GAO-03-673G Government Auditing Standards > Chapter 1 Introduction > Purpose
1.01 The standards and guidance contained in this document, often referred to as generally accepted government auditing standards (GAGAS), are intended for use by government auditors1 to ensure that they maintain competence, integrity, objectivity, and independence in planning, conducting, and reporting their work, and are to be followed by auditors and audit organizations when required by law, regulation, contract, agreement, or policy.2 The work performed in accordance with GAGAS, which is described in this chapter and more fully in chapter 2, includes financial audits, attestation engagements, and performance audits. Users of government audits and attestation engagements that are performed in accordance with GAGAS should have confidence that the work is objective and credible.
1.02 GAGAS pertain to auditors’ professional qualifications and the quality of their work, the performance of field work, and the characteristics of meaningful reporting. Adherence to GAGAS can help ensure that audits and attestation engagements provide credibility to the information reported by or obtained from officials of the audited entity through objectively acquiring and evaluating evidence. When auditors perform their work in this manner and comply with GAGAS in reporting the results, their work can lead to improved government management, decision making, and oversight. Government auditing is also a key element in fulfilling the government’s duty to be accountable to the public.
1.03 This chapter describes the applications of GAGAS by auditors and audit organizations. This chapter also describes the concept of accountability for public resources and discusses the responsibilities of managers of government programs, auditors, and audit organizations in the audit process.
1This document addresses the standards that should be used by the individuals in audit organizations conducting the broad array of work that is described more fully in chapter 2. Accordingly, the focus of this document is not on the wide variety of titles that are used by individuals conducting and reporting on this work, but instead the nature of the work that is being performed. The term “auditor” throughout this document includes individuals who may be titled auditor, analyst, evaluator, inspector, or who may have a similar position.
2Requirements in GAGAS are identified by statements that include the word “should.” Auditors are expected to comply with these requirements if they apply to the type of work being performed.