Yellow Book instructor Charlie Blanton on changes

In April 2017, the GAO released an exposure draft for a revised Yellow Book (a.k.a., Government Auditing Standards). The document carried a comment deadline of July 6, 2017 and it is available at www.gao.gov. Although the exposure draft was issued at a busy time of the year for many, the GAO still received an impressive 95 comment letters in response to the draft. Now that the comment period has ended, auditors are anticipating when the finalized Yellow Book revision will be issued by the GAO and whether it was worth the wait.

One of the classic advertising campaigns of all time was the H.J. Heinz Company’s ketchup ad campaign called anticipation. In days of yore, when we had to wait for ketchup to come out of a glass bottle instead of a plastic squeeze bottle, this clever ad campaign attempted to convince potential users that Heinz’s thick and flavorful ketchup was well worth the wait of the sauce slowly flowing from the bottle at the speed of molasses.

While we do not know how flavorful the finalized Yellow Book revision will be, we now have a sense for how long we will have to wait for the standard. At an August 2017 conference in Washington D.C., James Dalkin, the GAO’s Director of Financial Management and Assurance, estimated that the Yellow Book revision expected issue date could potentially be around July 2018. For now, we’ll just have to wait to see how the new Yellow Book will affect what is on the auditor’s plate. You just can’t squeeze auditing standards out of a plastic bottle; sometimes it takes patience (and anticipation).

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Charlie Blanton, CPA is Senior Director of Governmental and Nonprofit Content for Surgent CPE, where he authors Surgent’s government and not-for-profit CPE courses and is a frequent webinar instructor. Charlie has over 25 years of experience in auditing and industry having worked at KPMG, the Texas Society of CPAs, Taylor Publishing, Texas Wesleyan University, and the AICPA. Click here to watch a short video about Charlie’s work.

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