Skip to main content

Yellow Book

Jump To:

About The Yellow Book

Auditors of government entities and entities that receive government awards use our Government Auditing Standards, commonly referred to as generally accepted government auditing standards (GAGAS) or the Yellow Book, to perform their audits and produce their reports. The Yellow Book outlines the requirements for audit reports, professional qualifications for auditors, and audit organization quality management.

Current Yellow Book

View the 2018 Yellow Book

The 2018 Yellow Book is also available in a digital format.

View the 2018 Digital Yellow Book 

Printed Copies

The 2018 Yellow Book with the 2021 technical update can be purchased online through the Government Publishing Office at GPO Bookstore- Government Auditing Standards- 2018 Revision with 2021 Technical Update or by calling 202-512-1800 or 1-866-512-1800.

Amendments & Interpretive Guidance

At this time, there are no amendments or interpretive guidance for the 2018 revision of Government Auditing Standards.

Revising the Yellow Book

We are proposing a 2023 revision of the Yellow Book, which updates Chapter 5: Quality Control and Peer Review. The proposed revision reflects enhancements to strengthen an audit organization’s framework for conducting high-quality engagements through its system of quality management. We are also proposing guidance to address key audit matters in financial audits. GAO received comments on the Exposure Draft from January 30, 2023 through April 28, 2023.

View Exposure Draft and Comments  

Advisory Council Meeting: September 14, 2023

As announced in the notice published in the Federal Register, the Comptroller General's Advisory Council on Government Auditing Standards will hold a meeting on Thursday, September 14, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to provide input and recommendations on revisions to Government Auditing Standards, also known as the Yellow Book. The meeting will be held at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 441 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20548. Click here for the agenda for the meeting. The meeting is in-person and will not be live-streamed. 

Previous Yellow Book Publications

COVID-19 Updates

  • In August 2020, we issued an alert on general audit considerations related to COVID-19. Certain areas may need increased attention during audits due to the circumstances of the pandemic, such as identifying fraud risks. View Alert (PDF, 8 pages)
  • In May 2020, we issued an alert that would allow more time and flexibility for auditors to complete continuing professional education (CPE) requirements during the pandemic. View Alert (PDF, 6 pages)

Performance Audit Discussion Paper

In April 2021, we issued a discussion paper that provides illustrative examples of how auditors can assess effectiveness, efficiency, economy, ethics, and equity in performance audits. View paper (PDF, 6 pages)

Advisory Council

The Comptroller General of the United States appointed the Advisory Council on Government Auditing Standards to review the standards and recommend necessary changes. The Council includes experts drawn from:

  • federal, state, and local government;
  • the private sector; and
  • academia.

Advisory Council members serve 4-year terms and may be reappointed by the Comptroller General.

Advisory Council Members, 2022-2026

Name Organization

Erica Forhan,
Chair

Partner
Moss Adams LLP
David Berry Inspector General
National Labor Relations Board
Irving L. Dennis Board Member and Treasurer
American Cornerstone Institute
Renee Flasher Assistant Professor of Accounting
Penn State Harrisburg
Cathy Helm Inspector General (retired)
Smithsonian Institution
Nick Hart President
Data Foundation
Lindsey D. Oakley Partner
FORVIS, LLP
Timothy M. O’Brien Denver Auditor
City and County of Denver
Kerrey M. Olden Partner
KPMG LLP
April Renfro Legislative Auditor/Division Manager
State of Idaho, Legislative Services Office – Audit Division
Doug A. Ringler Auditor General
State of Michigan
Brianna Schletz Inspector General
U.S. Election Assistance Commission
Corrie Stokes City Auditor
City of Austin
Lorin Venable Assistant Inspector General for Audit
U.S. Department of Defense
Theresa Watson Audit Manager, Internal Audit
City of Houston

GAO Comment Letters

GAO provides comments to other standard-setting organizations’ proposals in letter form. The comment letters discuss technical issues related to ethics, quality control, accounting, auditing, and attestation standards. By issuing comment letters, GAO promotes the development of high-quality government and private sector auditing standards, both domestically and internationally. Listed below are comment letters relating to auditing standards and other topics of interest to the accounting and auditing community.

Standards and Guidance

Auditors may use the Yellow Book in conjunction with professional standards issued by GAO and other authoritative bodies. GAO also issues guidance on implementing and complying with standards.

Professional Standards Updates (PSU) summarize recently-issued standards of major auditing and accounting standard-setting bodies. These updates inform the Yellow Book user community of important changes to professional requirements. These updates do not establish new professional standards and do not reflect GAO's official views on these requirements. Users should refer to the original, authoritative standards for purposes of implementing the standards.

GAO Contact

For technical assistance regarding the Yellow Book, please call (202) 512-9535 or email yellowbook@gao.gov.

Multimedia