Every sixth restaurant lacks an auditor – turnover billions without being audited

The government is working increasingly actively to crack down on crime. Among other things, they want to make it harder for companies to be used as crime tools.

Thomas Hertz at the Ekobrottsmyndigheten likens companies without auditors to “a secret circle.”

– The only one who can gain access to this secret circle, what happens in the bank accounts, if there is any activity in the bookkeeping at all, is the accountant, says Thomas Hertz.

SVT has examined whether the restaurant industry complies with the law and has an auditor. According to Thomas Hertz, restaurants and bars are a risky industry with a lot of black money in circulation.

SVT’s review shows that 4,734 restaurants and bars are required to have an auditor according to the law’s size criteria, but 830 of them lack an auditor. This corresponds to every sixth company in the restaurant industry that is required to be an auditor. These companies had a total turnover of SEK 4.3 billion in 2022.

There is no authority that controls the auditor’s duty

The industry association Visita gives a written answer to SVT in which they do not want to speculate on reasons but:

“… obviously there is a lack of control functions to be able to follow up that laws and regulations are followed.”

This summer, an investigation was submitted to the government to increase the Swedish Companies Registration Office’s control to prevent companies from being used as tools of crime.

However, the issue of control of auditor duty was not considered a problem, but the inquiry concluded that there was no authority that controls auditor duty.

– That responsibility lies with the companies themselves, says Inga Otmalm, director of the Swedish Companies Registration Office.

But the legislation says that the Swedish Companies Registration Office must even liquidate companies that do not live up to their obligations, while at the same time they do not check that there is also an auditor where there should be one.

– We do not have the task today to check whether you comply with the audit duty or not, says Inga Otmalm.