The Yellow Book

The Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards, also known as the Yellow Book, provide a framework for conducting high quality audits with competence, integrity, objectivity, and independence. The Yellow Book is for use by auditors of government entities, entities that receive government awards, and other audit organizations performing Yellow Book audits.


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The Yellow Book is the book of standards and guidance for auditors and audit organizations, outlining 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.

Revising the Yellow Book

GAO is seeking public comment on the draft of the 2017 revision of the Yellow Book. The draft will be available for review from April 5, 2017, until July 6, 2017. Please send your comment letters to our Yellow Book Comments inbox, YellowBookComments@gao.gov, no later than July 6, 2017.

Along with changes to its format and structure, the draft contains updates on the following topics:

  • Independence
  • Competence and Continuing Professional Education
  • Quality Control and Peer Review
  • Financial Audits
  • Attestation Engagements and Reviews of Financial Statements
  • Performance Audits

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 in finalizing revisions to the standards. You can find our Yellow Book publications, including other important guidance documents, below. These other guidance documents aid auditors in planning and performing Yellow Book audits.

Obtaining Printed Copies of the Yellow Book

The printed version of the December 2011 revision of the Yellow Book can be purchased through the Government Publishing Office (GPO) online or by calling 202-512-1800 or 1-866-512-1800.

Related Standards and Guidance

Auditors may use the Yellow Book in conjunction with professional standards issued by GAO and other authoritative bodies. In addition, GAO issues guidance on implementing and complying with standards.

Professional Standards Updates

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.

Related Publications and Professional Standards Updates:

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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. 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

 

GAO encourages all interested parties to comment on the Yellow Book Exposure Draft. The comment period runs from April 5, 2017, until July 6, 2017. Please send your comment letters to our Yellow Book Comments inbox, YellowBookComments@gao.gov, no later than July 6, 2017. GAO will post comment letters here after they are received and reviewed.

Comment Letters Received (provided in chronological order):

Number Respondent Affiliation Letter
1 Cordell Olive PDF
2 David Cotton PDF
3 Dan Snider Thomson Reuters PDF
4 Larry Sophian PDF
5 Jacob M. Lee PDF
6 John L. Greene PDF
7 Marilyn Mays PDF
8 William Blend PDF
9 Brenda Crawford PDF
10 Howard B. Levy Piercy Bowler Taylor & Kern PDF
11 Lois James PDF
12 Lynda M. Dennis PDF
13 Stephen L. Morgan PDF
14 Leita Hart-Fanta Yellow Book-CPE.com PDF
15 Sherrill Norman Auditor General, State of Florida PDF
16 Donald W. Cairns Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of the Interior PDF
17 John Hummel Office of the Inspector General, Montgomery County, Maryland PDF
18 Dianne E. Ray Colorado State Auditor, Office of the State Auditor PDF
19 Norman Brown Department of State Office of Inspector General  PDF
20 Suzanne H. Elliott Louisiana Legislative Auditor PDF
21 Lori Lau Dillard U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General PDF
22 Jerri L. Dorsey-Hall U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General  PDF
23 Douglas M. Bennett Auditor General of the Air Force PDF
24 Doug Ringler Michigan Office of the Auditor General PDF
25 Office of Trust Review and Audit, Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Trust Review and Audit, Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, U.S. Department of the Interior PDF
26 James Stephens PDF
27 Jim Arnette State of Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury PDF
28 Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP PDF
29 Richard F. Chambers The Institute of Internal Auditors PDF
30 Scott P. Begley PDF
31 Pat McCarthy Office of the Washington State Auditor PDF
32 Todd Buikema Government Finance Officers Association PDF
33 Office of the Inspector General, U.S. General Services Administration Office of the Inspector General, U.S. General Services Administration PDF
34 Jennifer B. Paperman Division of State Government Accountability, Office of the State Comptroller, State of New York PDF
35 Michael C. Westfall Office of State Inspector General, Commonwealth of Virginia PDF
36 Internal Review, Defense Finance and Accounting Service Internal Review, Defense Finance and Accounting Service PDF
37 Stephen T. Hopkins PDF
38 Alan Rosenthal Cotton & Company LLP PDF
39 Government Audit Training Institute Government Audit Training Institute PDF
40 Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Agriculture PDF
41 Anne L. Richards U.S. Army Audit Agency PDF
42 Scott Frank  Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit PDF
43 David Bettler Cherry Beakert LLP  PDF
44 Deborah Loveless Division of State Audit, Department of Audit, Comptroller of the Treasury, State of Tennessee PDF
45 Association of Local Government Auditors  Association of Local Government Auditors  PDF
46 Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration PDF
47 Tod A. Burton Oregon Government Finance Officers Association PDF
48 Frank W. Sluter Satty, Levine, & Ciacco, CPAs P.C. PDF
49 Telford A. Lodden & Ken L. Bishop National Association of State Boards of Accountancy PDF
50 Karen M. Scott Office of Inspector General, National Science Foundation PDF
51 Tonya Moffitt Oregon Society of Certified Public Accountants PDF
52 Ken Sibley Professional Standards Committee, Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants PDF
53 Eide Bailly LLP Eide Bailly LLP PDF
54 Charlie Blanton PDF
55 Marlene V. Hartinger Audit Services, Oregon Department of Transportation  PDF
56 James Hodge Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of the Treasury PDF
57 Crowe Horwath LLP Crowe Horwath LLP PDF
58 Vera J. Garrant Office of Inspector General, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau  PDF
59 Richard C. Culbertson Asset Leadership Network  PDF
60 KPMG LLP KPMG LLP PDF
61 Gabriel F. Deyo Division of Local Government & School Accountability, Office of the State Comptroller, State of New York PDF
62 Robert Greene PDF
63 Allison M. Henry Not-for-Profit Committee, Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public
Accountants
PDF
64 Office of Inspector General, Defense Intelligence Agency Office of Inspector General, Defense Intelligence Agency PDF
65 Cathy L. Helm Office of the Inspector General, Smithsonian Institution PDF
66 Deloitte & Touche LLP Deloitte & Touche LLP PDF
67 Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense  Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense  PDF
68 BDO USA, LLP BDO USA, LLP PDF
69 Marla A. Freedman Office of Inspector General, Federal Housing Finance Agency PDF
70 CliftonLarsonAllen LLP CliftonLarsonAllen LLP PDF
71 Jennifer L. Quinones Defense Contract Audit Agency, Department of Defense PDF
72 Melissa Wenrich Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General PDF
73 Christine Torres Governmental Executive Committee, Illinois CPA Society PDF
74 Laurie Tish and Gordon Craig Government Accounting and Auditing Committee, Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants  PDF
75 Sikich LLP Sikich LLP PDF
76 Grant Thorton LLP Grant Thorton LLP PDF
77 Ronald J. Youngs Aerospace Industries Association  PDF
78 Joe Chrisman Legislative Audit Bureau, State of Wisconsin PDF
79 Douglas Hileman Douglas Hileman Consulting LLC  PDF
80 Whitney Miller Amtrak Office of Inspector General PDF
81 Allen Lawrence PDF
82 Huntley, Sigmon & Associates, CPAs, PLLC Huntley, Sigmon & Associates, CPAs, PLLC PDF
83 Dennis Kauffman Govermental Accounting and Auditing Committee, California Society of Certified Public Accountants PDF
84 Susan S. Coffey American Institute of CPAs PDF
85 State and Local Government Committee, Florida Institute of CPAs State and Local Government Committee, Florida Institute of CPAs PDF
86 Kathyrine R. Soliven PDF
87 Lealan Miller Financial Management Standards Board, Association of Government Accountants PDF
88 Moss Adams LLP Moss Adams LLP PDF
89 Sharon G. Edmundson State and Local Government Finance Division, North Carolina Department of State Treasurer PDF
90 Martha S. Mavredes Auditor of Public Accounts, Commonwealth of Virginia PDF
91 National Security Agency/Central Security Service, Office of the Inspector General National Security Agency/Central Security Service, Office of the Inspector General PDF
92 Stacey E. Pickering National State Auditors Association PDF
93 Renee Flasher PDF
94 Ernst & Young LLP Ernst & Young LLP PDF
95 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP PDF

 

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...

GAO Contacts

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

The printed version of the December 2011 revision of the Yellow Book can be ordered through the Government Printing Office (GPO) online or by calling 202-512-1800 or 1-866-512-1800.

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 four year terms and may be reappointed by the Comptroller General. Below is the list of current members.

Advisory Council Members, 2016-2020

Name Organization

Drummond Kahn,
Chair

Director of Audit Services
City of Portland, Oregon

Corey Arvizu

Partner
Heinfeld, Meech & Co., P.C.

Dr. Brett M. Baker

Assistant Inspector General for Audit
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of the Inspector General

Luther N. Bragg

Auditor General (Retired)
Department of the Navy, Naval Audit Service

Jon Hatfield

Federal Maritime Commission, Office of the Inspector General

Philip M. Heneghan

Inspector General
U.S. International Trade Commission

Mary L. Kendall

Deputy Inspector General
Office of Inspector General for Department of the Interior

Deborah V. Loveless

Director
Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Division of State Audit

Martha S. Mavredes

Auditor of Public Accounts of the 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

Assistant Professor
Jackson State University

Dianne Ray

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

 

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