The DATA Act: are you ready for what's next?

The DATA Act: are you ready for what's next?
July 15, 2014

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA) is no longer a point of speculation. It has been signed into law.

According to the Data Transparency Coalition, the DATA Act is the first data transparency law in the United States. By standardizing data reporting, the act aims to increase the accountability and accessibility of information to taxpayers and citizens. Find more details here.

Enforcing the DATA Act is expected to be a long, slow process. We won't see the impact for a couple of years, but government agencies are already gearing up for it. Here's what you need to know about how the changes will affect your organization—and how you can prepare for the act's implementation.

    Step 1: Determine whether you're affected
    The DATA Act will primarily affect federal agencies that rely heavily on government support. If your organization receives federal funding in the form of contracts, loans, or grants, you may be required in the future to report on how these funds are being used.

    Step 2: Add new reporting requirements to your workflow
    Gather a team to focus on integrating new reporting standards into your current workflow as they are established. This will allow you to make adjustments for new regulations and enable you to maintain transparent, up-to-date reports, keeping your organization in compliance.

    Step 3: Make sure you're in compliance
    Once the provisions of the DATA Act begin to be enforced, it will be key to stay on top of what is required of your organization. You will need to keep an eye out for evolving regulations and standards. Be sure you understand the risks of failing to report how your federal funds are being spent.

The DATA Act is a step forward in encouraging transparency. The benefits are far-reaching—from reducing waste and fraud to making information accessible to taxpayers. By staying proactive, your company will be better prepared to integrate these new requirements and standards to your current reporting processes.

Mike Starr

About the author

Mike Starr, Vice President, Governmental and Regulatory Affairs, joined the Workiva team in September 2012. Mike previously served as the SEC Chief Accountant's advisor and acted as a liaison aimed to improve the quality of accounting and auditing decisions. Prior to his work with the SEC, Mike served as Chief Operating Officer for Grant Thornton International Ltd., where he oversaw global strategy and public policy. He earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Oklahoma State University (OSU), and in 2010 was recognized as an OSU distinguished accounting alumnus and inducted into the School of Accounting Hall of Fame.