Key Issues > Federal Financial Accountability
auditing icon, source: PhotoDisc

Federal Financial Accountability

GAO is required to report on the U.S. government’s consolidated financial statements, but three major impediments continue to prevent an audit opinion.

  1. Share with Facebook 
  2. Share with Twitter 
  3. Share with LinkedIn 
  4. Share with mail 

The Secretary of the Treasury, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, annually prepares consolidated financial statements for the U.S. government for Congress and the administration to use in fiscal decision making. GAO has been required to audit the consolidated financial statements since 1997, but is also mandated to audit various other federal financial statements.

While federal financial management has improved since the federal government began preparing these statements, GAO has been unable to render an audit opinion on the government’s consolidated financial statement because of the following impediments:

  1. 1. serious financial management problems leading to financial statements from the Department of Defense that cannot be audited;
  2. 2. the federal government's inability to adequately account for and reconcile intragovernmental activity and balances between federal agencies; and
  3. 3. the federal government's ineffective process for preparing the consolidated financial statements.

It is important to note that while almost all of the 24 largest federal agencies received unmodified (“clean”) opinions on their most recent financial statements the Department of Defense has consistently been unable to receive such an audit opinion on its financial statements.

U.S. Government’s Consolidated Financial Statements

Federal Entity Financial Statements

Looking for our recommendations? Click on any report to find each associated recommendation and its current implementation status.

Videos

Comptroller General Testifies on Federal Data Transparency

Podcasts

DOD Financial ManagementMonday, September 28, 2015
DOD Improper PaymentsThursday, June 6, 2013
  • portrait of Larry Malenich
    • Larry Malenich
    • Director, Financial Management and Assurance
    • malenichl@gao.gov
    • (202) 512-9399
  • portrait of Cheryl Clark
    • Cheryl Clark
    • Director, Financial Management and Assurance
    • clarkce@gao.gov
    • (202) 512-9377
  • portrait of William Cordrey
    • William Cordrey
    • Acting Director, Financial Management and Assurance
    • cordreyw@gao.gov
    • (404) 679-1873
  • portrait of Jim Dalkin
    • Jim Dalkin
    • Director, Financial Management and Assurance
    • dalkinj@gao.gov
    • (202) 512-3133
  • portrait of Dawn Simpson
    • Dawn Simpson
    • Acting Director, Financial Management and Assurance
    • simpsondb@gao.gov
    • (202) 512-9473