The IDHEAP has published its Comparative Review every year since 1999. The goal is to shed light on of the governments' financial situation. The Review covers all institutional levels of the country: the Confederation, the 26 cantons and about 20 Swiss cities, including 14 cantonal capitals.
The analysis makes us of fifteen indicators which together form a financial scorecard. Eight of these indicators are recommended in the Harmonized Accounting Model for cantons and municipalities (HAM2). The indicators are organized in four groups.
The first group looks at the major financial balances. It comprises the following indicators:
- coverage of costs with the annual revenue (I1)
- the self-financing of capital expenditure after deduction of grants (I2)
- additional net liabilities (I3)
- the burden of net interest payments on tax revenue (I4)
The second group of indicators assesses the quality of the financial management. It comprises the following indicators:
- containment of current expenditure per capita (I5)
- the capital expenditure effort (I6)
- accuracy of the tax revenue forecast (I7)
- average interest rate on the debt (I8)
The third group was added in 2017 and informs about the debt situation and the accumulated liabilities. The group comprises the following indicators:
- net liabilities to tax revenue (I9)
- gross debt to revenue (I10)
Also added in 2017, the fourth group consists of a more heterogeneous set of auxiliary indicators:
- self-financing capacity (I11)
- share of the net interest burden (I12)
- net interest and depreciations to revenue (I13)
- share of the gross capital expenditure (I14)
- net liabilities per capita (I15)
For each single indicator, the tool proposes an assessment scale. Therefore, each indicator value is marked between 6 (excellent situation) and 1 (bad situation) on a continuous scale. Hence the entity’s financial situation is easy to appreciate.