Government auditing provides the objective analysis and information needed to help improve government performance and accountability for the benefit of the American people. The professional standards presented in Government Auditing Standards 2024 Revision provide a framework for performing high-quality audit work with competence, integrity, objectivity, and independence. Such performance provides accountability and helps improve government operations and services. These standards, commonly referred to as generally accepted government auditing standards (GAGAS), provide the foundation for government auditors to lead by example in the areas of independence, transparency, accountability, and quality through the audit process.
The 2024 revision of Government Auditing Standards contains major changes from, and supersedes, Government Auditing Standards 2018 Revision Technical Update April 2021. Chapter 5, “Quality Management, Engagement Quality Reviews, and Peer Review,” in the 2024 revision replaces chapter 5, “Quality Control and Peer Review,” in the 2018 revision. In addition, application guidance is added to chapter 6, “Standards for Financial Audits,” in this 2024 revision.
Enhancements that strengthen an audit organization’s framework for conducting high-quality government audits through its system of quality management are reflected in the 2024 revision of Government Auditing Standards. An effective system of quality management provides an audit organization with reasonable assurance that it and its personnel fulfill their responsibilities in accordance with professional standards and perform and report on engagements in accordance with such standards and requirements.
This revision emphasizes the responsibility of an audit organization’s leadership for proactively managing quality on its engagements and requires a quality management risk assessment process for designing, implementing, and operating its system of quality management. The 2024 revision also considers that the nature, extent, and formality of an audit organization’s system of quality management will vary based on its circumstances. These include its size, its number of offices and geographic dispersion, the knowledge and experience of its personnel, the nature and complexity of its engagement work, and cost-benefit considerations.
Other changes in this 2024 revision include the following:
A change in approach from quality control to quality management.
A flexible approach for an audit organization that is required to use both GAGAS quality management standards for GAGAS engagements and the quality management standards of other standard setters for non-GAGAS engagements. This approach will avoid the potential burden of an audit organization designing, implementing and operating two different systems of quality management.
Promotion of proactive and effective monitoring activities and increased emphasis on tailoring monitoring activities. These will provide a sufficient basis for the audit organization’s evaluation of the system of quality management.
Provisions for the use of optional engagement quality reviews to address quality risks to achieving quality objectives.
Application guidance on key audit matters for when this may apply to financial audits of government entities and entities that receive government financial assistance.
The 2024 revision of Government Auditing Standards has gone through an extensive deliberative process, including public comments and input from the Comptroller General’s Advisory Council on Government Auditing Standards. The Advisory Council consists of experts in financial and performance auditing and reporting from federal, state, and local government; the private sector; and academia. The views of all parties were thoroughly considered in finalizing the standards.
Government Auditing Standards 2024 Revision is effective for financial audits, attestation engagements, and reviews of financial statements for periods beginning on or after December 15, 2025, and for performance audits beginning on or after December 15, 2025. A system of quality management that complies with Government Auditing Standards is required to be designed and implemented by December 15, 2025. An audit organization should complete its evaluation of the system of quality management by December 15, 2026. Early implementation is permitted.
An electronic version of this document can be accessed at https://www.gao.gov/yellowbook.
I extend special thanks to the members of the Advisory Council for their extensive input and feedback throughout the process of developing and finalizing the standards.
Gene L. Dodaro
Comptroller General of the United States