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    Federal Agency: "Small Business Administration"

    25 publications with a total of 49 open recommendations including 7 priority recommendations
    Director: William B. Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As SBA continues to enhance the SBPAC peer review process, the SBA Administrator in her capacity as head of SBPAC should include more detailed guidelines than those used for the current process to facilitate a more in-depth review of agencies' compliance with section 15(k) requirements.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Energy, HHS, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and VA; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of EPA, GSA, and SBA; the Director of OPM; and the Chairman of NRC should take action to, within existing OMB reporting mechanisms, complete plans describing how the agency will achieve OMB's requirement to implement automated monitoring tools at all agency-owned data centers by the end of fiscal year 2018.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Small Business Administration agreed with, but has not yet taken action to implement, our recommendation. We will monitor the department's efforts to address our recommendation.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should confirm that each SBIR and STTR agency is implementing the minimum fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, by, for example, requesting documentation from agencies.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it will request that each participating agency confirm their implementation of its minimum fraud, waste, and Abuse prevention requirements by forwarding an email to each agency requesting confirmation of their compliance. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should request input from the participating agencies regarding the clarity of the requirements; review all of the SBIR and STTR minimum fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements, including the agency requirement to post information about successful SBIR or STTR fraud prosecutions; determine whether any additional guidance is needed; and revise the policy directives accordingly.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it plans to discuss the issue with program managers at an upcoming meeting and will also contact all agencies in writing to inquire if additional clarity is needed regarding any of the FWA requirements. SBA said that additional guidance will be provided, if necessary. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should revise the fraud, waste, and abuse provisions in the policy directives to reflect the definition of essentially equivalent work used elsewhere in the policy directives and require participating agencies to check for essentially equivalent work that they fund as well as such work funded by other agencies.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it will revise the SBIR and STTR Policy Directives to reflect the definition of essentially equivalent work as noted in section 3 of the policy directives. SBA also stated that it will work with all parties to determine how to best address the issue of duplication, noting that this is an important issue and a high priority for all parties involved. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should evaluate SBIR and STTR agencies' fraud, waste, and abuse outcomes to ensure the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements are appropriate and meet their intended purpose for the SBIR and STTR programs.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it will survey the participating agencies regarding whether the requirements are necessary and meeting their intended purposes, are placing undue burdens on the agencies, or need to be revised, updated, or eliminated. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Director: William B. Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help business disaster victims and resource partners better access information about the disaster loan process, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should integrate information resources such as the fact sheet, reference guide, and three-step process flier into its disaster loan assistance web portal and Partner Training Portal in a way that is more accessible to users.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA stated that the disaster loan assistance portal includes links to various loan-related resources and a link to SBA.gov, where users can access the SBA Disaster Loan Program Reference Guide and online learning center. We will continue to follow up with SBA on whether the agency plans to centrally integrate the links to loan-related resources into its disaster loan assistance web portal and Partner Training Portal, so resources can be more accessible to users.
    Recommendation: To help reduce confusion about the disaster loan process and the time frames applicants may experience, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should ensure the consistency of content across its disaster loan process resources by including in these written and online resources, as appropriate, the following: (1) the three-step process; (2) the types of documentation SBA may request and the general reasons why such information may be requested; and (3) estimates of loan processing time frames applicants might experience and external factors, such as the severity of a disaster, that may affect these time frames using, for example, estimates from its forecasting and related planning tools.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA stated that the agency has provided a consistent messaging about the timeframe for making approval decisions on disaster loan applications: SBA's goal is to make a decision on all home and business disaster loan applications within 2-3 weeks, and this loan approval timeframe also is referenced in other loan-related resources and media interviews. We will continue to follow up with SBA on whether the agency plans to (a) ensure informational content is consistent across written and online resources, (b) also include in written and online resources the types of documentation SBA may request and general reasons for the information requests, and (c) tailor the general 2-3 week loan decision timeframe to the each disaster, including the severity of the disaster and other factors that may affect the timeframe, by using the agency's forecasting and related planning tools.
    Recommendation: To further assist disaster business loan applicants, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should define technical terminology related to financial statements and other finance terminology on the disaster business loan application forms, in both electronic and paper format. For example, in the online application portal, SBA could incorporate a glossary in the "help" feature. Additionally, SBA could include a glossary in the paper application, so that business applicants who apply by mail can access the definitions as well as the general reasons why such information may be requested.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA stated that the agency is developing a glossary of business financial terms to clearly define terminology used in SBA home and business disaster loan applications and required supporting financial documents. Once completed, SBA stated that it will make the glossary available through the agency's disaster loan assistance portal and the SBA.gov website. We will follow up with SBA once the agency completes the glossary of business financial terms.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of our report, SBA said the report captures its current posture. We plan to follow up.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in agency policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should define the CISO's role in agency policy for ensuring that personnel with significant security responsibilities receive appropriate training.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Small Business administration (SBA) concurs with our recommendation but has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure full compliance with SBIR and STTR spending and reporting requirements and improve participation in the administrative pilot program, the SBA Administrator should review SBA guidance regarding when an agency is required to start up an SBIR or STTR program, and if necessary, update the guidance to provide greater clarity to agencies with research or research and development (R&D) obligations greater than the thresholds for participating.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to SBA officials, as of April 2017, SBA is working to develop language to update its policy directives to provide guidance on when an agency must start an SBIR or STTR program.
    Recommendation: To ensure full compliance with SBIR and STTR spending and reporting requirements and improve participation in the administrative pilot program, the SBA Administrator should complete the required reporting on the administrative pilot program for fiscal year 2014, which could include an evaluation of the potential constraints that may hinder agencies' participation and any steps to address these constraints.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, SBA officials said that SBA is in the process of completing its follow-up with agencies to document agencies' utilization of the administrative pilot program. Specifically, officials said they requested that agencies that planned to participate in the pilot program complete and return a template with information on the pilot program. Once SBA receives that information, officials said they will draft a report. As of April 2017, a formal date for completing and submitting the report has not been established.
    Director: Seto Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of SBA should direct the Associate Administrator of Business Development to document its planned method for tracking revenue generated under subsidiaries' primary and secondary lines of business, with milestones and timelines for when and how the method will be implemented.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO is reviewing documentation that SBA provided regarding actions that it has taken to address this recommendation and is currently determining whether these actions fully address the recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of SBA should direct the Associate Administrator of Business Development to provide the appropriate level of access to and sharing of relevant subsidiary data across district offices, including primary and secondary North American Industry Classification System codes and revenue data, once SBA develops a database with the capabilities of collecting and tracking this revenue data as we recommended in 2012.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO is reviewing documentation that SBA provided regarding actions that it has taken to address this recommendation and is currently determining whether these actions fully address the recommendation.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that federal data center consolidation and optimization efforts improve governmental efficiency and achieve cost savings, the Secretaries of the Departments of the Interior, State, Transportation, and the Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Small Business Administration; the Directors of the National Science Foundation and Office of Personnel Management; and the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should take action to address challenges in establishing, and to complete, planned data center cost savings and avoidance targets for fiscal years 2016 through 2018.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Small Business Administration agreed with our recommendation, but has not yet taken steps to implement it. As of July 2017, the Small Business Administration has not updated its Data Center Optimization Strategic plan to included planned cost and savings and avoidances targets for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA assesses the effectiveness of its programs, the SBA Administrator should prioritize resources to conduct additional program evaluations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA fully meets GPRAMA requirements, the SBA Administrator should use the results of additional evaluations it conducts in its strategic planning process and ensure the agency's next strategic plan includes required information on program evaluations, including a schedule of future evaluations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: SBA officials stated that, as of October 2016, the agency had taken several steps to prioritize resources and establish an implementation plan for future evaluations, including hiring its first lead program evaluator to develop a long-term evaluation agenda and initiating four program evaluations. They stated that once completed, the evaluations would be incorporated into the agency's fiscal year 2018-2022 strategic plan. As of May 2017, SBA had started reviewing guidance on drafting this plan, which is due in February 2018.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to improve SBA's human capital management, the SBA Administrator should incorporate into its next training plan key principles such as goals and measures for its training programs and input on employee development goals.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA's organizational structure helps the agency meet its mission, the SBA Administrator should document the assessment of the agency's organizational structure, including any necessary changes to, for example, better ensure areas of authority, responsibility, and lines of reporting are clear and defined.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to improve SBA's program and management guidance, the SBA Administrator should set time frames for periodically reviewing and updating its SOPs as appropriate.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to help ensure that SBA's IT operations and maintenance investments are continuing to meet business and customer needs and the agency's strategic goals, the SBA Administrator should direct the appropriate officials to perform an annual operational analysis on all SBA investments in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure full compliance with SBIR and STTR spending and reporting requirements, the SBA Administrator should assess the methodology reporting requirement to determine whether it generates adequate information for SBA to analyze the accuracy of agencies' calculations of their extramural R&D. If SBA finds that the information is inadequate, SBA should update its guidance to require adequate information.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2016, SBA proposed expanded guidance to agencies regarding their annual methodology reports in its update to the program policy directives. The proposed guidance required agencies to include an explanation of the calculation of the total extramural research or research and development, an itemization of excluded programs, and an explanation of why the program was excluded, as well as a review of the agency's compliance with the funding requirement for the prior fiscal year and a funding plan for the current fiscal year for how the agency plans to meet or exceed the year's expected minimum obligations requirement. However, according to SBA officials, in January 2017, the policy directive was withdrawn from the Office of Management and Budget and is under further internal consideration in light of a recent executive order. As of April 2017, SBA has not established a time frame for publication of the final policy directive.
    Director: William B.Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve SBA's administration and oversight of the HUBZone program and reduce the risk that firms that no longer meet program eligibility criteria receive HUBZone contracts, the Administrator of SBA should establish a mechanism to better ensure that firms are notified of changes to HUBZone designations that may affect their participation in the program, such as ensuring that all certified firms and newly certified firms are signed up for the broadcast e-mail system or including more specific information in certification letters about how location in a redesignated area can affect their participation in the program

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, SBA improved its notifications to newly certified firms but not to other certified firms. For example, SBA's certification letter to firms with principal offices in a redesignated area specifically states that the firm is in a redesignated area, explains the implications of the designation, and notes when the redesignated status will expire. However, we found in March 2016 that SBA had not yet implemented changes to better ensure that all currently certified firms would be notified of changes that could affect their program eligibility. It is important that all certified firms potentially affected by such changes receive information about the changes or are made aware in a timely fashion of any effects on their program eligibility. As of February 2017, SBA had begun to improve its notifications to all firms. According to SBA officials, the agency has started sending program notices to all the firms in its portfolio. They told us that for its most recent notice in February 2017, the agency copied all the e-mail addresses in its HUBZone database and placed them in the e-mail distribution system. According to SBA officials, SBA intends to repeat this effort with subsequent notices. We will continue to monitor SBA's implementation of this activity.
    Recommendation: To improve SBA's administration and oversight of the HUBZone program and reduce the risk that firms that no longer meet program eligibility criteria receive HUBZone contracts, the Administrator of SBA should conduct an assessment of the recertification process and implement additional controls, such as developing criteria and guidance on using a risk-based approach to requesting and verifying firm information, allowing firms to initiate the recertification process, and ensuring that sufficient staff will be dedicated to the effort so that a significant backlog in recertifications does not recur.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, SBA officials told us that they began automating the process to notify firms that were due for recertification. According to the officials, since September 2015, notification e-mails have been sent daily (compared with the former cycle of two times a year). Each firm due for recertification within the next 30 days would receive the notice. SBA sends a second e-mail to firms that have not responded within 45 days of the first notification. According to SBA officials, as of February 2017, this change has not yet eliminated the backlog. SBA officials informed GAO in May 2017 that they have developed risk-based guidance for conducting recertification reviews and requesting supporting documentation. According to SBA, any certified HUBZone small business concern that has received $1 million or more in HUBZone contract dollars since its initial certification (or its most recent recertification) must submit the following: (a) a list of all current employees, identifying the name of the employee, the employee's address, the number of hours worked per month, and the location where the employee performs his/her work; and (b) payroll documentation. SBA intends to complete the implementation of this policy by the third quarter of 2017.
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the WOSB program, and to help ensure the effective oversight of third-party certifiers, the Administrator of SBA should establish and implement comprehensive procedures to monitor and assess performance of certifiers in accord with the requirements of the third-party certifier agreement and program regulations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, SBA has taken some actions. For example, SBA created a standard operating procedure stating that third-party certifiers are subject to a compliance review by SBA at any time, and SBA has completed a review of the four authorized third-party certifiers. We continue to monitor SBA actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the WOSB program, and to provide reasonable assurance that only eligible businesses obtain WOSB set-aside contracts, the Administrator of SBA should enhance examination of businesses that register to participate in the WOSB program, including actions such as: (1) promptly completing the development of procedures to conduct annual eligibility examinations and implementing such procedures; (2) analyzing examination results and individual businesses found to be ineligible to better understand the cause of the high rate of ineligibility in annual reviews, and determine what actions are needed to address the causes; and (3) implementing ongoing reviews of a sample of all businesses that have represented their eligibility to participate in the program.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, SBA has created a standard operating procedure that includes some procedures for annual eligibility examinations. We continue to monitor SBA actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to ensure that all IT investments are assessed for suitability for migration to a cloud computing service.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are waiting for a response from SBA on the status of efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to establish evaluation dates for those investments identified in this report that have not been assessed for migration to the cloud.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are waiting for a response from the department on the status of efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve compliance with the Small Business Act and enhance SBA's ability to provide oversight of the programs, the SBA Administrator should revise the language in the SBIR and STTR policy directives to accurately summarize the statutory provisions that describe the program spending requirements.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2016, SBA proposed an update to its SBIR and STTR policy directive to state that each participating agency must spend (obligate) the required amounts on the programs, which is consistent with the statutory provisions for program spending requirements. However, according to SBA officials, in January 2017, the policy directive was withdrawn from the Office of Management and Budget and is under further internal consideration in light of a recent executive order. As of April 2017, SBA has not established a time frame for publication of the final policy directive.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    6 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective management of software licenses, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should develop an agency-wide comprehensive policy for the management of software licenses that addresses the weaknesses we identified.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In August 2017, the Small Business Administration (SBA) reported that it has developed and implemented enterprise policies to better manage its software. In addition, SBA reported that it is developing software asset policy and anticipates having it in place by the second quarter of fiscal year 2018. We plan to follow up with the agency to obtain supporting documents and continue to monitor its progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective management of software licenses, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should employ a centralized software license management approach that is coordinated and integrated with key personnel for the majority of agency software license spending and/or enterprise-wide licenses.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, the Small Business Administration (SBA) reported that it has centralized the agency software license management through its Office of the Chief Information Officer. We will follow up with the agency to obtain documentation verifying the implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective management of software licenses, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should establish a comprehensive inventory of software licenses using automated tools for the majority of agency software license spending and/or enterprise-wide licenses.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, the Small Business Administration (SBA) reported that the agency has taken several key steps to establish and build a comprehensive enterprise software inventory such as the use of Microsoft enterprise inventory tools. SBA also reported that it anticipates completing a comprehensive software license inventory by the second quarter of fiscal year 2018. We plan to follow up with the agency to obtain supporting documents and continue to monitor its progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective management of software licenses, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should regularly track and maintain a comprehensive inventory of software licenses using automated tools and metrics.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In August 2017, the Small Business Administration (SBA) reported that it has replaced multiple standalone inventory tracking tools with Microsoft System Center 2016 which provides the SBA enterprise with a single automated tool capability. SBA also reported that it anticipates completing a comprehensive software license inventory by the second quarter of fiscal year 2018. We plan to follow up with the agency to obtain supporting documents and continue to monitor its progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective management of software licenses, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should analyze agency-wide software license data, such as costs, benefits, usage, and trending data, to identify opportunities to reduce costs and better inform investment decision making.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, the Small Business Administration (SBA) reported on actions taken to analyze agency-wide software license data. For example, SBA reported that its Office of the Chief Information Office is leading an agency-wide effort to ensure that SBA is only purchasing the number of licenses needed during the renewal of software licensing contracts. We plan to follow up with the agency to obtain supporting documents and continue to monitor its progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective management of software licenses, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should provide software license management training to appropriate agency personnel addressing contract terms and conditions, negotiations, laws and regulations, acquisition, security planning, and configuration management.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, the Small Business Administration (SBA) reported on actions taken to provide software license management training. For example, SBA reported that officials in the Office of the Chief Information Officer have held multiple sessions on Microsoft licensing practices as well as software licensing, in general. We plan to follow up with the agency to obtain supporting documents and continue to monitor its progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Powner, David A
    Phone: (202)512-9286

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the agency's implementation of PortfolioStat, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should direct the CIO to develop a complete commodity IT baseline.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In a recent GAO review examining whether agencies have complete inventories of business and enterprise IT systems (which represent 2 of the 3 categories of assets called for in the commodity IT baseline), SBA provided an inventory which it acknowledged did not include all systems or represent all offices. (Note: the review was summarized in GAO-16-511 issued in September 2016.) The agency noted that it was working with its offices to complete the inventory and hoped to finalize it and establish processes for updating the inventory, including possibly automating its data gathering abilities. In May 2017, SBA provided an update on the status of actions to address the recommendation. We are currently reviewing the documentation provided to determine whether SBA has fully addressed the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the agency's implementation of PortfolioStat, in future reporting to OMB, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should direct the CIO to fully describe the following PortfolioStat action plan elements: (1) consolidate commodity IT spending under the agency CIO; (2) establish targets for commodity IT spending reductions and deadlines for meeting those targets; (3) target duplicative systems or contracts that support common business functions for consolidation; and (4) establish a process to identify those potential investments and a schedule for eliminating them from the portfolio.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2015, SBA stated it believed the action items would be addressed as part of its actions to implement the provisions of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act. We reviewed the agency's December 2015 plan for implementing the law and an April 2016 update but did not find evidence of actions to address the items in the recommendation. In May 2017, SBA provided an update on the status of actions to address the recommendation. We are currently reviewing the documentation provided to determine whether SBA has fully addressed the recommendation.
    Director: Rusco, Franklin W
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that participating agencies and SBA comply with spending and reporting requirements for the SBIR and STTR programs, the SBA Administrator should provide Congress with a timely annual report that includes a comprehensive analysis of the methodology each agency used for calculating the SBIR and STTR spending requirements, providing a clear basis for SBA's conclusions about whether these calculations meet program requirements.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to SBA officials, as of April 2017, SBA had completed a draft of its report to Congress for fiscal year 2014 and planned to send it to the participating agencies and Office of Management and Budget for review after SBA completed its internal review. The officials said that the report for fiscal year 2015 is being drafted, and SBA is in the process of reviewing the participating agencies' data for fiscal year 2016, which was due to SBA in March 2017. As of April 2017, SBA did not have an anticipated issuance date for the reports to Congress for fiscal years 2014, 2015, or 2016.
    Director: Yager, Loren
    Phone: (202)512-4347

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To more effectively implement SBA's expansion of OIT field staff as required by the SBJA, the Administrator of the SBA should update SBA's plan for additional OIT staff to include funding sources and time frames, as well as possible efficiencies from clearly defining roles and responsibilities and leveraging other entities' export assistance resources.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: SBA concurred with our recommendations and noted that SBA would work to implement the recommendations. SBA agreed that it intends to respond to staffing requirements of the SBJA while acknowledging resource constraints in its next annual report to Congress. In November 2014, SBA officials said that SBA was in the process of evaluating the impact of Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (VSIP) retirements that took place at the end of September 2014 and was developing a plan for reallocating full-time employees (FTEs). They said that at the end of this process, SBA would have a better understanding of the impact on current and future USEAC staffing levels. In September 2015, SBA stated that it was still in the process of evaluating the impact of the VERA/VSIP retirements that took place at the end of September 2014, and was developing a plan for current and future FTEs. In February 2016, SBA's Office of International Trade (OIT) reported that in the first quarter of fiscal year 2016, it was able to fill the 21st of 30 USEAC-based Export Finance Specialist positions. OIT also reported that it has prepared an updated staffing proposal for the remaining nine positions called for under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. OIT noted that filling the remaining nine positions would depend on their receiving additional agency funding. SBA needs to provide documentation of its plan for complying with staffing requirements in the Small Business Jobs Act, or provide evidence that they have reallocated resources to actually do so. As of March 2017, SBA's new leadership was reviewing agency budget and staffing needs and had not provided us with a proposal for filling the remaining positions.
    Director: Cha, Carol
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance federal agencies' ability to realize enterprise architecture benefits, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, the Air Force, the Army, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, the Interior, Labor, the Navy, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Small Business Administration; the Commissioners of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Social Security Administration; and the Directors of the National Science Foundation and the Office of Personnel Management should fully establish an approach for measuring enterprise architecture outcomes, including a documented method (i.e., steps to be followed) and metrics that are measurable, meaningful, repeatable, consistent, actionable, and aligned with the agency's enterprise architecture's strategic goals and intended purpose.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Small Business Administration (SBA) has not implemented our recommendation or established a plan to do so. In April 2014 and May 2015, SBA submitted to the Office of Management and Budget its Enterprise Roadmap, which included metrics associated with the agency's enterprise architecture, such as cost savings gained from consolidating systems. However, as of August 2017, the agency had yet to document the steps to be followed for measuring architecture outcomes. In July 2016, a Program Manager from the SBA Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs stated that, going forward, progress for the SBA enterprise architecture program was expected to be limited because of limited labor resources. Nevertheless, we will continue to monitor the agency's efforts to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance federal agencies' ability to realize enterprise architecture benefits, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, the Air Force, the Army, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, the Interior, Labor, the Navy, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Small Business Administration; the Commissioners of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Social Security Administration; and the Directors of the National Science Foundation and the Office of Personnel Management should periodically measure and report enterprise architecture outcomes and benefits to top agency officials (i.e., executives with authority to commit resources or make changes to the program) and to OMB.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Small Business Administration had not implemented this recommendation. Specifically, it had not demonstrated that it has measured architecture outcomes. In July 2016, the agency reported that, going forward, desired progress for its enterprise architecture program was expected to be limited because of limited labor resources. Nevertheless, we will continue to monitor the agency's efforts to implement the recommendation.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202)512-4325

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should consistently collect information that would enable them to track the specific type of assistance programs provide and the entrepreneurs they serve and use this information to help administer their programs.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2017, SBA noted that it continues to evaluate its entrepreneurial development programs through third-party evaluations and limited data collected from their resource partners and will use this information to guide program development. In addition, SBA participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce's Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for SBA to follow through on the initiatives described above and collect information for the additional six programs identified in our report as lacking information.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should conduct more program evaluations to better understand why programs have not met performance goals and their overall effectiveness.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2017, SBA noted that it had taken a number of steps to build its program evaluation function, including (1) hiring its first lead program evaluator in August 2016 to manage new and coordinate ongoing agency program evaluations, (2) drafting a program evaluation framework that will support the agency's efforts to conduct, monitor, and implement findings from evaluations, and (3) creating a performance and evaluation community of practice that meets on a monthly basis to discuss program evaluation principles and address questions for the framework (e.g., data sharing, definitions, learning agendas). SBA expects to start new program evaluations in 2017. In addition, SBA participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce's Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for SBA to follow through on the initiatives described above that are intended to improve the evaluation of programs that provide assistance to entrepreneurs.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of tribal firms' participation in the 8(a) program, the Administrator of SBA should, as the new 8(a) tracking database is being developed, take steps toensure that it has the capability to (1) provide visibility to district offices into all tribal 8(a) firms' activity by tribal entity to ensure compliance with new prohibition to award sole-source 8(a) follow-on contracts to sister subsidiaries; (2) track revenue from tribal 8(a) firms' primary and secondary industry codes to ensure that subsidiaries under the same parent company are not generating the majority of their revenue from the same primary industry; and (3) track information on 8(a) contracts and task or delivery orders,including orders awarded under basic ordering agreements, tohelp ensure that district officials have information necessary toenforce the 8(a) program regulations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Small Business Administration (SBA) neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. In June 2015, SBA officials told GAO that they will use a high risk model of random surveillance to track revenue in primary and secondary codes for entity-owned firms, such as tribal 8(a) firms. SBA will include this as a part of the continuing eligibility process, and will randomly select entity-owned firms and subsidiaries for the deep dive. As part of this effort, SBA will pull data from the Federal Procurement Data System to determine what industry codes the subsidiaries are earning revenues. SBA will look for firms generating revenue in another industry code that exceeds the revenue in their primary industry code when the revenue also aligns under the primary industry code of another subsidiary firm for two consecutive years. These firms will be notified of SBA's concern in writing during their continuing eligibility review to be vigilant to avoid further action by the SBA. In February 2016, SBA informed us that it had delayed plans for the random surveillance, and had taken steps in the interim to begin monitoring the revenue generated under a subsidiary's primary and secondary NAICS codes by tracking award obligations for all entity-owned firms in a spreadsheet. SBA officials told us that the spreadsheet is a stop gap measure until the database can be developed. We asked for updates to steps taken but as of September 2017, no updates were provided. We will continue to track progress on the development of this randomized analysis and other efforts to provide the necessary visibility to all district offices on tribal 8(a) firms participation in the 8(a) program.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide more meaningful access to LEP populations, the Administrator of SBA should finalize and issue its LEP plan and recipient guidance.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: Executive Order 13166 requires federal agencies to examine how to improve access for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) to programs, services, and activities conducted by both federal agencies as well as state, local, and regional entities that receive federal financial assistance (a group referred to in the Executive Order as "recipients"). While the Executive Order does not prescribe specific approaches for improving access for LEP persons, it does require federal agencies to develop guidelines (referred to as "recipient guidance") that clarify the obligations of state, local, and regional entities. Agencies are also required to prepare LEP plans outlining the steps the agency will take to ensure that eligible LEP persons can access their programs and activities. In our April 2010 report on language access issues, we determined that the Small Business Administration (SBA) had not issued its recipient guidance or LEP plan. SBA officials attributed the delay to several factors, including staff turnover in key positions responsible for developing and approving their LEP Plan and recipient guidance as well as a major transformation effort involving SBA's business operations, goals, and staffing arrangements. As a result, our report recommended that the SBA Administrator finalize and issue SBA's LEP Plan and recipient guidance. As of February 2017, SBA's audit liaison reported that SBA's LEP Plan and recipient guidance are being revised based on comments from a review by the Department of Justice.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202)512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better address the purpose of the 8(a) program, meet the needs and expectations of the firms in the program, and improve SBA's ability to determine how well the program is working, the Administrator, SBA, should periodically perform a nationwide sample survey of 8(a) firms to obtain measurable program data. At a minimum, the survey should assess whether SBA assistance is meeting the firms' expectations and needs.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA drafted a plan for providing individualized business development assistance to 8(a) firms, along with an assessment tool--the 8(a) Business Development Assessment Tool (BDAT). A subsequent evaluation of BDAT revealed that the tool would not provide the expected outcome. Consequently, the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development launched a more broad modernization effort in December of 2011. One of the outcomes of that effort was the conceptualization of the One Track Certification Management System (One Track CMS), which included many of the requirements from the BDAT. However, SBA experienced some delays regarding the contract for development and the ultimate implementation of the One Track CMS. On June 3, 2015, SBA and GAO staff met to discuss the status of open SBA 8(a) program recommendations. This recommendation was mentioned, but, no updates on the current status of this recommendation were provided. The One Track CMS was not yet operational as of the date of that meeting.
    Recommendation: To better address the purpose of the 8(a) program, meet the needs and expectations of the firms in the program, and improve SBA's ability to determine how well the program is working, the Administrator, SBA, should provide a method for collecting data on each firm's training needs for tracking the assistance provided.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: With the deployment of the Business Development Management Information System on July 28, 2008, along with an 8(a) Business Development Assessment Tool (BDAT)--which will entail an enhancement of SBA's Business Development Management Information System--SBA stated that it will be able to annually collect data that will be used to assess an 8(a) participant's needs for technical assistance and training. A subsequent evaluation of BDAT revealed that the tool would not provide the expected outcome. Consequently, the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development launched a more broad modernization effort in December of 2011. One of the outcomes of that effort was the conceptualization of One Track Certification Management System (One Track CMS), which included many of the requirements from the BDAT. However, SBA experienced some delays regarding the contract for development and the ultimate implementation of the One Track CMS. On June 3, 2015, SBA and GAO staff met to discuss the status of open SBA 8(a) program recommendations. This recommendation was mentioned, but no updates on the current status of this recommendation were provided. The One Track CMS was not yet operational as of the date of that meeting.