"Follow the money" is a catchphrase popularized by the 1976 docudrama film All the President's Men, which suggests political corruption can be brought to light by examining money transfers between parties.
While the term was popularized in the 1970’s, the premise behind the statement has been around for a century. In Latin, the term Cui bono? means "to whom is it a benefit?"
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (FFATA) was signed into law on September 26, 2006. The legislation required that federal contract, grant, loan, and other financial assistance awards of more than $25,000 be displayed on a publicly accessible and searchable website to give the American public access to information on how their tax dollars are being spent. In 2008, FFATA was amended by the Government Funding Transparency Act, which required prime recipients to report details on their first-tier sub-recipients for awards made as of October 1, 2010.
The Department of the Treasury (Treasury)—which runs the site—has taken steps to provide transparent information and foster accountability to the public on government spending. In 2014 the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of (DATA Act), was signed and Booz Allen Hamilton, teaming with Kearney & Company, was brought on to build a new USASpending.gov site designed to give Americans a clearer understanding of how their tax dollars are spent.
As of fall 2018, there were more than one hundred million records, including contracts, grants, and other types of spending in our database. Yet in survey of four thousand federal managers, 92% said they had not heard of USASpending.gov
The website enables searching of federal awards from FY2008 to the present. Data is uploaded directly from more than a hundred federal agencies' financial systems. Data is also pulled or derived from other government systems. For example, contract award data is pulled into USASpending.gov daily from the Federal Procurement Data System Next Generation (FPDS-NG), which is the system of record for federal procurement data; Financial Assistance award data is loaded in from the Financial Assistance Broker Submission system (FABS). In the end, more than four hundred points of data are collected.
Every agency has a Senior Accountable Official who must officially certify that the quarterly financial data submitted by their agency is accurate and complete. The agency's data is published on USASpending.gov only after it has been certified.
At this point you may be asking, “who cares?” If you have a desire to win governments, the answer is YOU!
There are several ways to use USASpending.gov to help grow your government contracting business, here are just a few:
- Search by NAICS code to determine which agencies spend the most money in your industry.
- Search by NAICS code for which prime contractors are winning contracts in your industry.
- Search by Type of Set-Aside to learn which set-aside contracts have been awarded.
- Search by PSC Codes to narrow the spending to specific areas of a NAICS code.
- Search by location of contracts, especially of your business is location dependent.
- Search who is winning disaster emergency funds contracts.
- Search for awards using Simplified Acquisition Procedure to find agencies who prefer this vehicle.
When you start combining these searches you have a nearly unlimited number of searches you can use to help grow your government contracting business.
When was the last time you visited USASpending.gov?