GAO's Performance & Accountability Report

In fiscal year 2017, GAO identified $73.9 billion in financial benefits—a return of about $128 for every $1 invested in us. We also identified 1,280 other benefits that led to program and operational improvements across the government. This report details GAO’s accomplishments and describes its strategic planning and performance measures.


View the 2017 Report


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In fiscal year 2017, demand for our work was high with 739 congressional requests and new mandates.  Our work in key areas helped inform the Congress and the administration on issues relevant to all Americans. The results of our efforts are reflected in our solid performance in fiscal year 2017—we met or exceeded goals set for all but three of the areas measured.

Table: Agency-wide Summary of Annual Measures and Targets

2017 Met/
not met
target actual
Financial benefits
(dollars in billions)
$55.8 $51.5 $54.4 $74.7 $63.4 $50.0 $73.9 Met $50.0
Other benefits 1,440 1,314 1,288 1,286 1,234 1,200 1,280 Met 1,200
Past recommenda-
tions implemented
80% 79% 78% 79%e 73% 80% 76% Not Met 80%
New products with
67% 63% 64% 66%e 68% 60% 63% Met 60%
Testimonies 159 114 129 109 119f 120 99 Not Met 120
Timeliness 95% 94% 95% 98% 94% 90% 96% Met 90%
New hire rate 76% 66% 88% 83% 81% 80% 83% Met 80%
Retention rate

With retirements

93% 93% 94% 94% 93% 92% 94% Met 92%

Without retirements

96% 96% 97% 96% 96% 96% 97% Met 96%
Staff development 80% 80% 83% 84% 83% 80% 84% Met 80%
Staff utilization 76% 75% 77% 79% 79% 76% 80% Met 76%
Effective leadership
by supervisors
82% 83% 83% 83% 85% 82% 84% Met 82%
78% 77% 79% 80% 81% 76% 83% Met 76%
Internal operations
Help get job done N/Aa 82% 82% 80% N/Ab,c 80% 84% Met 80%
Quality of work life N/Aa 78% 78% 78% N/Ab,c 80% 82% Met 80%
IT Tools N/Aa,d 68%d 65% 67% N/Ab,c 80% 74% Not met 80%

Source: GAO.  |  GAO-18-2SP

Note: Information explaining all of the measures included in this table appears in the Appendix on Data Quality.
aNo survey was conducted in calendar year 2012 (denoted by N/A).
bWe conducted the survey for these measures on a calendar year basis in 2016, and, therefore, do not have fiscal year-end results to report—denoted by N/A. For fiscal year 2017, the survey was conducted on a fiscal year basis.
cThe targets for all three categories in 2016 and 2017 were 80 percent.
d In 2013, we added the IT performance measure to better gauge and track satisfaction with GAO's IT services. In prior survey years, IT services were covered under one of the other performance measures (years prior to addition of performance measure are denoted by N/A).
eIn 2015, we modified our methodology for past recommendation implemented and new products with recommendations to exclude Matters for Congressional Consideration (see Appendix on Data Quality).
f In 2016, we modified our methodology for counting testimonies to include hearings where two separate statements are delivered on separate aspects of GAO's work (see Appendix on Data Quality).

Executive branch agencies are required by law to produce an annual performance and accountability report. Although we are not subject to the same requirement, as a leading practices agency, we provide an annual report with comparable information to that found in executive branch agency reports. As such, in addition to information on our measures and targets, the report also includes information on our:

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Mission: To support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people.

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Strategic Planning and Management Process: Our strategic and performance planning helps ensure that we will achieve our mission goals. 

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Organizational Structure: Our staff is organized into 14 evaluation, audit, research, and investigative teams to perform the work that supports our strategic goals, with several of the teams working in support of more than one strategic goal.

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Accomplishments: Implementing our performance goals and the key efforts related to them requires us to develop and present information in a number of ways. Further descriptions of our evaluations, oversight, investigations, and other types of work, as well as details on the results we achieved are available in the report.


You can view all previous strategic and performance plans here.

Recommendations for Executive and Congressional Action:

GAO's Recommendations Database Icon
GAO's recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.
GAO Action Tracker Icon
GAO's Action Tracker contains the status of "actions" - specific suggestions for improvement – that GAO identified in its annual Duplication & Cost Savings reports.