GAO Updates “Yellow Book,” the Preeminent Standards for Government Auditing

GAO Updates "Yellow Book," the Preeminent Standards for Government Auditing

WASHINGTON, DC (July 17, 2018)—The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) today issued a new revision of Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards, also known as the “Yellow Book.”  Last revised in 2011, the Yellow Book is designed to help government auditors at the federal, state, and local levels produce high-quality audits that reflect competence, integrity, objectivity, and independence.

“First-rate audit work is an essential component of government accountability and oversight,” said Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO.  “I’m very proud of the effort that’s gone into the new Yellow Book standards. This is an important step forward in assuring taxpayers that public resources are being used responsibly and efficiently.”

Some of the key changes to the 2018 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
  • Updated internal control guidance for performance audits

The 2018 Yellow Book, which supersedes the 2011 revision (GAO-12-331G), is available on GAO’s website at