OMB simplifies federal spending portal guidance

The Office of Management and Budget has clarified and simplified agency requirements for reporting financial transaction data to the federal spending database, USAspending.gov.

Robert Shea, OMB’s associate director for administration and government performance, sent a memo to agency heads March 6 that details new operational guidelines for agency submissions to meet the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act.

The biggest change in the guidance is to require agencies to report their data by the 20th day of each month, or the first business day after if the 20th lands on a weekend or holiday, Shea said.

Each submission should include new data and any modifications to data submitted previously, the memo states.

“We also made it easier for the technical folks to load the data,” he said. “The upload to the site is smoother because we clarified fields, the format of the data and the naming convention of files.”

Shea also reiterated OMB’s focus on data quality. The administration will grade agencies on how good and complete the information they submit to the spending portal is using a red, yellow and green scoring system.

“Agencies should redouble efforts to improve data quality, as much of the data submitted for posting to the USAspending.gov in the past has been incomplete, untimely, and inaccurate,” Shea wrote. “In compliance with OMB Circular A-123, it is essential for agencies to apply appropriate internal controls to effectively manage the accuracy, integrity, timeliness, and appropriate privacy of all data submitted to USAspending.gov.”

Shea said it is important that agencies provide information about which  account the money is coming from.

By summer, the General Services Administration is to modify the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation to accept submission of the Treasury Accounting Symbol with contract data.

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