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GAO Issues New Draft Updates to "Yellow Book," the Preeminent Standards for Government Auditing

WASHINGTON, DC (April 5, 2017)—The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) today issued an exposure draft containing proposed updates to Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS), also known as the “Yellow Book.”  The congressional watchdog agency invites public comments on the proposed changes, which reflect developments in the accounting and auditing profession.

“I’m very proud of GAO’s efforts to modernize the Yellow Book, which was last updated in 2011,” said Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and the head of the GAO.  “Our goal is to help auditors of government entities carry out high-quality work that reflects competence, integrity, objectivity, and independence.”

Some of the key proposed changes to the Yellow Book include:

  • a new format that differentiates requirements from application guidance
  • updated internal control requirements and guidance
  • revised continuing professional education requirements to ensure greater auditor proficiency in GAGAS
  • revised peer review requirements for audit organizations that also comply with peer review requirements of affiliated organizations
  • new requirements for reporting waste that is detected during an audit

To ensure that the new standards meet the needs of government auditors, the Comptroller General has established an advisory council consisting of representatives from federal, state, and local governments, as well as the private sector and academia, to review GAO’s proposed modifications and consider other changes. The 2017 exposure draft includes the advisory council’s input.

The draft will be available for public comment through July 6, 2017.  Interested parties may send their feedback to  GAO will consider those comments in finalizing its Yellow Book revisions.  All comments will be considered a matter of public record and will eventually 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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