The principles of transparency and accountability for the use of public resources are key to our nation's governing processes. Government officials and recipients of federal moneys are responsible for carrying out public functions efficiently, economically, effectively, ethically, and equitably, while achieving desired program objectives. High-quality auditing is essential for government accountability to the public and transparency regarding linking resources to related program results. Auditing of government programs should provide independent, objective, fact-based, nonpartisan assessments of the stewardship, performance, and cost of government policies, programs, and operations. Government audits also provide key information to stakeholders and the public to maintain accountability; help improve program performance and operations; reduce costs; facilitate decision making; stimulate improvements; and identify current and projected crosscutting issues and trends that affect government programs and the people those programs serve.
The professional standards presented in this document provide a framework for performing high-quality audit work with competence, integrity, objectivity, and independence. I firmly believe that government auditors should lead by example in the areas of transparency, performance, accountability, and quality through the audit process.
Current trends and longer-range fiscal challenges make auditor oversight especially important to help improve government operations and services today and position them for a better tomorrow. Government auditing plays a major role in improving government operations and services, and in the important dialogue on the future of government programs by providing the objective analysis and information needed to make the decisions necessary to help create a better future. GAO will continue its efforts to lead by example in all of these areas.
The July 2007 revision of Government Auditing Standards supersedes the 2003 revision and updates the January 2007 revision. This revision contains the January 2007 revision plus updated quality control and peer review sections in chapter 3 which were exposed in January 2007. The July 2007 revision represents the completed 2007 revision of Government Auditing Standards , and is the version that should be used by government auditors until further updates and revisions are made. An electronic version of this document can be accessed on the Web at http://www.gao.gov/govaud/ybk01.htm .
This revision contains the following fundamental changes from the 2003 revision that reinforce the principles of transparency and accountability and provide the framework for high-quality government audits that add value.
This revision of the standards has gone through an extensive deliberative process, including public comments and input from the Comptroller General's Advisory Council on Government Auditing Standards. The Advisory Council generally consists of about 25 experts in financial and performance auditing and reporting drawn from federal, state, and local government; the private sector; and academia. The views of all parties were thoroughly considered in finalizing the standards.
The July 2007 revision of Government Auditing Standards will be effective for financial audits and attestation engagements for periods beginning on or after January 1, 2008, and for performance audits beginning on or after January 1, 2008. Early implementation is permissible and encouraged. For financial audits, certain standards of the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) that affect Government Auditing Standards become effective prior to these dates. We encourage audit organizations to implement the relevant sections of the 2007 revision for financial audits concurrent with the implementation of the related ASB standards.