Recommendations Database

GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed. GAO’s priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. Below you can search only priority recommendations, or search all recommendations.

Our recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Moreover, when implemented, some of our priority recommendations can save large amounts of money, help Congress make decisions on major issues, and substantially improve or transform major government programs or agencies, among other benefits.

As of November 30, 2021, there are 4659 open recommendations, of which 482 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.

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1 - 17 of 17 Recommendations
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Management Report: Improvements Needed in Controls over the Processes Used to Prepare the U.S. Consolidated Financial Statements

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3 Open Recommendations
3 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
We recommend that the Secretary of the Treasury ensure that the Fiscal Assistant Secretary enhances Treasury's process for revising accounting and reporting policies to reasonably assure that financial information—including the SOCNP, Funds from Dedicated Collections note, and Other Liabilities note—is prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP and sufficiently documented to allow effective management review. (Recommendation 2)
Open

As of the completion of our fiscal year 2020 audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government (CFS), this recommendation remains open. Treasury's corrective actions focused on obtaining audited information from significant component entities to support the preparation of the Statement of Operations and Changes in Net Position, Funds from Dedicated Collections note, and Other Liabilities note in accordance with U.S. GAAP. In fiscal year 2021, Treasury plans to outline the process to be followed for revising accounting and reporting policies for the CFS. We will follow-up on

Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
We recommend that the Secretary of the Treasury ensure that the Fiscal Assistant Secretary enhances existing procedures to reasonably assure that disclosures for financial information incorporated using accounting standards issued by FASB are prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP, such as improving (1) the quantitative analysis to consider all FASB information included in the CFS, (2) the FASB questionnaire to consider all relevant disclosures and obtain responses from all significant component entities, and (3) procedures for sufficiently documenting analyses and conclusions related to FASB information in the CFS. (Recommendation 3)
Open

As of the completion of our fiscal year 2020 audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government (CFS), this recommendation remains open. We continued to find Treasury does not have adequate procedures for determining appropriate disclosures for FASB Information. Treasury has begun work on corrective actions to enhance policies and procedures. We will follow-up on progress made by Treasury as part of our fiscal year 2021 CFS audit.

Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
We recommend that the Secretary of the Treasury ensure that the Fiscal Assistant Secretary enhances Treasury's procedures for the aggregate analysis to consider the impact of all amounts not obtained from significant entity audited financial statements on the reliability of the CFS and use the results to determine if audit coverage is needed for any information. (Recommendation 1)
Open

As of the completion of our fiscal year 2020 audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government (CFS), this recommendation remains open. Treasury has initiated corrective actions, such as analyzing amounts included in the CFS that are not obtained from significant entity audited financial statements. Treasury worked with OMB to require federal entities, per OMB Circular No. A-136, to report certain financial information in their fiscal year 2020 audited financial statements in order to obtain the necessary audit coverage for the CFS. Additional corrective actions are needed

Cybersecurity Workforce: Agencies Need to Accurately Categorize Positions to Effectively Identify Critical Staffing Needs

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To complete the appropriate assignment of codes to their positions performing IT, cybersecurity, or cyber-related functions, in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act of 2015, the Secretary of Treasury should take steps to review the assignment of the "000" code to any positions in the department in the 2210 IT management occupational series and assign the appropriate NICE framework work role codes. (Recommendation 17)
Open

Treasury partially concurred with the recommendation and stated that some positions may not align to work roles in the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education's (NICE) cybersecurity workforce framework. In March 2021, Treasury provided an action plan for addressing the recommendation. According to the plan, Treasury plans to work with its bureaus to review and validate the work role codes of its positions in the 2210 IT Management occupational series, and plans to complete this effort by September 30, 2021. We will continue to monitor the status of the department's actions. Until it

Critical Infrastructure Protection: Additional Actions Are Essential for Assessing Cybersecurity Framework Adoption

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Treasury should take steps to consult with respective sector partner(s), such as the SCC, DHS and NIST, as appropriate, to develop methods for determining the level and type of framework adoption by entities across their respective sector. (Recommendation 9)
Open

The Department of the Treasury neither agreed nor disagreed with the recommendation in our report. The department stated that it will assess using the identified initiatives and their viability for collecting and reporting sector-wide improvements from use of the framework with input from the sector coordinating council (SCC) and financial regulators. Treasury officials stated that the department, in coordination with the Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee, and in consultation with NIST, developed the Cybersecurity Lexicon in March 2018. The lexicon addressed, among

IT Workforce: Key Practices Help Ensure Strong Integrated Program Teams; Selected Departments Need to Assess Skill Gaps

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To facilitate the analysis of gaps between current skills and future needs, the development of strategies for filling the gaps, and succession planning, the Secretary of the Treasury should require the Chief Information Officer, Chief Human Capital Officer, and other senior managers as appropriate to address the shortfalls in IT workforce planning noted in this report, including the following actions: (1) establish and maintain a workforce planning process; (2) develop competency and staffing requirements for all positions; (3) assess competency and staffing needs regularly; (4) assess gaps in competencies and staffing for all components of the workforce; (5) develop strategies and plans to address gaps in competencies and staffing for all components of the workforce; (6) implement activities that address gaps, including a career path for program managers and special hiring authorities, if justified and cost-effective; (7) monitor the department's progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps; and (8) report to department leadership on progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps for all components of the workforce.
Open

Treasury agreed with this recommendation. As of March 2021, Treasury had fully implemented two activities. Specifically, in October 2019, we reported that Treasury had fully implemented the activity to develop competency and staffing requirements. In March 2021, Treasury also provided documentation demonstrating that it had fully implemented the activity to assess competency and staffing needs regularly. Specifically, Treasury provided an updated IT competency framework for its 2210 IT specialist staff. Moreover, Treasury stated that it plans to initiate a department-wide workforce study

New Markets Tax Credit: Better Controls and Data Are Needed to Ensure Effectiveness

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of the Treasury should issue guidance on how funding or assistance from other government programs can be combined with the NMTC including the extent to which other government funds can be used to leverage the NMTC by being included in the qualified equity investment.
Open

The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) has not issued guidance on how funding or assistance from other government programs can be combined with the NMTC, as GAO recommended in July 2014. However, Treasury has taken steps toward addressing this action. The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund), which administers the NMTC program, completed new empirical research assessing the extent to which other government programs are being combined with the NMTC. The findings of this research (issued in August 2017) indicate that some NMTC projects, especially those using other

Management Report: Improvements Needed in Controls over the Processes Used to Prepare the U.S. Consolidated Financial Statements

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2 Open Recommendations
2 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB, to establish a formalized process to require the performance of additional audit procedures specifically focused on intragovernmental activity and balances between federal entities to provide increased audit assurance over the reliability of such information.
Open

As of the completion of our fiscal year 2020 audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government (CFS), this recommendation remained open. Treasury did not perform corrective actions in FY 2020 to address this recommendation. We will follow-up on progress made by Treasury and OMB as part of our fiscal year 2021 CFS audit.

Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB, to establish and implement policies and procedures for accounting for and reporting all significant General Fund activity and balances, obtaining assurance on the reliability of the amounts, and reconciling the activity and balances between the General Fund and federal entities.
Open

As of the completion of our fiscal year 2020 audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government (CFS), this recommendation remained open. Treasury continues to make progress by (1) improving the accounting for and reporting of General Fund activity and balances, (2) working to resolve significant differences between the General Fund and federal entity trading partners, and (3) including differences involving General Fund activity and balances in the quarterly scorecard process. During fiscal year 2020, Treasury developed new transaction codes and issued additional guidance

Management Report: Improvements Needed in Controls over the Preparation of the U.S. Consolidated Financial Statements

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2 Open Recommendations
2 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To improve the reliability of the information presented in the CFS budget statements, the Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management, to establish and implement effective procedures for identifying and reporting all items needed to prepare the CFS budget statements.
Open

As of the completion of our fiscal year 2020 audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government (CFS), this recommendation remained open. In fiscal year 2020, Treasury continued to implement procedures and develop new transaction codes to improve the accounting for and reporting of General Fund transactions and balances that Treasury uses to compute the budget deficit reported in the Reconciliation Statements. However, additional work is needed in determining the appropriate presentation for the reconciling items, which could affect the line items included. We will follow-up

Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To improve the reliability of the information presented in the CFS budget statements, the Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management, to establish and implement effective procedures for reporting amounts in the CFS budget statements that are fully consistent with the underlying information in significant federal entities' audited financial statements and other financial data.
Open

As of the completion of our fiscal year 2020 audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government (CFS), this recommendation remained open. Treasury continued to develop its budget deficit/surplus and cash reconciliation procedures. Specifically, Treasury continued to provide federal entities with additional guidance to supplement the Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standards (SFFAS) 53: Budget and Accrual Reconciliation (BAR), and to work with federal entities to ensure that they are implementing the BAR consistently. However, additional work is needed to reconcile

Government Performance and Accountability: Tax Expenditures Represent a Substantial Federal Commitment and Need to Be Reexamined

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To ensure that policymakers and the public have the necessary information to make informed decisions and to improve the progress toward exercising greater scrutiny of tax expenditures, the Director of OMB, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, should develop and implement a framework for conducting performance reviews of tax expenditures. In developing the framework, the Director should (1) determine which agencies will have leadership responsibilities to review tax expenditures, how reviews will be coordinated among agencies with related responsibilities, and how to address the lack of credible performance information on tax expenditures; (2) set a schedule for conducting tax expenditure evaluations; (3) re-establish appropriate methods to test the overall evaluation framework and make improvements as experience is gained; and (4) to identify any additional resources that may be needed for tax expenditure reviews.
Open

Treasury did not submit comments on this report and deferred to OMB. OMB agreed that this recommendation had promise and also said that tax expenditure evaluations were the responsibility of Treasury, which had access to the necessary data. As of June 2021, the Director of OMB had not taken action to develop a framework for reviewing tax expenditure performance, as GAO recommended in June 1994 and again in September 2005. Since their initial efforts in 1997 and 1999 to outline a framework for evaluating tax expenditures and preliminary performance measures, OMB and the Department of the

Financial Audit: Process for Preparing the Consolidated Financial Statements of the U.S. Government Needs Improvement

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5 Open Recommendations
5 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management, to establish written policies and procedures to help ensure that major treaty and other international agreement information is properly identified and reported in the CFS. Specifically, these policies and procedures should require that agencies develop a detailed schedule of all major treaties and other international agreements that obligate the U.S. government to provide cash, goods, or services, or that create other financial arrangements that are contingent on the occurrence or nonoccurrence of future events (a starting point for compiling these data could be the State Department's Treaties in Force).
Open

As of the completion of our fiscal year 2020 audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government (CFS), this recommendation remained open. A working group through the Chief Financial Officers Council (CFOC) has been formed to address this issue. In fiscal year 2020, the CFOC Treaties Working Group, primarily Treasury and the State Department, developed a new methodology for assessing contingent liabilities in treaties and other international agreements. At the end of fiscal year 2020, the Treaties Working Group was in the process of incorporating GAO's feedback to improve the

Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management, to establish written policies and procedures to help ensure that major treaty and other international agreement information is properly identified and reported in the CFS. Specifically, these policies and procedures should require that agencies classify all such scheduled major treaties and other international agreements as commitments or contingencies.
Open

As of the completion of our fiscal year 2020 audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government (CFS), this recommendation remained open. A working group through the Chief Financial Officers Council (CFOC) has been formed to address this issue. In fiscal year 2020, the CFOC Treaties Working Group, primarily Treasury and the State Department, developed a new methodology for assessing contingent liabilities in treaties and other international agreements. At the end of fiscal year 2020, the Treaties Working Group was in the process of incorporating GAO's feedback to improve the

Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management, to establish written policies and procedures to help ensure that major treaty and other international agreement information is properly identified and reported in the CFS. Specifically, these policies and procedures should require that agencies disclose in the notes to the CFS amounts for major treaties and other international agreements that have a reasonably possible chance of resulting in a loss or claim as a contingency.
Open

As of the completion of our fiscal year 2020 audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government (CFS), this recommendation remained open. A working group through the Chief Financial Officers Council (CFOC) has been formed to address this issue. In fiscal year 2020, the CFOC Treaties Working Group, primarily Treasury and the State Department, developed a new methodology for assessing contingent liabilities in treaties and other international agreements. At the end of fiscal year 2020, the Treaties Working Group was in the process of incorporating GAO's feedback to improve the

Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management, to establish written policies and procedures to help ensure that major treaty and other international agreement information is properly identified and reported in the CFS. Specifically, these policies and procedures should require that agencies disclose in the notes to the CFS amounts for major treaties and other international agreements that are classified as commitments and that may require measurable future financial obligations.
Open

As of the completion of our fiscal year 2020 audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government (CFS), this recommendation remained open. A working group through the Chief Financial Officers Council (CFOC) has been formed to address this issue. In fiscal year 2020, the CFOC Treaties Working Group, primarily Treasury and the State Department, developed a new methodology for assessing contingent liabilities in treaties and other international agreements. At the end of fiscal year 2020, the Treaties Working Group was in the process of incorporating GAO's feedback to improve the

Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management, to establish written policies and procedures to help ensure that major treaty and other international agreement information is properly identified and reported in the CFS. Specifically, these policies and procedures should require that agencies take steps to prevent major treaties and other international agreements that are classified as remote from being recorded or disclosed as probable or reasonably possible in the CFS.
Open

As of the completion of our fiscal year 2020 audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government (CFS), this recommendation remained open. A working group through the Chief Financial Officers Council (CFOC) has been formed to address this issue. In fiscal year 2020, the CFOC Treaties Working Group, primarily Treasury and the State Department, developed a new methodology for assessing contingent liabilities in treaties and other international agreements. At the end of fiscal year 2020, the Treaties Working Group was in the process of incorporating GAO's feedback to improve the

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