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Discussant's Response to An Historical Perspective of Government Auditing With Special Reference to the U.S. General Accounting Office Richard E. Brown Kansas Legislative Post Auditor Critiquing Professor Herbert's paper is an assignment of great interest to me for a number of reasons. Some years ago while a doctoral student at Harvard University, I was literally forced by a professor to write a seminar paper on the U.S. General Accounting Office. Later I turned that paper into a doctoral dissertation, and ultimately into one of the world's smallest selling books. Shortly after this I was a consultant to the GAO and, among other tasks, helped the GAO update Senate Document 11: Financial Management in the Federal Government. And the relationship continues even now. The Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit, the Kansas Legislature's audit agency which I head, is in reality a mini-GAO. Indeed the office was based on model legislation developed some years ago by the GAO. Like the GAO, my office performs a variety of audit work, including both financial and performance auditing. The audit staff in Kansas, like that in the GAO, is a multidisciplinary audit staff. I could continue this analogy in many ways. Summary of Key Concepts In Paper Professor Herbert makes it very clear that his paper is a record of his own impressions, a very personal account of government auditing and accounting, especially with regard to the GAO. He takes us from early voucher auditing, through balance sheet audits in the earlier days of the republic up to about 1920, and finally, with the GAO's creation in 1921, to the larger concerns of the profession with audits of financial statements and auditing with concern for generally accepted accounting principles and generally accepted auditing standards. Professor Herbert mentions the 1945 Government Corporation Control Act, which made the GAO's audits of government corporations comparable to those of CPA firms, and he also discusses the 1950 Budget and Accounting Act to a limited extent. This latter piece of legislation mandated that the GAO should be the public accountant for all agencies and departments, and not only for government corporations. In effect, this Act extends the 1945 lessons in commercial-type audits to all government entities, calling for on-site financial audits of all agencies. The paper discusses several other developments which occurred in the mid-1950s, and it is important in this connection to keep in mind that Professor Herbert joined the staff of the GAO in 1956. According to Professor Herbert, of 6,000 employees at that time, only 1,226 could be classified as accountants and 17
Discussant's response to an historical perspective of government auditing with special reference to the U.S. General Accounting Office
Brown, Richard E.
Nichols, Donald R., ed.
Stettler, Howard, ed.
Finance, public -- Auditing
United States. General Accounting Office
Auditing Symposium V: Proceedings of the 1980 Touche Ross/University of Kansas Symposium on Auditing Problems, pp. 017-023
|Source||Published by: University of Kansas, School of Business|
|Rights||Contents have not been copyrighted|
|Format||PDF page image with corrected OCR scanned at 400 dpi|
|Collection||Deloitte Digital Collection|
|Digital Publisher||University of Mississippi Library. Accounting Collection|