Updating Government Auditing Standards – The 2018 Yellow Book

Image of the U.S. GAO Yellow BookToday we issued a new revision of the Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards, also known as the “Yellow Book,” which supersedes the 2011 revision of the standards.

What kind of training and experience make a competent auditor? How is audit quality control to be maintained? How can an auditor tell if he or she has come across material waste and abuse?

The Yellow Book has answers to these questions.

Government auditors are required to objectively evaluate government operations, gather sufficient, appropriate evidence, and report the result. To do this, auditors rely on these standards to provide a framework for conducting high-quality audits with competence, integrity, objectivity, and independence.

Today’s WatchBlog looks at the updates to the 2018 Yellow Book. Listen to our podcast, then read on for more.

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What’s new?

Some of the key changes to the Yellow Book include:

  • a new format that differentiates requirements from application guidance;
  • updated independence requirements for auditors who prepare the financial statements of an audited entity;
  • revised peer review requirements for audit organizations;
  • new guidance to address waste and abuse as defined under government auditing standards; and
  • updated internal control guidance for performance audits.

To ensure that the new standards meet the needs of government auditors, U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro established an advisory council consisting of representatives from federal, state, and local governments, as well as the private sector and academia, to review the proposed changes.

The 2018 revision reflects the advisory council’s input, as well as feedback received during the public comment period on the 2017 exposure draft of the proposed revisions.

The 2018 Yellow Book is available on our website.


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