DATA Act Compliance Has Arrived

Three years of planning the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) came to fruition on May 9, 2017 as Federal agencies were required to begin reporting spending by using governmentwide, standardized data elements.

Prior to the DATA Act, agencies used differing data elements and definitions to report spending. Use of the Act’s open and uniform standards is meant to improve reliability and access to the government’s financial data. reported that most agencies, in varying degrees, met the deadline of submitting financial data from the second quarter of fiscal year 2017.

On the same day the DATA Act came into effect, the Treasury Department released a new beta version of in accordance with the DATA Act requirements. Treasury describes the website as the “new official source of accessible, searchable and reliable spending data for the U.S. Government.” The data is open and machine-readable, and users can download and search through data sets. The data includes both agency appropriations and expenditures, including: grants, contracts, loans, and employee salaries.

Agency compliance with the DATA Act remains a work in progress. On May 8, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Treasury requesting information on how each agency is responding to the recommendations from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to improve the implementation of the DATA Act. The Committee requested the agencies respond by May 22, which have not been released.

Additional provisions in the DATA Act also provide for the following upcoming milestones:

  • August 7, 2017. OMB must submit a report to Congress detailing the results from the Section 5 pilot programs for grant recipients and contractors. The pilot programs tested different methods and procedures to reduce reporting redundancies and recipient burden.
  • November 8, 2017. The GAO must issue a report evaluating agency compliance with the DATA Act.
  • August 7, 2018. OMB must decide if grant recipients and contractors must use the DATA Act standards in financial reporting.

As always, it’s important to stay up to date on all things related to the legally compliant administration of Federal grants. Our Federal Grants Update course keeps you current, and covers a wide variety of developments and updates in just one day of training.

Also, check out our previous blog posts on DATA Act implementation, and subscribe to this blog (using the form on the upper right!) to receive the latest compliance news and updates for all things Federal grants.

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