August , 2015 – NAFOA Policy Alert: Tribal Governments Should Prepare for the DATA Act Now
Early last year the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) was signed into law, requiring the Department of Treasury to standardized financial data and expand the amount of data reported to federal agencies by 2018. The goal of this Act is to make federal expenditures easier to access and simpler to understand. In other words, this Act will require Tribal governments, and other local governments, to adopt the technology and processes necessary to report quarterly on how federal funds are spent.
NAFOA has provided three tips for Tribal governments to follow in order to become more prepared for these changes: 1) Start implementing the standard data definitions: a list of standard definitions and terms for exchanging data can be found on the treasury website; 2) Prepare for machine-readable data submission: machine-readable formats will be standard for data reporting to eliminate data entry redundancies; 3) Streamline grant management processes: the DATA Act will not change the information currently reported, but will change the way the data is gathered.
The DATA Act calls for three pilot years, but early implementation will ensure Tribal governments have a solid understanding of the new changes.