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Small Business Administration: Steps Taken to Better Manage Its Human Capital, but More Needs to Be Done

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Small Business Administration's (SBA) efforts to identify its current and future workforce needs, budget for them and manage them strategically."
Date: July 20, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Loan Accounting and Other Financial Management Issues Impair Accountability

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Recently, the Small Business Administration's (SBA) auditors withdrew their unqualified audit opinions on SBA's fiscal year 2000 and 2001 financial statements and issued disclaimers of opinion. The auditors also issued a disclaimer of opinion on SBA's fiscal year 2002 financial statements. This turn of events was primarily due to flaws in the way SBA accounted for its loan sales and for the remaining portfolio. There were also several other issues affecting SBA's fiscal year 2002 audit, including key internal control weaknesses and systems that did not substantially comply with the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act. The information GAO presents in this testimony, which is discussed in greater detail in our January 2003 report, Small Business Administration: Accounting Anomalies and Limited Operational Data Make Results of Loan Sales Uncertain (GAO-03-87), is intended to assist Congress in assessing the current status of financial accountability at SBA."
Date: April 29, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Observations on the Disaster Loan Program

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony discusses the role of the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Disaster Loan Program in responding to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, general performance measures for the program, and the effects of SBA's program to sell loans to private investors on disaster loans and their borrowers. In reviewing SBA's loan sales program, which includes disaster loans, we identified three areas needing improvement: tracking borrower inquiries and complaints; sales budgeting and accounting which affect the reliability of SBA financial statements and budget information; and reporting on the operational benefits of the loans sales. This testimony focuses on SBA's (1) response to the September 11 terrorist attacks; (2) performance plans and measures for its Disaster Loan program; and (3) loan assets sales program, which involves selling disaster and other loans."
Date: May 1, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Workforce Transformation Plan Is Evolving

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Small Business Administration (SBA) has made organizational structure and service delivery changes during the past 10 years. However, ineffective lines of communication, confusion over the mission of district offices, complicated and overlapping organizational relationships, and a field structure not consistently matched with mission requirements all combine to impede SBA staff efforts to deliver services effectively. SBA's structural inefficiencies stem in part from realignment efforts during the mid-1990s that changed SBA's functions but left aspects of the previous structure intact, congressional influence over the location of field offices and centers, and legislative requirements such as specified reporting relationships. In response to GAO's findings and additional challenges identifies by the Office of Management and Budget and the SBA Inspector General, SBA recently announced a draft 5-year workforce transformation plan that discusses many of GAO's findings regarding the difficulties posed by its current structure. Organizational alignment is crucial if an agency is to maximize its performance and accountability. As SBA executes its workforce transformation plan, it should employ strategies common to successful transformation efforts both here and abroad. Successful efforts begin with instilling senior-level leadership, responsibility, and accountability for organizational results and transformation efforts. Organizations that have successful undertaken transformation efforts also typically use strategic planning and human capital management, alignment of activities, processes, and resources, and internal and external collaboration to underpin their efforts."
Date: July 16, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Progress Made but Improvements Needed in Lender Oversight

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Small Business Administration (SBA) is responsible for oversight of its 7(a) loan program lenders, including those who participate in the Preferred Lenders Program or PLP. SBA delegates full authority to preferred lenders to make loans without prior SBA approval. In fiscal year 2002, preferred lenders approved 55 percent of the dollar value of all 7(a) loans--about $7 billion. Small businesses are certainly a vital part of the nation's economy. According to SBA, they generate more than half of the nation's gross domestic product and are the principal source of new jobs in the U.S. economy. In turn, SBA's mission is to maintain and strengthen the nation's economy by aiding, counseling, assisting, and protecting the interests of small businesses. Providing small businesses with access to credit is a major avenue through which SBA strives to fulfill its mission. Strong oversight of lenders by SBA is needed to protect SBA from financial risk and to ensure that qualified borrowers get 7(a) loans. SBA has a total portfolio of about $46 billion, including $42 billion in direct and guaranteed small business loans and other guarantees. Because SBA guarantees up to 85 percent of the 7(a) loans made by its lending partners, there is risk to SBA if the loans are not repaid. SBA must ensure that lenders provide loans to borrowers who are eligible and creditworthy to protect the integrity of the 7(a) program. Our statement today is based on the report we issued December 9, 2002, Small Business Administration: Progress Made but Improvements Needed in Lender Oversight (GAO-03-90). The report and our remarks will focus on our evaluation of (1) SBA's 7(a) lender oversight program and (2) SBA's organizational alignment for conducting oversight of preferred lenders and Small Business ...
Date: April 30, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Undercover Tests Show HUBZone Program Remains Vulnerable to Fraud and Abuse

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony discusses the results of our investigation of the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program. In fiscal year 2009, federal agencies obligated nearly $3 billion in sole source or set-aside contracts to firms participating in the HUBZone program. Created in 1997, the program provides federal contracting assistance to small businesses located in HUBZones--economically distressed areas with low income levels or high unemployment rates. Qualified businesses in these areas are eligible to bid on federal prime contracts and subcontracts available exclusively to program participants, in addition to benefiting from other contracting preferences. The SBA must certify that a small business meets the following criteria to qualify for the program: the firm must be owned and controlled by one or more U.S. citizens; at least 35 percent of full-time employees must live in a HUBZone; and the principal office, where most qualifying employees work, must be in a HUBZone. According to the SBA's Dynamic Small Business Web site, as of July 2010, 9,300 firms were participating in the program. Over the last 2 years, we have reported on fraud and abuse and other concerns with the HUBZone program. In July 2008, we testified that the SBA's lack of an effective fraud prevention program meant its application process could not provide reasonable assurance that only eligible firms were being certified to participate in the program. Using fictitious employee and owner information and fabricated documentation, we easily obtained HUBZone certification for four bogus firms. We also identified 10 firms from the Washington, D.C., metro area that participated in the program even though they did not meet eligibility criteria. In March 2009, we reported on 19 additional HUBZone firms from Alabama, California, and Texas that were not eligible ...
Date: July 28, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Current Structure Presents Challenges for Service Delivery

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "GAO's recent performance and accountability series report on the Small Business Administration (SBA) described major management challenges and program risks to efficient delivery of services. However, that report did not discuss how well SBA's organization was aligned to achieve its mission. GAO found that SBA's current structure contributes to the challenges SBA faces in delivering services to the small business community. In particular, ineffective lines of communication; confusion over the mission of district offices; complicated, overlapping organizational relationships; and a field structure not consistently matched with mission requirements combine to impede the effective deliver of services. Restructuring efforts by other federal agencies may prove instructive in addressing the problems with SBA's current structure. Efforts at other agencies also demonstrate the need for buy-in from both internal and external stakeholders and the importance of agency efforts to consider the human impact of restructuring activities, including the closure of field offices."
Date: October 26, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: The Commercial Marketing Representative Role Needs to Be Strategically Planned and Assessed

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Subcontracting on federal contracts is a large and growing marketplace for small businesses. The Small Business Administration's (SBA) Commercial Marketing Representatives (CMRs) have long been considered to be key to fostering small businesses' participation in subcontracts. GAO was asked to assess the role that CMRs are playing in administering SBA's subcontracting assistance program."
Date: November 1, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: 7(a) Loan Program Needs Additional Performance Measures

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Small Business Administration's (SBA) 7(a) program, initially established in 1953, provides loan guarantees to small businesses that cannot obtain credit in the conventional lending market. In fiscal year 2006, the program assisted more than 80,000 businesses with loan guarantees of nearly $14 billion. This testimony, based on a 2007 report, discusses (1) the 7(a) program's purpose and the performance measures SBA uses to assess the program's results; (2) evidence of any market constraints that may affect small businesses' access to credit in the conventional lending market; (3) the segments of the small business lending market that were served by 7(a) loans and the segments that were served by conventional loans; and (4) 7(a) program's credit subsidy costs and the factors that may cause uncertainty about these costs."
Date: November 1, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Preliminary Views on Increasing Collaboration with Department of Agriculture Rural Development Offices

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development offices share a mission of attending to underserved markets, promoting economic development, and improving the quality of life in America through the promotion of entrepreneurship and community development. In the past, these agencies have had cooperative working relationships to help manage their respective rural loan and economic development programs. At this subcommittee's request, GAO has undertaken a review of potential opportunities for SBA to seek increased collaboration and cooperation with USDA Rural Development (Rural Development), particularly given Rural Development's large and recognizable presence in rural communities. In this testimony, GAO provides preliminary views on (1) mechanisms that SBA and USDA have used to facilitate collaboration with other federal agencies and with each other; (2) the organization of SBA and USDA Rural Development field offices; and (3) the planned approach for GAO's recently initiated evaluation on collaboration between SBA and Rural Development. GAO discussed the contents of this testimony with SBA and USDA officials."
Date: November 14, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Progress Made but Improvements Needed in Lender Oversight

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Small Business Administration (SBA) has increased its reliance on private lenders to provide small businesses with access to credit. The 7(a) program is SBA's largest business loan program, and SBA has established a preferred lender program (PLP) in which eligible lenders make 7(a) loans without prior SBA approval. SBA guaranteed $9.9 billion in 7(a) loans in 2001. Because lenders are exercising greater autonomy in making 7(a) loans, effective lender oversight is essential to SBA's success in achieving its mission. GAO evaluated SBA's 7(a) lender oversight and reviewed its organizational alignment for conducting PLP and Small Business Lending Company (SBLC) oversight."
Date: December 9, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Response to the Gulf Coast Hurricanes Highlights Need for Enhanced Disaster Preparedness

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Small Business Administration (SBA) helps individuals and businesses recover from disasters such as hurricanes through its Disaster Loan Program. SBA faced an unprecedented demand for disaster loan assistance following the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes (Katrina, Rita, and Wilma), which resulted in extensive property damage and loss of life. In the aftermath of these disasters, concerns were expressed regarding the timeliness of SBA's disaster assistance. GAO initiated work and completed two reports under the Comptroller General's authority to conduct evaluations and determine how well SBA provided victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes with timely assistance. This testimony, which is based on these two reports, discusses (1) challenges SBA experienced in providing victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes with timely assistance, (2) factors that contributed to these challenges, and (3) steps SBA has taken since the Gulf Coast hurricanes to enhance its disaster preparedness. GAO visited the Gulf Coast region, reviewed SBA planning documents, and interviewed SBA officials."
Date: February 14, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Review of Selected Personnel Practices

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed events related to personnel reassignments, appointments, and activities at the Small Business Administration (SBA)."
Date: April 23, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Preliminary Views on Issues Related to the Women's Business Center Program

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides training and counseling services to women entrepreneurs through the Women's Business Center (WBC) program. With approximately $12 million in fiscal year 2007, SBA funded awards to 99 WBCs. However, Congress and WBCs have expressed concerns about the uncertain nature of the program's funding structure. Concerns have also been raised about the possibility that the WBC and two other SBA programs, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and SCORE programs, are duplicating each other's efforts. This testimony discusses preliminary views on (1) uncertainties associated with the funding process for WBCs; (2) SBA's oversight of the WBC program; and (3) actions that SBA and WBCs have taken to avoid duplication among the WBC, SBDC, and SCORE programs. GAO reviewed policies, procedures, examinations, and studies related to the funding, oversight, and services of WBCs and interviewed SBA, WBC, SBDC, and SCORE officials."
Date: September 20, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Status of Achieving Key Outcomes and Addressing Major Management Challenges

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "This report reviews the Small Business Administration's (SBA) fiscal year 2000 performance report and fiscal year 2002 performance plan required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 to assess SBA's progress in achieving selected key outcomes that are important to its mission. SBA's reported progress in achieving its outcomes is mixed. However, GAO had difficulty assessing SBA's progress due to weaknesses in its performance measures and data. GAO was unable to assess SBA's lack of an explanation about how the strategies relate to the outcomes or a discussion regarding strategies for the outcome. GAO identified some improvements from SBA's prior year report and plan, but several weaknesses persist in SBA's fiscal year 2000 performance report and performance plan. The performance report includes a section that summarizes SBA's programs, a matrix that identifies ongoing and closed audit reviews, and several recommendations associated with each. However, SBA omitted time frames or schedules for achieving unmet goals, lacked strategies for meeting unmet goals, and failed to adequately link strategies to indicators and measures."
Date: June 22, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Status of Efforts to Address Previous Recommendations on the HUBZone Program

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony discusses the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program. Created in 1997, the HUBZone program provides federal contracting assistance to small businesses located in economically distressed communities, or HUBZone areas, with the intent of stimulating economic development in those areas. In fiscal year 2007, federal agencies awarded contracts valued at about $8 billion to HUBZone firms. Firms that participate in the program must be located in a HUBZone and employ residents of HUBZones to facilitate the goal of bringing capital and employment opportunities to distressed areas. My statement today is based on work we performed to update the status of recommendations we made in our June 2008 report on the HUBZone program and reiterated in a July 2008 testimony. These recommendations called for SBA to improve its controls over the HUBZone program and assess the program's effectiveness. Specifically, this testimony discusses SBA's progress in (1) ensuring that the HUBZone map is accurate; (2) developing and implementing guidance to ensure that participating firms are eligible; (3) eliminating the backlog of recertifications; (4) formalizing and adhering to time frames for decertifying ineligible firms; and (5) developing measures and implementing plans to assess the effectiveness of the program."
Date: March 25, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Additional Actions Are Needed to Certify and Monitor HUBZone Businesses and Assess Program Results

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Small Business Administration's (SBA) Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program provides federal contracting assistance to small firms located in economically distressed areas, with the intent of stimulating economic development. Questions have been raised about whether the program is targeting the locations and businesses that Congress intended to assist. This testimony focuses on (1) the criteria and process that SBA uses to identify and map HUBZone areas; (2) the mechanisms SBA uses to ensure that only eligible small businesses participate in the program; and (3) the actions SBA has taken to assess the results of the program and the extent to which federal agencies have met HUBZone contracting goals. To address these objectives, GAO analyzed statutory provisions as well as SBA, Census, and contracting data and interviewed SBA and other federal and local officials."
Date: July 17, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Progress Made, but Transformation Could Benefit from Practices Emphasizing Transparency and Communication

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Small Business Administration (SBA) has recognized that it needs to realign its current organizational structure and processes to improve its ability to fulfill its primary mission--supporting the nation's small businesses. In July 2002, SBA announced that it was initiating a transformation effort to increase the public's awareness of SBA's services and products and make its processes more efficient. GAO evaluated SBA's progress in implementing its transformation initiatives and challenges that have impeded or could impede implementation and whether SBA's transformation incorporates practices GAO has identified in previous work that are important to successful organizational change."
Date: October 31, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Enhancements Needed for Loan Monitoring System Benchmark Study

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed a benchmark study conducted by a contractor comparing the Small Business Administration's (SBA) loan monitoring business processes to those of selected public and private sector organizations."
Date: May 14, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration: Accounting Anomalies and Limited Operational Data Make Results of Loan Sales Uncertain

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Small Business Administration's (SBA) loan asset sales are being closely watched because similar sales are projected for other government agencies as a means of reducing loan assets and servicing costs. To assess the progress and effects of SBA's loan sales, GAO undertook this study to (1) describe the process for selling loans, (2) identify how lenders and borrowers have reacted to loan sales, (3) determine whether SBA is properly accounting for its loan sales and their subsequent impact on credit subsidy estimates, and (4) assess whether loan sales generated operational benefits for the agency. GAO did not determine whether SBA maximized proceeds from the loan sales."
Date: January 3, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department