GAO-03-673G Government Auditing Standards > Chapter 3 General Standards > Introduction
3.01 This chapter prescribes general standards and provides guidance for performing financial audits, attestation engagements, 1 and performance audits. These general standards concern the fundamental requirements for ensuring the credibility of auditors’ results. Credibility is essential to all audit organizations performing work that government leaders and other users rely on for making decisions, and is what the public expects of information provided by auditors. These general standards encompass the independence of the audit organization and its individual auditors; the exercise of professional judgment in the performance of work and the preparation of related reports; the competence of audit staff, including the need for their continuing professional education; and the existence of quality control systems and external peer reviews.
3.02 These general standards provide the underlying framework that is critical in effectively applying the field work and reporting standards described in the following chapters when performing the detailed work associated with audits or attestation engagements and when preparing related reports and other products. Therefore, these general standards are required to be followed by all auditors and audit organizations, both government and nongovernment, performing work under generally accepted government auditing standards (GAGAS).
1See chapter 6 for an additional general standard auditors should follow when performing an attestation engagement.