Michael Steen

Mike Steen is a Senior Advisor with Redstone Government Consulting, Inc. and a specialist in complex compliance issues to include major contractor cost accounting & business system regulations, financial compliance, resolution of DCAA audit issues, Cost Accounting Standards application, litigation support, and claims preparation. Prior to joining Redstone Government Consulting, Mike served in a number of capacities with DCAA for over thirty years, and upon his retirement, he was one of the top seven senior executives with DCAA. Mike Served as a Regional Director for two DCAA regions, and during that time was responsible for audits of approximately $25B and 800 employees. In October 2001, he was selected for the Senior Executive Service and in 2006 he received the Presidential Rank Award. During Mike’s tenure with DCAA, he was involved in conducting or managing a variety of compliance audits, to include cost proposals, billing systems, Cost Accounting Standards, claims, defective pricing, and then-evolving programs such as restructuring, financial capability and agreed-upon procedures. He directly supported the government litigation team on significant contract disputes and has prepared and presented various lectures and seminars to DCAA staff and business community leaders. Since joining Redstone Government Consulting in June 2007, Mike has developed and presented training and seminars on Government Contracts Compliance to NCMA, Federal Publications Seminars and various clients. Mike also is a prolific contributor of written articles to government contracting publications, as well as to our own Government Insights Newsletter. Mike also serves as the director of our training service offerings, with responsibilities for preparing and developing course content as well as instructing our seminars to clients and general audiences throughout the U.S. Mike also serves as a faculty instructor for the Federal Publications Seminars organization. Education Mike has a BS Degree in Business Administration from Wichita State University. He is also a graduate of the DCAA Director’s Fellowship Program in Management, and has a Masters Degree in Administration from Central Michigan University. Mr. Steen also completed a number of OPM’s management and executive development courses.

Recent Posts

DoD-IG Report Reinforces DCAA’s Interpretations of Contractor Compensation Reasonableness

A recent DoD-IG (Department of Defense-Inspector General Report (DODIG-2019-070) has unfortunately reinforced DCAA’s audit interpretations of the reasonableness of contractor compensation (reference to FAR 31.205-6(b)). The IG (apparently with help from DCAA) reviewed ACO (Contracting Officer) actions to resolve/disposition DCAA (Defense Contract Audit Agency) advisory audit reports which included assertions that contractors had claimed unreasonable compensation (primarily for contractor executives). 

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Topics: Contractor Employee Compensation, Defense Contractors, DOD IG

News Flash “April 1, 2019”: DCAA Engaged to Assist the United States in Achieving Audited Financial Statements

Some of us have been tracking the long overdue Congressional mandate for the United States to achieve a ready-state for auditable financial statements.  Although it may come as a surprise, we’ve uncovered a somewhat reliable (thus somewhat unreliable) rumor that the next NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) will include section 401(A.F.) which will require the Department of Defense (more specifically DCAA/Defense Contract Audit Agency) to provide technical assistance to all other agencies, inspector generals’, GAO (Government Accountability Office) and the hordes of independent private auditors who have thus-far failed in achieving that mystical milestone of fully auditable federal government financial statements.  

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Topics: Redstone GCI

Government “Forgive & Forget”—Not Likely Applicable to FAR 52.242-3 Penalties

A recent ASBCA decision (No 61583) confirms that Government benevolence does not extend to penalties associated with a contractor’s final indirect cost rate proposal (FICRP) which included expressly unallowable indirect costs. In one case, the issue was unallowable legal costs incurred as a result of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation of the contractor, which was triggered by information suggesting that the contractor claimed indirect salaries for an individual whose services were as the housekeeper for the owners of the company and thus unallowable as costs allowable to Government contracts. 

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Topics: Small Business Compliance, Government Regulations

DoD-IG Report: Contractor Employees Failed to Meet Labor Qualifications on Task Order Contracts

In its report dated November 27, 2018 (DODIG-2019-029), the IG reviewed 12 of 540 task orders (issued between September 2014 to October 2017) to determine if contractor employees met the contract schedule labor qualifications.  The contract vehicle is the OASIS (One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services), administered by the GSA, but used by multiple DoD (and other Government) agencies. The good news is that the IG reported 1,175 of 1,287 contractor employees met the labor category qualifications; the bad news is the remaining 112 employees did not meet the labor qualifications, and/or the DoD agency could not document that contractor employees met the labor qualifications. Thus, DoD agencies authorized $28 million of potentially improper payments (based on the IG’s statistical projection), authorized $574K of potential improper payments for employees who did not have qualification documentation, and did not consider the potential impact on contract performance and price before authorizing $6.8 million for employees without relevant education and work experience.

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Topics: Contracts Administration, Incurred Cost Proposals, DCAA Audit Support

2018 Halloween Costumes for Government Agencies

As we again approach Halloween and the night of tricks or treats, we’ve been able to identify and report a number of the more popular Halloween costumes (or masks) among government agencies and/or (n one case) an ex-government “CEO”.  Some of these trending costumes include:

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Topics: Redstone GCI

FAR 31.205-6(p) Compensation “Cap”—OMB’s Unpublicized Increases for 2016 to 2018

RCGI-FAR 31.205-6p Compensation “Cap”—OMB’s Unpublicized Increases for 2016 to 2018

In late 2013, the BBA (Bipartisan Budget Act) significantly changed the FAR 31.205-6(p) regulatory cap for allowable contractor employee compensation.   In a highly politicized action, the Obama Administration convinced Congress to reduce allowable compensation to $487,000 for any contractor employee effective for contracts on or after June 24, 2014.  Additionally, Section 702 of the BBA prescribed the method for annual increases to the statutory cap (based upon the change in the Employment Cost Index for all workers as calculated by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

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Topics: Contractor Employee Compensation, Contracts Administration, Defense Contractors

DCAA’s 2018 New Year Resolutions

As we near the end of calendar year 2017, many will be thinking of some resolutions for the upcoming “Year of the Dog” (the 2018 animal per the Chinese Calendar). In fact, we’ve discovered that Government agencies sometimes consider similar resolutions, and in the case of DCAA (Defense Contract Audit Agency), we’ve accidentally been copied on one of the unofficial versions of its 2018 New Year’s resolutions (which are three months late, given the government fiscal year started October 1, 2017).

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Topics: Defense Contractors, DCAA Audit Support

Seminar, Government Employees and Gratuities

As we (Redstone Government Consulting, Inc.) began to plan our September 21, 2017 Redstone Edge, we sought out speakers and potential attendees from government agencies, including those from DCAA (Defense Contract Audit Agency) and DCMA (Defense Contract Management Agency). In both cases, their potential speakers had a list of questions which seemed to be unnecessary, but related to OGE (Office of Government Ethics) regulations and interpretations, to identify and otherwise prohibit anything which might be an illegal (or at least unethical) gratuity. Although we might not be a “government contractor”, for those who are, there is another regulation in play; FAR 52.203-3 prohibits government contractors from offering gratuities to government employees.

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Topics: Redstone GCI, Compliant Accounting Infrastructure, Cost and Pricing and Budgeting, Small Business Compliance, Contracts Administration, DCAA Audit Support

DCAA Audit Policy Implementing Trump’s 2 for 1 Regulatory Reductions

Virtually all government contractors and anyone else hoping for regulatory relief from the new administration is aware of the Executive Order (EO) requiring a 2 for 1 reduction in agency regulations for each new regulation. In an effort to show that DCAA is politically savvy and much more positive and proactive than most agencies (who are less than enthusiastic about this EO), DCAA has begun to vet some “similar to” audit strategies. The following are some of the highlights of a DCAA Press Conference to announce a broad range of “2 for 1 reductions”.

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Topics: Redstone GCI, Contracts Administration, DCAA Audit Support

Is My Accounting System Adequate, Acceptable or Approved...Does it Matter?

To the uninformed, there may be little or no distinction between the three adjectives which could apply to a contractor (or potential contractor) accounting system. To those dealing with the terminology in government solicitations, there may appear to be no significant distinction because the words seem to be used interchangeably. For example, an Air Force solicitation may have a prerequisite for an adequate accounting system, in contrast to Navy solicitation which substitutes the words acceptable accounting system. Then a third alternative could be a solicitation which gives competing bidders points for approved systems; i.e. 500 points for having an approved accounting system. In most cases, the solicitation links the accounting system status (adequate, acceptable or approved) to an action (written opinion or written determination) by a federal government agency or, less frequently, an opinion by an independent third party such as a CPA or consultant. There is a fourth alternative, an accounting system which has never been reviewed by any independent party (government or otherwise). In this case, a contractor (or a potential contractor) may have an accounting system awaiting its first test, so to speak.

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Topics: Compliant Accounting Infrastructure, Cost and Pricing and Budgeting, Small Business Compliance, Contracts Administration, Government Compliance Training