Municipal accounts

Updated: 15 June 2021

Next update: 15 March 2022

Net operating surplus as a percentage of total gross operating revenue
Net operating surplus as a percentage of total gross operating revenue

About the statistics

Municipal accounts show the municipalities’ total revenues and expenditures. The accounts represented in the statistics comprise of operational accounts, capital accounts and balance sheet accounts. The statistics provide relevant information about the municipalities’ 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:



-Social expenditure

-Purchase of goods and services included in municipal service production

-Purchase of goods and services replacing municipal 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 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: Municipal accounts

Topic: Public sector

15 March 2022

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 and without Oslo.

County municipalities- Data is published for all the county municipalities, including average figures for the regions and the country with and 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 357 municipalities and 409 municipality consolidated company accounts and inter-municipal 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 each year from 1972 are saved in the database Linux.

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 Modernisation 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 Modernisation, 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.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on at 8 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given inthe Statistics Release Calendar.

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.

Data for the non-responsive municipalies this year is based on the data for the same municipality for last year.

Indicators eliminated from estimation of national figures

i) Service areas for kindergartens, primary and lower secondary school and transport affairs have optimal reporting of service areas and personnel data

ii) Indicators for fees and user payments.

Not applicable

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 are 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.

Til publisering av foreløpige tall 15. mars gjennomføres kun elektroniske kontroller. Disse kontrollene fanger ikke opp alle typer feil og det kan derfor forekomme feil i regnskapsstatistikken som publiseres den 15. mars. Ved publiseringen av opprettede tall den 15. juni er tallene kontrollert både av kommunene/fylkeskommunene selv og av SSB. Publiseringen gir til dels svært detaljerte opplysninger og SSB kontrollerer ikke alltid det mest detaljerte nivået, slik at feil kan forekomme.

Partielt frafall forekommer. Innrapportering av kommuneregnskapet er i prinsippet en fulltelling, men særlig ved publisering av foreløpige tall den 15. mars kan det være et til dels betydelig frafall, i sær av data fra kommunale særbedrifter.

Ved publisering av opprettede kommuneregnskapstall den 15. juni er det erfaringsmessig fulltelling av data fra kommunene, mens det fremdeles forekommer frafall i rapportering fra kommunale særbedrifter. Til publiseringen den 15. mars kan frafallet komme opp i mot 10 prosent av de rapporteringspliktige oppgavegiverne, mens det til publiseringen den 15. juni kan være et frafall på omtrent 2 prosent.

For å få bedre anslag for nasjonale og regionale tall beregnes data for manglende kommuner. Dette gjøres ved å imputere fjorårets data for de manglende kommunene. Det publiseres nasjonale og regionale verdier til begge publiseringene i KOSTRA.

Bortsett fra estimeringen av nasjonale og regionale tall foretas det ingen beregninger siden regnskapsstatistikken for øvrig publiseres på kommune-/fylkekommunenivå.

Statistikken bygger på fulltellinger.

Kommunene /fylkeskommunene fører regnskapene i samsvar med kommuneloven av 1992 og regnskapsforskriftene av 15. november 2000 med senere tillegg. De er pålagt å konvertere tallene til den obligatoriske kontoplanen i KOSTRA før tallene sendes til SSB. Det kan forekomme feil ved konverteringen av data og det kan også forekomme andre typer feil i kommunenes og fylkeskommunenes regnskapsføring. For å bidra til at alle fører regnskapene i tråd med forskrifter og lovbestemmelser og presisere eventuelle uklarheter i regelverket slik at alle kommuner og fylkeskommuner fører regnskapene i tråd med god kommunal regnskapsskikk, er GKRS (Foreningen for god kommunal regnskapsskikk) opprettet se GKRS

Prelimenary figures publication is 15. March in KOSTRA

Audited figures publication is 15. Juni in KOSTRA