Report Issuance and Distribution
GAO-03-673G Government Auditing Standards > Chapter 6 General, Field Work, and Reporting Standards for Attestation Engagements > Report Issuance and Distribution
Government auditors should submit reports on the attestation engagement to the appropriate officials of the audited entity and to the appropriate officials of the organizations requiring or arranging for the engagement, 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 the findings and recommendations and to others authorized to receive such reports. Unless the report is restricted by law or regulation, or contains privileged or 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.
6.50 Reports on attestation engagements should be distributed in a timely manner to officials interested in the results. 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 reports, those in other levels of government that have provided assistance to the audited entity, and legislators. However, if the subject matter or assertion of the attestation engagement 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. The availability of the report for public inspection should be documented in the audit documentation.
6.51 Although AICPA standards require that a report on an engagement to evaluate an assertion based on agreed-upon criteria or on an engagement to apply agreed-upon procedures should contain a statement limiting its use to the parties who have agreed upon such criteria or procedures, such a statement does not require that the report distribution be limited. (See paragraphs 6.46 through 6.48 for additional guidance on limited report distribution.) The availability of the report for public inspection should be documented in the audit documentation.
6.52 When nongovernment auditors are engaged to conduct an attestation engagement 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 the 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.
6.53 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 is responsible for distribution of the report. Further distribution of reports outside the organization should be made in accordance with applicable laws, rules, regulations, or policies.
6.54 If an attestation engagement is terminated before it is completed but the auditors do not issue a report on the engagement, auditors should write a memorandum for the record that summarizes the results of the work to the date of termination and explains why the attestation engagement was terminated. In addition, auditors should communicate the reasons for terminating the attest engagement to management of the audited entity, the entity requesting the attestation engagement, and other appropriate officials, preferably in writing. This communication should be documented.