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Government Accountability Office Flags Data Issues in Federal Audit Clearinghouse

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The General Services Administration’s Federal Audit Clearinghouse, responsible for housing single audits of non-federal grant recipients as per the Single Audit Act, has come under scrutiny by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Jim Dalkin, the Director of Financial Management and Assurance at the GAO, highlighted significant data challenges within the clearinghouse affecting government audit processes.

Single audits, mandated for grants exceeding $750,000, are conducted by external auditors to ensure proper fund utilization by recipients. The Federal Audit Clearinghouse serves as the repository for these audit results, offering insight into grantee spending.

GAO’s review uncovered inconsistencies, data limitations, and severe and persistent control issues within the clearinghouse. These issues, concerning the accuracy and reliability of data, present obstacles for agencies tasked with audit oversight.

The GAO’s report prompted ten recommendations, with a focus on improving data management and system functionality. Four recommendations are directed at the GSA, while six target the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Recommendations include enhancing data checks, developing features for data mining, and establishing mechanisms for tracking missing reports. OMB was urged to conduct quality reviews and address severe and persistent audit findings prevalent in the $7 trillion federal grant landscape between 2017 and 2021.

As the GSA and OMB strategize to rectify the identified shortcomings, the Federal Audit Clearinghouse’s role in overseeing grant spending remains pivotal for ensuring fiscal responsibility across federal programs.

Rachel Adams

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