Yellow Book

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Limited Technical Updates

In April 2021, we:

  • Made limited technical updates to the 2018 revision of the Yellow Book. A table detailing the updates is on pages i through ii of the updated Yellow Book. View Yellow Book
  • 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)

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)

About The Yellow Book

The Yellow Book is used by auditors of government entities, entities that receive government awards, and other audit organizations performing Yellow Book audits. It outlines the requirements for audit reports, professional qualifications for auditors, and audit organization quality control. Auditors of federal, state, and local government programs use these standards to perform their audits and produce their reports.

The 2018 revision of the Yellow Book is only effective for financial audits, attestation engagements, and reviews of financial statements for periods ending on or after June 30, 2020, and for performance audits beginning on or after July 1, 2019. Early implementation is not permitted. For financial audits, attestation engagements, and performance audits performed under a prior revision of the Yellow Book, see the 2011 Revision. For further questions about Yellow Book effective dates and implementation, please call (202) 512-9535 or e-mail

The 2021 technical updates to the 2018 revision of the Yellow Book are effective upon issuance.

View the 2018 Yellow Book

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

View the 2018 Digital Yellow Book 


GAGAS Amendments & Interpretive Guidance

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

Yellow Book revisions undergo an extensive, deliberative process, including public comments and input from the Comptroller General's Advisory Council on Government Auditing Standards. GAO considers all Yellow Book comments and input from the Comptroller General's Advisory Council on Government Auditing Standards when finalizing revisions to the standards. Read more in our 2018 Yellow Book press release.

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.

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.

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.

The views of all parties were thoroughly considered in finalizing the standards. Advisory Council members serve 4-year terms and may be reappointed by the Comptroller General.

Advisory Council Members, 2016-2020


Name Organization
Drummond Kahn,
Faculty, International Institute and Government Audit Training Institute
Graduate School USA
Corey Arvizu Partner
Heinfeld, Meech & Co., P.C.
Dr. Brett M. Baker Assistant Inspector General for Audit
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of the Inspector General
Jon Hatfield Inspector General
U.S. Federal Maritime Commission, Office of the Inspector General
Philip M. Heneghan Inspector General
U.S. International Trade Commission, Office of the Inspector General
Mary L. Kendall Deputy Inspector General
U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Inspector General
Deborah V. Loveless Director
Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Division of State Audit
Martha S. Mavredes Auditor of Public Accounts
Commonwealth of Virginia
Kim McCormick Partner
Grant Thornton LLP
Amanda Nelson Partner
Dr. Demetra Smith Nightingale Institute Fellow
Urban Institute
Dr. Annette K. Pridgen Associate Professor
Jackson State University
Dianne Ray Colorado State Auditor
Colorado Office of the State Auditor
Harriet Richardson Inspector General
San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District
Randy C. Roberts Senior Technical Director
Arizona Office of the Auditor General
Brian A. Schebler National Director of Public Sector Services
Ronald Smith Principal
RHR Smith & Company CPAs

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 (PSUs) 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 official views on these requirements. Users should refer to the original, authoritative standards for purposes of implementing the standards.

Previous Yellow Book Publications

GAO Contact

For technical assistance regarding the Yellow Book, please call (202) 512-9535 or e-mail