The Government Accountability Office released an updated edition of the so-called “Yellow Book” on Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards, the first revision since 2011.

The Yellow Book is used by government auditors at the federal, state and local levels. One of the main changes in the latest edition is a new format that distinguishes requirements from application guidance. The book also includes updated independence requirements for auditors who prepare the financial statements of audited entities, along with revised peer review requirements for audit organizations. There’s also new guidance to address waste and abuse as defined under government auditing standards, as well as updated internal control guidance for performance audits.

“First-rate audit work is an essential component of government accountability and oversight,” said U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, who heads the GAO. “I’m very proud of the effort that’s gone into the new Yellow Book standards. This is an important step forward in assuring taxpayers that public resources are being used responsibly and efficiently.”

To make sure the new standards meet the needs of government auditors, Dodaro set up an advisory council made up of representatives of federal, state and local governments, along with the private sector and academia, to review the proposed changes. The new edition of the Yellow Book reflects the advisory council’s feedback, along with suggestions received during a public comment period on the exposure draft of the proposed revisions. The 2018 edition supersedes the 2011 edition.


GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro
GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro Jim Lo Scalzo/Bloomberg News

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