A majority of surveyed agencies who used shared services to comply with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) experienced challenges, which affected the timeliness and accuracy of their submissions, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released July 18.
Under the DATA Act, agencies must report financial and award data to the Department of the Treasury, while complying with data standards set by Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Many smaller agencies use shared service providers to complete these submissions, with four shared service providers offering assistance. Out of the 60 agencies using a shared service provider, 27 responded to GAO’s survey.
GAO’s survey found that 16 of the 27 respondents reported issues with using a shared service provider, with the most common complaints revolving around dependencies that slow the process and resource issues at the shared service provider.
“Depending on the effectiveness of agencies’ and SSPs’ actions to address them, these challenges may increase the risk that agencies will be unable to submit quality data in accordance with the DATA Act,” the report notes.
To fix these issues, agencies have engaged in more communication with shared service providers and improved their technology to facilitate better integrations, the report notes. Nine agencies noted that they needed to take additional steps, including correcting data, improved communication, and developing guidance on data quality plans and related areas. Five agencies noted the need for additional guidance from OMB or Treasury to help with the process of using shared service providers for DATA Act submissions.