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Performance and Accountability Report Fiscal Year 2021

GAO-22-4SP Published: Nov 15, 2021. Publicly Released: Nov 15, 2021.
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Fast Facts

GAO saved taxpayers $66.2 billion in FY 2021. Our average return on investment for the past 5 years is $158 to $1. We did it by recommending ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs and more.

We also identified 1,239 other benefits—things that improve programs and operations but can't be measured in dollars. For example, our work:

  • Examined how relief funds were used to help address K-12 students' pandemic-related needs
  • Increased transparency of FDA's emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 therapies and vaccines
  • Led the CDC to implement 195 recommendations to improve cybersecurity

Graphic showing fiscal year 2021 accomplishments described in the report

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What GAO Found

Presented is GAO's Performance and Accountability Report for fiscal year 2021. In the spirit of the Government Performance and Results Act, this annual report informs the Congress and the American people about what we have achieved on their behalf. The financial information and the data measuring GAO's performance contained in this report are complete and reliable.

This report describes GAO's performance measures, results, and accountability processes for fiscal year 2021. In assessing our performance, we compared actual results against targets and goals that were set in our annual performance plan and performance budget and were developed to help carry out our strategic plan. An overview of our annual measures and targets for 2021 is available here, along with links to a complete set of our strategic planning and performance and accountability reports.

This report includes A Fiscal Year 2021 Performance and Financial Snapshot for the American Taxpayer, an introduction, four parts, and supplementary appendixes as follows:

A Fiscal Year 2021 Performance and Financial Snapshot for the American Taxpayer

This section provides an overview of GAO's performance and financial information for fiscal year 2021 and outlines GAO's near-term and future work priorities.


This section includes the letter from the Comptroller General and a statement attesting to the completeness and reliability of the performance and financial data in this report and the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. This section also includes a summary discussion of our mission, strategic planning process, and organizational structure, strategies we use to achieve our goals, and process for assessing our performance.

Management's Discussion and Analysis

This section discusses our agency-wide performance results and use of resources in fiscal year 2021. It also includes, among other things, information on our internal controls and the management challenges and external factors that affect our performance.

Performance Information

This section includes details on our performance results by strategic goal in fiscal year 2021 and the targets we are aiming for in fiscal year 2022.

Financial Information

This section includes details on our finances in fiscal year 2021, including a letter from our Chief Financial Officer, audited financial statements and notes, and the reports from our external auditor and Audit Advisory Committee. This section also includes an explanation of the information each of our financial statements conveys.

Inspector General's View of GAO's Management Challenges

This section includes our Inspector General's perspective on our agency's management challenges.


This section provides the report's abbreviations and describes how we ensure the completeness and reliability of the data for each of our performance measures.

For more information, contact Timothy Bowling (202) 512-6100 or

Full Report

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