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Accounting and Auditing Research and Databases: Practitioner's Desk Reference by Thomas C. Pearson, Natalie Tatiana Churyk, Thomas R. Weirich

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Auditing Standards in the Public Sector

Government officials and the general public are concerned about how the public's money was spent and whether government is achieving its goals funded by taxpayer dollars. Thus, to a large degree, the standards and guidelines used in a governmental audit are similar to auditing requirements in the corporate sector. Federal, state, and local governments have historically placed substantial reliance on the auditing requirements of the AICPA's Auditing Standards Division. However, various governmental regulatory bodies have addressed specific governmental audit concerns.

The GAO's Government Auditing Standards, commonly referred to as the “Yellow Book,” are applicable to all governmental organizations, programs, activities, and functions. The Government Auditing Standards have the objective of improving the quality of governmental audits at the federal, state, and local levels. These governmental standards were founded on the premise that governmental accountability should go beyond identifying the amount of funds spent, to measure the manner and effectiveness of the expenditures. Therefore, these standards provide for an audit scope to include financial and compliance auditing, as well as auditing for economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of program results. Under federal legislation, federal inspector generals must follow these GAO auditing standards. Also, these standards are audit criteria for federal executive departments and agencies. ...

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