Small Businesses and Financial Technology

photo of a pile of moneyIn today’s world, it’s not unusual for people to go online to conduct all kinds of business that used to be done face-to-face. It is not surprising then that new technologies are being used to provide financial services directly to consumers. These innovations are known as “FinTech” (financial technology). We looked at a number of issues related to the burgeoning FinTech industry. Continue reading

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How to Save (A Lot More Than) A Billion—Reducing Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication in Government Programs

Duplication iconToday we released our latest report on fragmentation, overlap, and duplication among federal programs. Since 2011, we’ve been reporting on ways the government can be more efficient and save taxpayer money by looking for programs that

  • work on different parts of the same goal or are broken out across different parts of the same agency (fragmentation)
  • have similar goals or provide similar services (overlap)
  • work on the same activities or provide the same services (duplication)

Continue reading

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Housing with Supportive Services for Veterans

The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated that nearly 40,000 veterans were homeless as of January 2016—making up about 10 percent of all people experiencing homelessness.

To help, the government is converting unneeded federal property into supportive housing for some of these vets. Today’s WatchBlog takes you inside some of these properties and shares what the Department of Veterans Affairs needs to do to improve its supportive housing program. Continue reading

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Taking a Big Bite in GAO’s New Podcasts

GAO's Watchdog Report Big Bite!The concept behind GAO’s original Watchdog Report podcast was to take a long report and distill it to a 5-minute conversation about the bottom line. We think it’s been pretty well received—we have over 400,000 downloads of our episodes and our ratings average 4.5 stars on iTunes. As one reviewer put it, our podcasts are a “Great peek into the checks and balances the government is trying to employ.” Continue reading

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Helping Youth with Autism

image of family in a homeAbout half a million youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder will leave high school over the next decade—and will face unique challenges as they transition to adulthood.

We looked at the services and supports that these youth (ages 14-24) need to attain their goals for adulthood, which may include advanced education, employment, living independently, health and safety, and integrating into a community.

For April’s Autism Awareness Month, we’re sharing what we learned. Read on for results from a 2016 roundtable discussion held with adults with autism, service providers, employers, researchers, and parents of youth with autism. Continue reading

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Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria and Food Animals (podcast)

GAO Podcast IconAntibiotic-resistant bacteria are a growing global health threat, sickening an estimated 2 million people each year in the United States alone. Evidence suggests that antibiotic use in food animals (cattle, poultry, and swine) causes some of this antibiotic resistance. Although federal agencies have taken steps to manage the use of antibiotics in food animals, we found gaps in their oversight. For example, agencies have not been conducting on-farm investigations to get to the source of foodborne illness outbreaks.

John Neuman, a director in our Natural Resources and Environment team, recently discussed what we found about federal oversight of antibiotic use in food animals: Continue reading

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How Useful Are Identity Theft Services?

thumbnail retirement securityMany people purchase identity theft services—or receive them free when their information is compromised in an organization’s data breach. These services typically include four components: credit monitoring, identity monitoring, identity restoration, and identity theft insurance.

For April’s Financial Literacy Month, read about the benefits and limitations of identity theft services, and how federal agencies are using them, and listen to Lawrance Evans, a director in our Financial Markets and Community Investment team, discuss the issue: Continue reading

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Updating Government Auditing Standards – The 2017 Yellow Book Exposure Draft

Yellow Book icon Today we issued an exposure draft containing proposed updates to Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards, also known as the “Yellow Book.” We invite your comments on the proposed changes, which reflect developments in the accounting and auditing profession. Continue reading

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Will the United States have enough workers to help an aging population?

photo of an aging person's handsMore than 12 million Americans need assistance with routine daily activities, such as eating, dressing, bathing, and making meals. Direct care workers—home health aides, psychiatric aides, nursing assistants, and personal care aides—are the primary paid providers of the long-term care they need.

As the baby boomers age, there are concerns that there may not be enough long-term care workers to meet their needs. Today’s WatchBlog looks at what the Department of Health and Human Services could do to measure the severity of the problem. Continue reading

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Prepping for the 2020 Census

A Census Worker Using a Mobile Device to Collect Data from a Household Member during Nonresponse Follow-upThe Census Bureau gets just one chance each decade to count the country’s population—and this week marks 3 years until the next one. The Bureau has planned a number of innovations for the 2020 census that are intended to cut costs, but they also introduce new risks.

To highlight these issues, we added the 2020 Decennial Census to our 2017 High Risk List earlier this year. Today’s WatchBlog explores some of the innovations and risks we are monitoring. Continue reading

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