The DATA Act requires federal agencies to report their spending data via USASpending.gov to make it more transparent to the public.
We reviewed GAO’s fiscal year 2019 DATA Act submission for the first quarter. It was timely, complete, and of high quality, adhering to the data standards established by the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of the Treasury.
However, GAO can strengthen its DATA Act controls to ensure the continued accuracy and compliance of its submissions. Among other things, we recommended procedures to ensure that spending data is properly categorized and accurately reflected on USASpending.gov.
Federal spending data is shared on USASpending.gov
A computer screen with usaspending.gov pulled up and the words 'In 2018, the government spent $4.11 trillion.'
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 Williams Adley 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, accuracy, timeliness, and quality of the financial and award data GAO submitted for publication on USASpending.gov for the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2019 and (2) GAO’s implementation and use of the Government-wide financial data standards established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of the Treasury.
What OIG Found
The audit found that GAO’s FY 2019, first quarter submission for publication on USASpending.gov was accurate, timely, complete, and data was of high quality. However, it identified areas where GAO can strengthen its DATA Act controls to help ensure the continued accuracy of its submission and maintain full compliance with the required data elements. These areas included improvements needed in the interface between GAO’s system (Momentum) with the Federal Procurement Data System - Next Generation, DATA Act documentation policy, and the mapping to data elements.
What OIG Recommends
The report contains three recommendations intended to strengthen GAO’s DATA Act controls and procedures for future DATA Act submissions. Specifically, the report recommends that GAO (1) coordinate with its contractor to address the identified interface issues, (2) update its DATA Act standard operating procedures based on the requirements in its record retention and email policy, and (3) implement procedures to ensure obligations are properly assigned to the proper project group and fund groups to allow mapping to a valid program activity. GAO agreed with the report findings and recommendations, and indicated that it has implemented the necessary corrective actions. The OIG will conduct follow-up work to assess GAO’s actions to address the recommendations and report the status of those actions in its semiannual report to Congress.
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