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GAO Issues and Seeks Comments on Draft Updates to "Yellow Book," the Preeminent Standards for Government Auditing

WASHINGTON, DC (January 30, 2023)—Today, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued an exposure draft with proposed updates to Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS), also known as the Yellow Book. GAO invites public comments on the proposed changes, which reflect developments in accounting and auditing professions.

“This latest update is intended to strengthen and modernize audit organizations’ systems for managing engagement quality using a proactive and risked-based approach,” said Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and the head of GAO. “The proposed approach is intended to help ensure that audit organizations produce reliable, objective, and high-quality work for use in holding management and officials entrusted with public resources accountable for carrying out their duties.”

The proposed updates to the Yellow Book also are intended to improve the scalability of the standard for audit organizations of various sizes and those with quality management systems that vary in complexity and formality. Some of the proposed changes include:

  • a change in approach from quality control to quality management
  • a risk-based process for achieving the objectives of quality management
  • provisions for optional engagement quality reviews of GAGAS engagements
  • application guidance on key audit matters for the public sector

To ensure that the proposed standards meet the needs of auditors who use GAGAS, the Comptroller General has convened an advisory council consisting of representatives from federal, state, and local governments and the private sector and academia. The 2023 exposure draft includes the advisory council’s input.

The draft is also available for public comment through April 28, 2023. Interested parties may send their feedback to GAO will consider those comments in finalizing its Yellow Book revisions. All comments from the public will be considered a matter of public record and will be posted on GAO’s website.

For more information, contact Chuck Young, Managing Director of Public Affairs, at (202) 512-4800.


The Government Accountability Office, known as the investigative arm of Congress, is an independent, nonpartisan agency that exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. GAO also works to improve the performance of the federal government and ensure its accountability to the American people. The agency examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAO provides Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonideological, fair, and balanced. GAO’s commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability.

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