"Don't forget we're broke," Aberdeenshire has pleaded in advance of its imminent inspection.
Inspectors will sweep in next week to assess the authority fully after previous partial reviews paved the way for country-wide inspections.
Raymond Bisset, the council's provost, said: "I don't think it's any secret the council is financed pound;11 million below the local authority average and since 1996 has had to cut pound;73 million out of the budget. That impacts across our services."
Mr Bisset asked: "Do the inspectorate take that into consideration when an authority is being inspected, because I think it is important. Or do they just analyse on the basis of where we were in 1999 and the follow-up inspection?"