GAO proposes revisions to government auditing standards

By Ken Tysiac

Multiple requirements in Government Auditing Standards would change under revisions proposed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Auditors of governmental entities and auditors performing compliance audits of entities expending federal assistance or participating in federal programs are often required to perform those audits under Government Auditing Standards.

The proposed changes to the standards commonly known as the Yellow Book are designed to reflect major developments in the auditing, accountability, and financial management professions, emphasizing specific considerations that apply to the government environment.

The areas of competence, continuing professional education, auditor independence, quality control, and internal control are all among the requirements that would change under the proposal.

Key proposed changes include:

  • A new format that would differentiate requirements from application guidance.
  • Updated internal control requirements and guidance.
  • Revised continuing professional educational requirements with the intention of improving auditors’ proficiency with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards.
  • Revised peer review requirements that also comply with peer review requirements of affiliated organizations.
  • New requirements for reporting waste that is detected during an audit.

“Our goal is to help auditors of government entities carry out high-quality work that reflects competence, integrity, objectivity, and independence,” Gene Dodaro, U.S. comptroller general and head of the GAO, said in a news release.

The GAO is inviting public comment on the exposure draft through July 6 at YellowBookComments@gao.gov.

Ken Tysiac (Kenneth.Tysiac@aicpa-cima.com) is a JofA editorial director.

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