This article investigates whether and under what conditions Public Accounts Committees (PACs) are able to scrutinize government accounts. In doing so, we analyze survey data from 51 Commonwealth countries collected by the World Bank Institute in 2002. We find that the relationship between the formal powers of the PACs and their successful performance is conditional. Specifically, we argue that the success of PACs depend on the behavior of committee members, on the availability of independent sources of information, and on the media’s interest in scrutinizing government accounts.