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Report | Feb. 23, 2021

Understanding the Results of the Audit of the DoD FY 2020 Financial Statements


Publicly Released: February 25, 2021

During FY 2020, the DoD underwent a financial statement audit for the third year. As in prior years, the DoD Office of Inspector General (OIG) performed this audit, and issued a disclaimer of opinion on the Agency-Wide Basic Financial Statements – meaning the DoD was unable to provide sufficient evidence for the auditors to support an opinion. The opinions issued by the auditors contain technical language and follow a format dictated by auditing standards. The DoD OIG believes that it is important for non‑auditors to understand the results of the audits as well as the value of the audits. The purpose of this report is to summarize in terms understandable to non‑auditors the progress made by the DoD, the findings of the DoD’s financial statement audits, and the additional actions the DoD should take to address the overall findings of the audit.

As discussed in this report, the road to a clean opinion is not short. Continued progress requires sustained effort and attention throughout the DoD, at all levels. It is also critical that the DoD continues to implement and monitor corrective action plans. Prior Secretaries of Defense, Deputy Secretaries of Defense, DoD Comptrollers, and other DoD leaders have emphasized the importance of the audit and strong financial management; during this time of transition that emphasis must continue. DoD leadership should continue to stress the importance of the financial statement audits and adequate corrective action plans, as well as the need to develop efficient and effective business processes that can lead to accurate financial information and improve DoD operations.

The DoD OIG will continue to fully and fairly audit the financial statements, identify deficiencies, and provide clear information to the DoD on what is necessary to address these deficiencies.