Vatican cancels first full external audit of its finances

The Vatican has cancelled the first full external audit of its finances, which was to have been done by a global accounting firm.

The Vatican announced last week that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) would no longer be responsible for the audit.

Instead it will be performed by the Holy See’s Auditor General.

In a statement, the Vatican noted that PwC would play an “assisting role” to the Auditor General.

PwC will also be available to help Vatican departments with support and consulting services.

The Vatican said this new arrangement will enable “a broader collaboration” with PwC.

“This agreement permits all of the entities of the Holy See to participate more actively in the reforms under way,” the statement noted.

The Holy See said that “by law” the Auditor General should undertake the audit as this is “normally the case for every sovereign state”.

The position of the Auditor General, first established under Francis, reports directly to the Pope and has the power to look at the finances of any Vatican identity.

The current Auditor General is Libero Milone, a former chairman of Deloitte in Italy.

The Vatican’s statement stressed that the path to achieving international accountancy standards is “normally complex and prolonged”.

The Holy See suspended the audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in April in order “to examine the meaning and scope of certain contract clauses”.

PwC’s auditing was unilaterally and without the Pope’s permission, put on hold by Cardinal Angelo Becciu, a high-ranking official at the Secretariat of State, in what was seen as a power struggle between Cardinal George Pell and senior curial officials.

One of the problems was reportedly the fact that Cardinal Pell was one of the signatories to the contract with PwC.

This assertion was challenged by the cardinal who said that PwC’s three year deal – reportedly worth US$3 million – was agreed by the Council for the Economy, the body led by German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, which also oversees Cardinal Pell’s department, the Secretariat for the Economy.

The latest Vatican statement stresses that the earlier suspension of PwC’s work was not an attempt to “hinder reforms”.


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