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.


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View the 2017 Exposure Draft

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The Yellow Book is the book of standards and guidance for auditors and audit organizations, outlining the requirements for audit reports, professional qualifications for auditors, and audit organization quality control. Auditors of federal, state, and local government programs use these standards to perform their audits and produce their reports.

Revising the Yellow Book

GAO is seeking public comment on the draft of the 2017 revision of the Yellow Book. The draft will be available for review from April 5, 2017, until July 6, 2017. Please send your comment letters to our Yellow Book Comments inbox, YellowBookComments@gao.gov, no later than July 6, 2017.

Along with changes to its format and structure, the draft contains updates on the following topics:

  • Independence
  • Competence and Continuing Professional Education
  • Quality Control and Peer Review
  • Financial Audits
  • Attestation Engagements and Reviews of Financial Statements
  • Performance Audits

Yellow Book revisions undergo an extensive, deliberative process, including public comments and input from the Comptroller General's Advisory Council on Government Auditing Standards. GAO considers all Yellow Book comments and input from the Comptroller General's Advisory Council on Government Auditing Standards in finalizing revisions to the standards. You can find our Yellow Book publications, including other important guidance documents, below. These other guidance documents aid auditors in planning and performing Yellow Book audits.

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 Publishing 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. 66

PSU

2017-01-18

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

 

GAO encourages all interested parties to comment on the Yellow Book Exposure Draft. The comment period runs from April 5, 2017, until July 6, 2017. Please send your comment letters to our Yellow Book Comments inbox, YellowBookComments@gao.gov, no later than July 6, 2017. GAO will post comment letters here after they are received and reviewed.

Comment Letters Received (provided in chronological order):

Number Respondent Affiliation Letter
1      
2      

 

GAO provides comments to other standard-setting organizations’ proposals in letter form. 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 and auditing community.

 

Comment Letters Sent (provided in chronological order):

 

More...

GAO Contacts

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.

Advisory Council

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,
Chair

Director of Audit Services
City of Portland, Oregon

Corey Arvizu

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

Dr. Brett M. Baker

Assistant Inspector General for Audit
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of the Inspector General

Luther N. Bragg

Auditor General (Retired)
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

Institute Fellow
Urban Institute

Dr. 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.