Priority Open Recommendations: Small Business Administration

GAO-20-501PR Published: Apr 21, 2020. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 2020.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to the recommendations where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.

This report outlines our eight priority open recommendations for the Small Business Administration as of April 2020.

For example, we recommended that SBA establish a process for conducting an organization-wide cybersecurity risk assessment.

Since our previous letter in April 2019, SBA implemented two of our priority recommendations.

Graphic for SBA priority open recommendations

Graphic for SBA priority open recommendations

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What GAO Found

In April 2019, GAO identified 5 priority recommendations for the Small Business Administration (SBA). Since then, SBA has implemented 2 of those recommendations by, among other things, entering into an agreement with the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to share loan data, enabling them to analyze borrower characteristics for loan programs.

In April 2020, GAO identified 5 additional priority recommendations for SBA, bringing the total number to 8. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • improving the agency's ability to respond to disasters.
  • requiring lenders to assess borrower's ability to obtain credit elsewhere.
  • improving the agency's ability to address cybersecurity threats.
  • addressing staffing requirements and controls related to export promotion.

SBA's continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact William B. Shear at (202) 512-8678 or

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