Skip to main content

A Glossary of Terms Used in the Federal Budget Process (Supersedes AFMD-2.1.1)

GAO-05-734SP Published: Sep 01, 2005. Publicly Released: Sep 01, 2005.
Jump To:
Skip to Highlights


We are currently updating the Federal Budget Glossary. To provide feedback on the glossary or suggest potential changes, please email

This publication supersedes AFMD-2.1.1, A Glossary of Terms Used in the Federal Budget Process (Exposure Draft), January 1993. It fulfills part of GAO's responsibility to publish standard terms, definitions, and classifications for the government's fiscal, budget, and program information. It was developed in cooperation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Directors of the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office. This glossary is a basic reference document for the Congress, federal agencies, and others interested in the federal budget-making process. Like previous editions, this revision emphasizes budget terms, but relevant economic and accounting terms are also defined to help the user appreciate the dynamics of the budget process and its relationship to other key activities (e.g., financial reporting). It also distinguishes between any differences in budgetary and nonbudgetary meanings of terms.

Full Report

GAO Contacts

Office of Public Affairs


Accounting systemsAllocation (Government accounting)AppropriationsBudget administrationBudget functionsBudgetingEconomic policiesFederal fundsFunds managementBudgets