GAO-03-673G Government Auditing Standards > Chapter 6 General, Field Work, and Reporting Standards for Attestation Engagements > Introduction
6.01 This chapter prescribes standards and provides guidance for attestation engagements performed in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards (GAGAS). Attestation engagements consist of work governed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) standards for attestation engagements. GAGAS incorporate the AICPA general standard on criteria, its field work standards, and its reporting standards for attestation engagements, as well as the AICPA Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE), unless the Comptroller General of the United States excludes them by formal announcement. 1 This chapter identifies the AICPA general standard on criteria, 2 field work standards, and reporting standards for attestation engagements and prescribes additional standards for attestation engagements performed in accordance with GAGAS. In addition to the AICPA general standard on criteria, auditors should also follow all of the general standards for work performed under GAGAS, as discussed in chapter 3.
6.02 In an attestation engagement, auditors issue an examination, a review, or an agreed-upon procedures report on a subject matter, or an assertion about a subject matter, that is the responsibility of another party. Attestation engagements can cover a broad range of financial or nonfinancial objectives 3 and can be part of an audit or a separate engagement. The three levels of attestation engagements include the following.
a. Examination: Auditors perform sufficient testing to express an opinion on whether the subject matter is based on (or in conformity with) the criteria in all material respects or the assertion is presented (or fairly stated), in all material respects, based on the criteria.
b. Review: Auditors perform sufficient testing to express a conclusion about whether any information came to the auditors’ attention on the basis of the work performed that indicates the subject matter is not based on (or in conformity with) the criteria or the assertion is not presented (or fairly stated) in all material respects based on the criteria. 4
1To date, the Comptroller General has not excluded any field work standards, reporting standards, or SSAEs.
2GAGAS incorporate only one of the AICPA general standards for attestation engagements.
3See chapter 2 for examples of subjects of attestation engagements.
4As stated in the AICPA SSAEs, a uditors should not perform review-level work for reporting on internal control or compliance with laws and regulations.