CPA Audit Quality:

A Framework for Procuring Audit Services

AFMD-87-34: Published: Aug 18, 1987. Publicly Released: Sep 15, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed audits performed by certified public accountants (CPA) for state and local governments to determine whether there is a relationship between the way the governments procure audit services and the quality of audits that result.

GAO found that: (1) state and local governments are almost three times as likely to receive audits that meet professional standards when they have effective procurement processes; (2) the critical attributes that should be present in any procurement regardless of size are competition, solicitation, technical evaluation, and a written agreement; (3) 58 percent of the governments it reviewed used a procurement process that did not meet all four criteria; (4) the incidence of unacceptable quality audits fell from 46 percent to 17 percent when governments met all four criteria; and (5) governments currently have little guidance and employ a wide variety of procurement techniques.

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