Press Release

GAO Updates "Yellow Book," the Preeminent Standards for Government Auditing

WASHINGTON, DC (July 17, 2018)—The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) today issued a new revision of Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards, also known as the “Yellow Book.”  Last revised in 2011, the Yellow Book is designed to help government auditors at the federal, state, and local levels produce high-quality audits that reflect competence, integrity, objectivity, and independence.
 
“First-rate audit work is an essential component of government accountability and oversight,” said Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO.  “I’m very proud of the effort that’s gone into the new Yellow Book standards. This is an important step forward in assuring taxpayers that public resources are being used responsibly and efficiently.”
 
Some of the key changes to the 2018 Yellow Book include:
  • A new format that differentiates requirements from application guidance
  • Updated independence requirements for auditors who prepare the financial statements of an audited entity
  • Revised peer review requirements for audit organizations 
  • New guidance to address waste and abuse as defined under government auditing standards 
  • Updated internal control guidance for performance audits
To ensure that the new standards meet the needs of government auditors, the Comptroller General established an advisory council consisting of representatives from federal, state, and local governments, as well as the private sector and academia, to review the proposed changes. GAO is extremely grateful for their dedication and expertise and a full list of members is below. The new Yellow Book reflects the advisory council’s input, as well as feedback received during the public comment period on the exposure draft of the proposed revisions.
 
The 2018 Yellow Book, which supersedes the 2011 revision (GAO-12-331G), is available on GAO’s website at https://www.gao.gov/yellowbook/overview.  For more information, contact Chuck Young, Managing Director of Public Affairs, at (202) 512-4800.
 
The members of the Yellow Book Advisory Council were: 
 
Drummond Kahn, Chair, International Institute and Government Audit Training Institute Graduate School USA
 
Corey Arvizu, Heinfeld, Meech & Co., P.C.
 
Dr. Brett M. Baker, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of the Inspector General
 
Jon Hatfield, U.S. Federal Maritime Commission, Office of the Inspector General
 
Philip M. Heneghan, U.S. International Trade Commission, Office of the Inspector General
 
Mary L. Kendall, U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Inspector General
 
Deborah V. Loveless, Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Division of State Audit
 
Martha S. Mavredes, Auditor of Public Accounts of the Commonwealth of Virginia
 
Kimberly K. McCormick, Grant Thornton LLP
 
Amanda Nelson, KPMG LLP
 
Dr. Demetra Smith Nightingale, Urban Institute
 
Dr. Annette K. Pridgen, Jackson State University
 
Dianne Ray, Colorado Office of the State Auditor
 
Harriet Richardson, City of Palo Alto
 
Randy C. Roberts, Arizona Office of the Auditor General
 
Brian A. Schebler, RSM US LLP
 
Ronald Smith, RHR Smith & Company CPAs
 
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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.