U.S. Government Accountability Office

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U.S. Government Accountability Office Reviews

Updated February 20, 2015
Updated February 20, 2015
95 Reviews
3.7
95 Reviews
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U.S. Government Accountability Office Comptroller General Eugene Louis Dodaro
Eugene Louis Dodaro
54 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The people are so professional and the culture really values work life balance (in 24 reviews)

  • Professional Development Program brings in highly skilled young talent (in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • Also poor performers and intellectual bullies are rampant (in 4 reviews)

  • Not a lot of promotion opportunities and annual salary adjustments are generally smaller than those of executive branch agencies (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work, but opportunities for advancement to management are limited outside of DC.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Work is varied and interesting, generally good opportunities for travel, strong adherence to core values.

    Cons

    Very risk averse culture, unwilling to acknowledge and deal with poor performers, out of date technology, union representation slows ability to make decisions about just about everything.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    Great experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Offers a lot and a variety of interesting work. There is a great work / life balance, good benefits, and good colleagues.

    Cons

    There is a lot of bureaucracy, required procedures, and very little autonomy in terms of conducting analysis.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management should consider options for more flexibility in career path, job duties, and autonomy in conducting work.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Super positive experience!

    Former Intern - Graduate Analyst in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Graduate Analyst in Washington, DC

    I worked at U.S. Government Accountability Office as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    It was a great learning experience. They spent a lot of time developing our skills as future analysts early on and during the process. We were encouraged to take advantage of any learning opportunity. The staff were very knowledgeable and always willing to help if we had a particular interest. We were treated like an equal part of the team. Management seemed to be accessible.

    Cons

    At times, work might be slow. The technology could use improvements but I think they plan on fixing that and at least when there was a computer dilemma, IT tried to get back to you promptly.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to learn!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC

    I worked at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    I got wonderful training at GAO, worked with smart people, and contributed meaningfully to making government work better. Work-life flexibilities are amazing!

    Cons

    The work processes are slow....very slow.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Good Place to Work But GAO has Significant Flaws

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The work at GAO is interesting and quite varied as it can involve many different government agencies and programs, which means that employees have opportunities to learn continuously, and don't get bogged down in repetitive annual work cycles, which is often the case at other federal agencies (although as observed by many leaving comments on this site, GAO's work processes can be stultifying). Because GAO is continuously recruiting new employees to replace retirees and others who leave, there are significant opportunities for growth and advancement. If you master GAO's work processes and writing technique, and excel at analysis and teamwork and demonstrate a can do approach to your assignments, you will be appreciated and have opportunities for advancement. Also, the team approach to engagements and GAO culture provide built-in mentoring and many opportunities for learning GAO processes. Employees who innovate in use of technology or in use of analytical approaches that complement GAO's engagement methodology are appreciated and likely to be rewarded for their efforts. Also, GAO's pay scale is probably in the upper 30% of federal agencies.

    Cons

    GAO's appraisal system has the appearance of being criteria-based and objective, but it is significantly flawed and frequently unfair. Based on GAO's own statistics, some demographic groups fare well, while others come out perennially on the short end of the rating system, which because ratings are used to determine pay increases, means that some demographics get lesser increases (e.g., in recent rating cycles, GAO data showed that employees over 50 years of age received less than 1/2 of the higher pay increases of younger employees). Additionally, the rating system can be capricious. For example, after a promotion, employees typically get at least one low annual rating, even if they do extraordinary work. Other examples of the appraisal system being arbitrary are that some employees who are given very difficult assignments and live up to the challenge, are given lower ratings than other employees who are given relatively easy assignments. In GAO's appraisal training, the agency actually defended (praised) this practice (doing something simple "really well" is better than doing something difficult only well). Further, some employees are able to obtain above average ratings by filing or threatening to file a complaint, although be forewarned, this approach can also have the opposite effect. Because GAO is very concerned with being accused of discriminating against some, employees, others who are not from a preferred group may get lower ratings. An example of preferred groups - in less than a decade GAO went from majority male to 58% female (women are rated somewhat higher than men at GAO), and the agency is currently taking additional steps to shape workplace demographics (this is either a positive or a negative for those seeking employment at GAO, depending on their demographics). In summary, good workers can and often do receive marginal ratings despite doing good work at GAO. Finally - and this is not a con, just advice - keys to success at GAO are to always appear to be knowledgeable (the appearance of weakness on even a single occasion will often be held against you), never do something that angers those above you (okay that is obvious, however GAO has an especially long corporate memory), and align yourself with a respected supervisor who becomes your advocate - your supervisor is probably the most important person in determining your rating and promotion potential.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I have none, because I know GAO will not take steps to change the flaws that concern me.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  7.  

    Alright - smart people. Passive aggressive environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office

    Pros

    Flex time - good work life balance (if you push for it) - generally smart people. Wide variety of topics.

    Cons

    Different mission teams have different dynamics. A lot of competitive personalities w/out people skills.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Internship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC

    I worked at U.S. Government Accountability Office as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    I was challenged by my daily workload and really learned a lot about the subject area that we were writing the report on.

    Cons

    Unpaid internship where I was expected to take on the role of a full time employee. Not given a lot of guidance from my team leader.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay your interns, give better performance reviews

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Very good internship experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Graduate Summer in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Graduate Summer in Washington, DC

    I worked at U.S. Government Accountability Office as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Great work-life balance and engaging work
    They give you responsibility because it's graduate students only- you won't spend time answering phones or fetching coffee
    High paying internship

    Cons

    Need patience for a lot of bureaucratic layers
    Getting hired depends on federal budget

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    A challenging and rewarding career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time

    Pros

    GAO provides unique experiences to public administration and accounting graduates that consulting and accounting firms cannot offer. GAO has an exceptional professional development and training program. There are a wide variety of opportunities to work on financial audits, performance audits, and testimonies to the Congress. What better way to use your CPA and education than to help the Congress meet its constitutional responsibilities to improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the government?

    Cons

    Sometimes reports take too long to go out the door because GAO has a very thorough quality assurance and report review process before it releases its products. Also, there is a pretty useless union that no one can seem to get rid of.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Overrated

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    If you love tedium, bureaucracy and catering to inflexible personalities, then this may be the place for you to spend your career.

    Cons

    Micromanagement is the norm. Some managers are aggressive and deceptive in their dealings with staff, but advance anyhow. A work-life balance is achievable once you're off the promotion track. Managers work crazy hours and sometimes expect you to do the same.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They ask for employee perceptions every year in a survey but none of us know what they do with it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

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