GAO: OMB Should Address Data Quality Challenges Ahead of Federal Spending Report Deadline

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The Government Accountability Office has identified challenges in accounting, financial management systems and information technology security pose risks to agencies’ compliance with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, the GAO said Friday

The legislation requires agencies to make federal spending data publicly available through USASpending.gov by May 2017.

Auditors identified vulnerabilities in government-wide financial management systems used for DATA Act reporting.

GAO also found challenges involving agencies’ efforts to report intragovernmental transactions, to reconcile recipient address information,and align required DATA Act files with missing data.

The government watchdog added that the Office of Management and Budget should give agencies additional guidance to address data quality issues.

OMB and the Treasury Department said they do not to expect to mitigate the issues before the DATA Act reporting deadline.

GAO also identified concerns regarding data quality assurance processes, which OMB plans to address by finalizing the assurance process ahead of the deadline.

OMB established the Data Standards Committee in November 2016 to help clarify data element definitions and identify needs for new standards.

The committee is required to publicly reveal the topics and outcomes of its proceedings to promote transparency, but OMB has not kept records of the committee’s meetings, according to GAO.

GAO called on the OMB director to make sure that the Data Standards Committee releases public information on the topics and outcomes of its meetings.

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