The Yellow Book

The Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards, also known as the Yellow Book, provide a framework for conducting high quality audits with competence, integrity, objectivity, and independence. The Yellow Book is for use by auditors of government entities, entities that receive government awards, and other audit organizations performing Yellow Book audits.

View the Current Yellow Book

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These standards, first published in 1972 , provide the foundation for government auditors to lead by example in the areas of independence, transparency, accountability, and quality through the audit process.

Revising the Yellow Book

Yellow Book revisions undergo an extensive, deliberative process, including public comments and input from the Yellow Book Advisory Council. GAO considers all Yellow Book comments and input from the Yellow Book Advisory Council in finalizing revisions to the standards.

Interpretive Publications

Auditors use “interpretive publications” in planning and performing Yellow Book audits. Interpretive publications are GAO-issued recommendations on the application of Yellow Book in specific circumstances. Interpretive publications are not auditing standards, but have the same level of authority as application and other explanatory material in Yellow Book.

Obtaining Printed Copies of the Yellow Book

The printed version of the December 2011 revision of the Yellow Book can be purchased through the Government Printing Office (GPO) online or by calling 202-512-1800 or 1-866-512-1800.

 

Related Standards and Guidance

Auditors may use the Yellow Book in conjunction with professional standards issued by GAO and other authoritative bodies. In addition, GAO issues guidance on implementing and complying with standards.

Professional Standards Updates

Professional Standards Updates (PSUs) summarize recently-issued standards of major auditing and accounting standard setting bodies. These updates inform the Yellow Book user community of important changes to professional requirements. These updates do not establish new professional standards and do not reflect GAO official views on these requirements. Users should refer to the original, authoritative standards for purposes of implementing the standards.

Related Publications and Professional Standards Updates:

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Complying with GAGAS and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

Guidance

2007-12-01

Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government

Standard

2014-09-10

Assessing the Reliability of Computer-Processed Data

Guidance

2009-07-01

Professional Standards Update No. 65

PSU

2016-08-18

Professional Standards Update No. 64

PSU

2016-04-27

Professional Standards Update No. 63

PSU

2015-11-27

Professional Standards Update No. 62

PSU

2015-06-02

Professional Standards Update No. 61

PSU

2014-04-10

Professional Standards Update No. 60

PSU

2013-08-15

Professional Standards Update No. 59

PSU

2013-01-01

Professional Standards Update No. 58

PSU

2012-10-01

Professional Standards Update No. 57

PSU

2012-02-01

Professional Standards Update No. 56

PSU

2011-10-14

Professional Standards Update No. 55

PSU

2011-07-01

Professional Standards Update No. 54

PSU

2011-01-28

Professional Standards Update No. 53

PSU

2010-09-01

Professional Standards Update No. 52

PSU

2010-07-01

Professional Standards Update No. 51

PSU

2009-07-01

Professional Standards Update No. 50

PSU

2008-09-01

Professional Standards Update No. 49

PSU

2008-02-01

Professional Standards Update No. 48

PSU

2007-08-01

Professional Standards Update No. 47

PSU

2006-01-01

Professional Standards Update No. 46

PSU

2006-08-01

Professional Standards Update No. 45

PSU

2006-07-03

 

The Comptroller General of the United States appointed the Advisory Council on Government Auditing Standards to review the standards and recommend necessary changes. The Council includes experts drawn from:

  • federal, state, and local government;
  • the private sector; and
  • academia.

The views of all parties were thoroughly considered in finalizing the standards. Advisory Council members serve four year terms and may be reappointed by the Comptroller General. Below is the list of current members.

Advisory Council Members, 2016-2020

Name Organization

Drummond Kahn,
Chairman

Director of Audit Services
City of Portland, Oregon

Corey Arvizu

Partner
Heinfeld, Meech & Co., P.C.

Brett M. Baker

Deputy Inspector General for Audit
U.S. Department of Defense - Office of Inspector General

Luther N. Bragg

Auditor General
Department of the Navy, Naval Audit Service

Jon Hatfield

Federal Maritime Commission, Office of the Inspector General

Philip M. Heneghan

Inspector General
U.S. International Trade Commission

Mary L. Kendall

Deputy Inspector General
Office of Inspector General for Department of the Interior

Deborah V. Loveless

Director
Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Division of State Audit

Martha S. Mavredes

Auditor of Public Accounts of the Commonwealth of Virginia

Kim McCormick

Partner
Grant Thornton LLP

Amanda Nelson

Partner
KPMG LLP

Dr. Demetra Smith Nightingale

U.S. Department of Labor, Chief Evaluation Office

Annette K. Pridgen

Assistant Professor
Jackson State University

Dianne Ray

Colorado Office of the State Auditor

Harriet Richardson

City Auditor
City of Palo Alto

Randy C. Roberts

Senior Technical Director
Arizona Office of the Auditor General

Brian A. Schebler

National Director of Public Sector Services
RSM US LLP

Ronald Smith

Principal
RHR Smith & Company CPAs

 

For technical or practice questions regarding the Yellow Book, please call (202) 512-9535 or e-mail yellowbook@gao.gov.

GAO Comment Letters provide input to other standard-setting organizations’ proposals. The comment letters discuss technical issues related to ethics, quality control, accounting, auditing, and attestation standards. By issuing comment letters, GAO promotes the development of high quality government and private sector auditing standards, both domestically and internationally. Listed below are comment letters relating to auditing standards and other topics of interest to the accounting community.

GAO Comment Letters to Standard-Setting Organizations

More...

For technical or practice questions regarding the Yellow Book, please call (202) 512-9535 or e-mail yellowbook@gao.gov.

The printed version of the December 2011 revision of the Yellow Book can be ordered through the Government Printing Office (GPO) online or by calling 202-512-1800 or 1-866-512-1800.

The Yellow Book: In the Public Eye

GAO welcomes public discussion of the Yellow Book. Reproduced below are selected images from the public on Flickr and tweets on Twitter.

Source: Daniel Hoang.
© 5/11/09 Daniel Hoang.

Results for @USGAO Yellow

  • FICPA icon
    17 Aug 12
    FICPA @FICPA
    Ms. Buchanan provided great updates in "2011 Yellow Book. What You Need to know" at our State & Local Gov Accounting Conf @usgao #slgovac12