Generally Accepted Auditing Standards
Generally Accepted Auditing Standards, or GAAS are sets of standards against which the quality of audits are performed and may be judged. Several organizations have developed such sets of principles, which vary by territory. In the United States, the standards are promulgated by the Auditing Standards Board, a division of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
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AU Section 150 states that there are ten standards: three general standards, three fieldwork standards, and four reporting standards. These standards are issued and clarified Statements of Accounting Standards, with the first issued in 1972 to replace previous guidance. Typically, the first number of the AU section refers to which standard applies. However, in 2012 the Clarity Project significantly revised the standards and replaced AU Section 150 with AU Section 200, which does not explicitly discuss the 10 standards.
In the United States, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board develops standards (Auditing Standards or AS) for publicly traded companies since the 2002 passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; however, it adopted many of the GAAS initially. The GAAS continues to apply to non-public companies.