Accession Number:



Cost Accounting Standards: Board Has Taken Initial Steps to Meet Recent Legislative Requirements

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Technical Report

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United States Government Accountability Office Washington United States

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Each year, the federal government obligates billions of dollars on contracts for which the final costs depend, in part, on the amount of overhead and other costs charged to the contract. Congress created the Board in 1970. The standards it created ensure contractors appropriately charge costs to government contracts. In contrast, GAAP is a set of financial reporting principles that commercial firms may use in preparing financial statements and which include the basis for recognizing and measuring costs in such statements. Industry representatives and others have raised concerns that complying with CAS may be burdensome and questioned whether the government could rely on GAAP. In 2016, Congress included a provision in law that the Board, among other things, conform CAS with GAAP, where practicable. Congress also included a provision for GAO to assess Board efforts. This report assesses the extent to which the Board is taking steps to meet legislative requirements and describes the Boards efforts to conform CAS to GAAP. GAO reviewed applicable laws, regulations and guidance, Federal Register notices and other documentation on the Boards activities. GAO also examined the Boards methodology for comparing CAS to GAAP and its preliminary analysis of two of the cost accounting standards. Finally, GAO interviewed Board members and federal procurement officials.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Government and Political Science
  • Economics and Cost Analysis

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