The Yellow Book

The Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards, also known as the Yellow Book, provides a framework for conducting high-quality audits with competence, integrity, objectivity, and independence.


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Overview


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 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.

View the 2011 Yellow Book               View the 2018 Yellow Book

So, what's new in the 2018 revision? What advice do we have for Yellow Book users? Listen to our podcast about the 2018 Yellow Book to find out



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

Currently, only the printed version of the 2011 Yellow Book is available. It can be purchased through the Government Publishing Office (GPO) online or by calling 202-512-1800 or 1-866-512-1800.

GAO Contact

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

 

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.

 

Comment Letters Sent (provided in chronological order):

 

More...

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,
Chair
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
KPMG LLP
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 City Auditor
City of Palo Alto
Randy C. Roberts Senior Technical Director
Arizona Office of the Auditor General
Brian A. Schebler National Director of Public Sector Services
RSM US LLP
Ronald Smith Principal
RHR Smith & Company CPAs

Related Publications


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.

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Complying with GAGAS and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
(Superseded by GAO-12-331G) 

Guidance

2007-12-01

Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government

Standard

2014-09-10

Assessing the Reliability of Computer-Processed Data

Guidance

2009-07-01

Professional Standards Update No. 70

PSU

2018-08-10

Professional Standards Update No. 69

PSU

2018-05-21

Professional Standards Update No. 68

PSU

2018-01-31

Professional Standards Update No. 67

PSU

2017-08-02

Professional Standards Update No. 66

PSU

2017-01-18

Professional Standards Update No. 65

PSU

2016-08-18

Professional Standards Update No. 64

PSU

2016-04-27

Professional Standards Update No. 63

PSU

2015-11-27

Professional Standards Update No. 62

PSU

2015-06-02

Professional Standards Update No. 61

PSU

2014-04-10

Professional Standards Update No. 60

PSU

2013-08-15

Professional Standards Update No. 59

PSU

2013-01-01

Professional Standards Update No. 58

PSU

2012-10-01

Professional Standards Update No. 57

PSU

2012-02-01

Professional Standards Update No. 56

PSU

2011-10-14

Professional Standards Update No. 55

PSU

2011-07-01

Professional Standards Update No. 54

PSU

2011-01-28

Professional Standards Update No. 53

PSU

2010-09-01

Professional Standards Update No. 52

PSU

2010-07-01

Professional Standards Update No. 51

PSU

2009-07-01

Professional Standards Update No. 50

PSU

2008-09-01

Professional Standards Update No. 49

PSU

2008-02-01

Professional Standards Update No. 48

PSU

2007-08-01

Professional Standards Update No. 47

PSU

2006-01-01

Professional Standards Update No. 46

PSU

2006-08-01

Professional Standards Update No. 45

PSU

2006-07-03

Previous Yellow Book Publications