DATA Act: Audit of GAO's FY 2017, Second Quarter, DATA Act Submission

OIG-18-1: Nov 8, 2017

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Inspector General
Tonya R. Ford
(202) 512-5748
oig@gao.gov

Objectives

This is a publication by GAO's Office of Inspector General (OIG) that concerns internal GAO operations. The OIG contracted with the independent certified public accounting firm of CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) to audit GAO's compliance with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act), and produce this report. This report addresses (1) the completeness, timeliness, quality and accuracy of the GAO's FY 2017, second quarter (January 2017 through March 2017) financial and award data submitted for publication on USASpending.gov and (2) GAO's implementation and use of the Government-wide financial data standards established by the Office of Management Budget (OMB) and the Department of Treasury (Treasury), as required by the DATA Act.

What OIG Found

The audit found that GAO submitted the required financial and award files consistent with the data standards defined by Treasury and OMB on time as required by the DATA Act. However, internal control weaknesses affected the completeness and accuracy of GAO's DATA Act submission. These weaknesses included inadequate implementation and execution of control activities, which resulted in an incomplete and inaccurate DATA Act submission for the FY 2017 second quarter and a lack of documented policies and procedures for ensuring the completeness, quality, and accuracy of its data files.

To achieve DATA Act compliance, GAO planned to rely on its service provider to submit complete and accurate financial and award data to Treasury's DATA Act Broker for the FY 2017 second quarter. However, due to errors detected in its service provider's preliminary submission, GAO developed and implemented its own alternative solution to comply with the DATA Act within 12 days prior to the final DATA Act submission reporting deadline. Consequently, GAO did not have sufficient time to fully develop and implement adequate controls, such as data reconciliations and reviews, or adequately document its policy and procedures for ensuring the completeness, quality, or accuracy of its submissions.

What OIG Recommends

The report contains two recommendations intended to strengthen GAO's DATA Act controls and procedures for future DATA Act submissions. Specifically, the report recommends that GAO (1) develop and document standard operating policies and procedures specific to ensuring the completeness, quality, accuracy, and timeliness of GAO's DATA Act reporting. These procedures should also delineate lines of responsibility and identify proper documentation for the validation procedures performed by separate individuals, and (2) document and implement a reconciliation process between source systems and the DATA Act submission files to ensure that difference are identified and resolved prior to the Senior Accountable Official asserting to the completeness, timeliness and accuracy of GAO's DATA Act submission. GAO agreed with the recommendations.

For more information, contact Adam R. Trzeciak at (202) 512-5748 or trzeciaka@gao.gov.

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