Financial Audits: The Vast Majority of Executive Branch Entities Included in the Federal Budget Are Statutorily Required to Have Their Financial Statements Audited

GAO-05-1024R Published: Sep 30, 2005. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 2005.
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The Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 (CFO Act), as expanded by the Government Management Reform Act of 1994, requires 24 major executive branch departments and agencies to prepare annual financial statements and have them audited. The Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2002 (ATD Act) extended this requirement to most executive agencies not explicitly subject to the CFO Act, unless they received a waiver or exemption from the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (the Director). Further, chapter 91 of title 31 of the United States Code, commonly referred to as the Government Corporation Control Act, and certain federal agencies' enabling legislation also require annual financial statement audits. Given the importance of timely, reliable, and useful financial information in assessing the overall financial management of the government, Congress asked us to identify executive branch entities that are not subject to the requirements of preparing annual financial statements and having them audited. In addition, Congress was interested in knowing certain budget information related to executive branch entities covered by the ATD Act that had received an exemption or waiver from the Director for fiscal years 2003 and 2004. This report summarizes the information provided during our June 27, 2005, briefing to congressional staff. Based on request letters and subsequent discussions with congressional staff, our objectives were to determine (1) which executive branch entities had received an exemption or waiver from the Director for preparing fiscal years 2003 and 2004 financial statements and having them audited in accordance with the ATD Act, (2) the amount of net budget authority and net outlays for these entities, and (3) which executive branch entities other than those subject to the CFO Act, ATD Act, Government Corporation Control Act, and enabling legislation do not annually prepare financial statements and have them audited.

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