Report Issuance and Distribution
GAO-03-673G Government Auditing Standards > Chapter 5 Reporting Standards for Financial Audits > Report Issuance and Distribution
Government auditors should submit audit reports to the appropriate officials of the audited entity and to appropriate officials of the organizations requiring or arranging for the audits, including external funding organizations such as legislative bodies, unless legal restrictions prevent it. Auditors should also send copies of the reports to other officials who have legal oversight authority or who may be responsible for acting on audit findings and recommendations and to others authorized to receive such reports. Unless the report is restricted by law or regulation, or contains privileged and confidential information, auditors should clarify that copies are made available for public inspection. Nongovernment auditors should clarify report distribution responsibilities with the party contracting for the audit and follow the agreements reached.
5.35 Audit reports should be distributed in a timely manner to officials interested in the results. 1 Such officials include those designated by law or regulation to receive such reports, those responsible for acting on the findings and recommendations contained in the report, those in other levels of government that have provided assistance to the audited entity, and legislators. However, if the subject of the audit involves material that is classified for security purposes or not releasable to particular parties or the public for other valid reasons, auditors should limit the report distribution. See paragraphs 5.31 through 5.33 for additional guidance on limited report distribution when reports contain privileged or confidential information. The availability of the report for public inspection should be documented in the audit documentation.
5.36 When public accountants are engaged to conduct an audit under GAGAS, they should clarify report distribution responsibilities with the engaging organization. If the public accountants are to make the distribution, the engagement agreement should indicate which officials or organizations should receive the report and other steps being taken to ensure the availability of the report for public inspection. The availability of the report for public inspection should be documented in the audit documentation.
5.37 Internal auditors should follow their entity’s own arrangements and statutory requirements for distribution. Usually, they report to their entity’s head or deputy head, who are responsible for distribution of the report. Further distribution of reports outside the organization should be made in accordance with applicable laws, rules, regulations, or policy.
5.38 If an audit is terminated before it is completed but the auditors do not issue an audit report, auditors should write a memorandum for the record that summarizes the results of the work to the date of termination and explains why the audit was terminated. In addition, auditors should communicate the reasons for terminating the audit to management of the audited entity, the entity requesting the audit, and other appropriate officials, preferably in writing. This communication should be documented.
1See the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996 and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-133 on single audits for the distribution of reports on single audits of state and local governmental entities and nonprofit organizations that receive federal awards.