Yellow Book Performance Audits (Updated for Government Auditing Standards 201...
Learning objectives

After completing this course, the learner should be able to:

  • Define GAGAS performance audits and identify their objectives
  • Identify key aspects of performance audits field work standards including planning, supervision, evidence, and documentation
  • Identify the key elements of performance audit findings and recommending corrective action
  • Recognize key aspects of performance audit reporting requirements including form, content, issuance, and distribution requirements
John Lord

Instructor bio

John has extensive teaching experience serving as a Professor at Stanford, UC Berkeley, San Francisco State, San Jose State, and is the Director and Lead Faculty of the CPA Applied Program at Golden Gate University. While teaching college courses and leading audits with the Government Accountability Office, John has been the Lead Faculty for Becker Professional Education in Northern California for nearly 30 years. In addition to teaching live CPA classes, John has been involved in recruiting, training, and developing CPA instructors throughout the State of California. John is also an author and national instructor for Becker’s Continuing Professional Education program focusing on governmental accounting and auditing topics.

Before retiring in 2014, John served as a Senior Audit Manager for the Government Accountability Office which is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the U.S. Congress. In his capacity with the GAO, John led audits of the Bureau of Public Debt, Federal Reserve and IRS. He has also led work with the GAO reviewing the accounting and auditing standards setting process in the United States where he was actively involved with the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the AICPA’s Auditing Standards Board. John holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the California State University in Hayward, California and is an active U.S. Certified Public Accountant and past President of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting.

This course provides you with an overview of the Yellow Book Performance Audit to include recent updates to government auditing standards. For those unaware of what a Yellow Book audit entails, we wanted to provide the foundational basics.  

What is a Yellow Book audit? 

The Comptroller General and the Government Accountability Office, or GAO, created generally accepted government auditing standards, or GAGAS. Within these standards, they outlined four types of assurance engagements, including financial audits, attestation engagements, reviews of financial statements, and performance audits. 

In a printed form, these standards are referred to, informally, as the Yellow Book. While all federal audit agencies performing the audit and federal contractors receiving the audit must follow these standards, many state and local audit agencies rely on Yellow Book audit regulations, too. 

Yellow Book performance audits

For a performance audit, government agencies are evaluated and analyzed to determine if the manner in which they carry out functions and provide services aligns with government auditing standards. Specifically, a Yellow Book performance audit looks at whether the organization or officials are providing functions and services effectively, efficiently, economically, ethically and equitably. The findings are shared with the organization's leadership team, especially those in charge of governance or oversight.

Who is this course for?

This course is designed to meet the needs of experienced government auditors and is ideal for those with four to seven years of government auditing experience, whether at the local, state, or federal level. This course will also meet Yellow Book CPE requirements. 


National Registry of CPE Sponsors

A Becker Professional Education is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:

Becker Professional Education Sponsor I.D. Numbers NASBA: 107294, New York: 002087, New Jersey: 20CE00226700, Texas: 009580, Ohio: CPE.186, Illinois 158.002405, Pennsylvania: PX177823

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