Yellow Book

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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 yellowbook@gao.gov.

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)

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.

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)

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 Meeting: Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 10:00am to 1:30pm (EDT)

The Advisory Council will hold a meeting to discuss updates and revisions to the Yellow Book and provide input towards a future exposure draft. The meeting will be virtual and is open to the public for observation.

Please click here for meeting instructions to observe the meeting. Note that observers are in “listen only” mode and will be provided an opportunity to present questions to the Advisory Council during a brief period in the afternoon on matters directly related to the proposed update and revision.

GAO staff prepared briefing materials to facilitate discussion during the Advisory Council meeting. This material is not intended as an authoritative view of GAO or its staff. GAO’s official position is determined only after extensive due process and deliberation.

The following Information is provided for observers of the meeting:

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
Jennifer L. Fain Assistant Inspector General for Audits and Evaluations
Export-Import Bank of the United States
Renee Flasher Assistant Professor of Accounting
Penn State Harrisburg
Nickolas Hart President
Data Foundation
Cathy Helm Inspector General
Smithsonian Institution
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 (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.

GAO Contact

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

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