U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the "congressional watchdog," GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. The head of GAO, the Comptroller General of the United States, is appointed to a 15-year term by the President from a slate of candidates Congress proposes.
The GAO issues the “Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government”, known as the "Green Book," sets the standards for an effective internal control system for federal agencies.
The Uniform Grant Guidance, §200.303, address internal controls in non-Federal entities [who accept federal funds]. It states that non-federal entities must:
Establish and maintain effective internal control over the Federal award that provides reasonable assurance that the non-Federal entity is managing the Federal award in compliance with Federal statutes, regulations, and the terms and conditions of the Federal award.
These internal controls should be in compliance with guidance in “Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government” issued by the Comptroller General of the United States or the “Internal Control Integrated Framework”, issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO).
A copy of the Green Book can be obtained from the GAO website at: http://www.gao.gov/greenbook/overview
Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO)
The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO), a joint initiative of five private sector organizations listed below, is dedicated to providing thoughtful leadership through the development of frameworks and guidance on enterprise risk management, internal control and fraud deterrence.
- Organizations that participate in the joint initiative are:
- COSO’s Internal Control Integrated Framework:
- COSO Homepage
- Internal Control - Integrated Framework, Executive Summary (COSO, 1992) [PDF]
- COSO News Release - COSO Issues Updated Internal Control-Integrated Framework and Related Illustrative Documents [PDF]
- COSO News Releases
- Other COSO Resources:
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for audits of private companies, non-profit organizations and federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination.
- Understanding Internal Control and Internal Control Services (AICPA’s Journal of Accountancy, 2009) [PDF]
- Internal Controls: Just the Start of a Fraud, Waste and Abuse Prevention Program (AICPA, December 2009) [PDF]
- White Paper: COSO 2012-Updated, Principles-based and More Guidance (AICPA, March 2012) [PDF]
The Association of Government Accountants (AGA) supports the careers and professional development of government finance professionals working in federal, state and local governments as well as the private sector and academia.