online controll 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 municipalities by legislation. In addition the figures are checked against figures from the previous year and against the corresponding municipality groups. 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.
Data for the previous year is published as part of KOSTRA ((Municipality-State-Reporting) the following year on March 15th as preliminary figures. The data is published in different levels i.e basic figures and indicators.Basic figures are the absolute figures given in 1000 kr and published in different aggregated levels. The indicators on the other hand are ratio figures calculated using the aggregated basic data compared to the inhabitants figures.
The indicators also show the average figures for the different county/ municipality groups, regions and the country as a whole. These averages give the indicators figures per capita. The densely populated municipalities will therefore give higher ratios than the less densely populated municipalities ( the rule is to calculate the county/municipalities number of inhabitants or expenditure/revenue figures to the ratio of the total population or total revenues/expenditures to give the averages).
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.
The general rule is that one can not publish figures if less than three units underlies a cell in the table, and this creates the risk of identification, that the figure can be traced back to the respondent or other identifiable person.
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 municipalities and county municipalities 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 municipality accounts is based on the principle of total counting, but there will always be considerable defections when Statistics Norway publishes preliminary figures March 15th. The audited figures published the 15th of June by KOSTRA, are figures controlled by the municipalities and county municipalities themselves and Statistics Norway.
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.
To get a better estimation for the national figures, data for the non-response county/municipalities is calculated. It is done by a method developed by Statistics Norway whereby a sample of the accounting figures is estimated based on the figures of the county/municipalities that have reported to KOSTRA. The results of the estimations is published in addition to the KOSTRA publications. Available at:
Except for the estimation of national figures, there are no other calculations for the municipal accounts since the statistics are presented at each municipality and county levels.
The statistics is based on the principle of total counting.
Municipalities and county municipalities keep accounts according to the Local Government Act of 1992 and the regulations for accounts by 15th of November 2000. They are regulated to convert the figures to the mandatory chart of accounts in KOSTRA before the figures are sent to Statistics Norway. Errors may occur by converting figures electronically and there can also be other errors in municipal and county municipality accounts. To make sure that all municipalities keep accounts according to the regulations and amplify eventual obscurities in the regulations, there is established an association called GKRS (The institute of generally municipal accepted accounting principles). Refer to GKRS (only in Norwegian)
Prelimenary figures publication is 15. March in KOSTRA
Audited figures publication is 15. Juni in KOSTRA