GAO Mission and Operations:
International Peer Review of the Performance Audit Practice of the United States Government Accountability Office
May 30, 2008
An international peer review team with representatives from the supreme audit institutions of Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom reviewed the quality assurance system that GAO has established for managing its performance audit practice. GAO's quality assurance system encompasses its organizational structure and the policies and procedures established to provide it with reasonable assurance that it complies with Government Auditing Standards. GAO is responsible for the design of its quality assurance system and compliance with it, including the quality of its products. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on whether the system is suitably designed and operating effectively to meet its objective. The criteria the peer review team used to assess GAO's quality assurance system were drawn from GAO legislative authorities, Government Auditing Standards, 2003, and early adopted portions of the 2007 Revision, and the GAO performance audit manual. The peer review team conducted the review in accordance with the peer review standards in Government Auditing Standards, 2003, and early adopted portions of the 2007 Revision. The peer review team examined GAO's documented policies and procedures relative to applicable professional standards, reviewed documentation for a representative sample of 2007 audits selected from the first eight months of the year, and interviewed professional and administrative staff. The team also examined the performance of GAO's own inspection service. This report sets out our observations about GAO's quality assurance system and its application and includes good practices and suggestions that management may wish to consider as it enhances its performance audit practice. These observations do not affect our opinion.
In the opinion of the peer review team, the quality assurance system of the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) was suitably designed and operating effectively, during the year ended 31 December 2007, to provide GAO with reasonable assurance that it conforms to the United States Government Auditing Standards, 2003, and early adopted portions of the 2007 Revision in conducting its performance audit practice.