In the Middle Ages, the accounting chambers originated from the curia regis, the king’s immediate entourage, which assisted him in managing his territory and ruling the kingdom. Because the questions to be dealt with became more and more complex, specialised bodies were gradually set up from the curia regis: the Prince’s Council, the Parliament and the Chamber of Audit.
In 1190, the French King Philip Augustus determined by ordinance that the public authorities’ accounts had to be submitted to the king. In 1256, Saint Louis confirmed the role of the king’s sovereign auditors who were given a separate room in the courthouse as from 1303: the Chamber of Audit. The Chamber of Audit was set up as a distinct royal institution for the first time in 1319-1320 by King Philip V the Tall (Ordinance of Vivier-en-Brie).
In the Middle Ages, the need for an institution supervising the State’s finances also arose in the County of Flanders, an economically important area. Louis of Nevers, Count of Flanders, called on masters of accounts around 1320. His successors continued this practice.