GAO: Guidance for single audits should be more timely, responsive

April 2, 2021

By Ken Tysiac, Journal of Accountancy

The timing and content of key yearly federal guidance provided to single audit practitioners needs to be more responsive to auditors’ input and needs, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to Congress.

In a Report to Congressional Committees, the GAO called on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to implement appropriate measures to better ensure that the yearly Compliance Supplement used by single audit practitioners is responsive to users’ input and needs.

Representatives from the AICPA were among those who worked with the GAO as it prepared its recommendations.

Single audits, which are required of certain organizations that spend $750,000 or more in federal funding in a year, are required to be conducted under generally accepted government auditing standards (also known as GAGAS, GAS, and Yellow Book standards).

The Compliance Supplement, which is published each year by OMB, provides auditors with information on federal programs’ objectives, procedures, and compliance requirements and helps practitioners design single audit procedures to determine award recipients’ compliance with laws, regulations, contracts, and grant agreements.

The GAO report notes that in 2010, the GAO recommended that OMB issue the Compliance Supplement by March 31 each year to give practitioners time to effectively plan their audits and conduct interim testing. But the report states that in the last three years, OMB has issued its Compliance Supplements in May 2018, August 2019, and August 2020, with additional guidance related to COVID-19 relief programs and other existing programs issued in December 2020.

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