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By law, an audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. Government for the year ended September 30, 1987, is due for completion by March 31, 1998. Acting Chief Accountant of the U.S. General Accounting Office Philip T. Calder has been working toward this objective--the audit report will be issued by the GAO--for most of the four years since he joined the organization. Calder is a former partner of Ernst & Young LLP and experienced in the audits of large governments, including The City of New York.

The U.S. Treasury Department will issue the financial statements. According to Calder, discussions have taken place on whether to present the statements in billions or millions of dollars. The largest numbers in the financials will be in the trillions.

Calder indicated that his staff has been able to audit a number of very significant parts of the financial statements--total revenue and debt obligations, including the liability of the Social Security system, to name two. Not so easy has been the asset side of the balance sheet and certain kinds of expenditures.

Calder also said that the GAO's report will probably disclaim an opinion as to some aspects of the financials and give an adverse opinion as to others. The financials are expected to show a deficit in the equity section.

The CPA Journal will present the full story of the audit of the U.S. Government in a future issue.

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