The competition for that big contract you have been dying to win is underway. This is a great business opportunity for you. So, you begin the process of putting together the perfect proposal. As you go through that process, there are several pitfalls that could prevent you from having the best proposal. As a government attorney, I saw many of those pitfalls in every source selection I worked. So as one gift as you enter this new year, I want to go over some of the main pitfalls I have seen from the government’s perspective.
What better way to kick off 2019 than with a quick review of your Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting requirements? Employers subject to the ACA must distribute reporting forms to employees and file with the IRS shortly after the new year, so now is the time to gather and review all required data.
If your unbilled receivables account has you searching for a solution as simple as waving a Harry Potter wand and reciting “Evanesco!” you are not alone. The everyday life of an accountant is chock-full of number-crunching, and then you suddenly realize the “deathly hollows” of year-end is quickly approaching. Whether you are new to the tracking of unbilled receivables or the account has been covered in cobwebs, understanding the creation process to this “chamber of secrets” is where your journey out of the “dark forest” can begin.
On August 14, 2018 the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) released the Fiscal Year 2019 travel per diem rates, taking effect October 1, 2018. These represent the maximum reimbursable amounts allowed for expenses incurred by federal employees. Making adjustments based on the current economy is important, as well as taking into consideration local price variations in what is termed “Non-Standard Areas.”
Quite often, in practice, we see contractors classifying too much cost as IR&D or more commonly, B&P expense. In a proposal setting, experts from across your company support the development of a compliant proposal. The question we see frequently is: “Who should be charging to B&P Projects?” While a business may want to capture the total cost of a proposal effort, including administrative support from G&A staff, it is not wise to have these personnel charge to a B&P project where their labor will absorb overhead.
Organizational Conflicts of interest have increasingly gained attention from the Government and Government contractors. Organizational Conflicts of Interest (OCI) are discussed in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) subpart 9.5. OCI rules are meant to prevent conflicting roles or unfair competitive advantage in government contracting. Assessment of OCI is very fact specific, and mitigations should be sculpted to fit your contracts and situation.
We have received a number of inquiries from clients related to cost allowability for Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). In this Part II, we focus on the cost allowability rules and regulations for government contractors (Part I provided a more general description of ESOPs).
Many small and medium sized companies wonder if having an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is right for their company’s compensation and ownership structure. Studies show that employee-owned companies benefit from higher worker productivity and certain tax advantages which ultimately result in improved cash flow. These and other potential advantages could apply to government contractors; however, if you are considering implementing an ESOP, consider engaging someone (or an entity) familiar with ESOPs, as well as someone familiar with the cost allowability (regulations) and DCAA interpretations.
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.
Companies that incur significant costs for training and education of their workforce should have formal policies and procedures in place to ensure reimbursement on their government contracts and subcontracts. As with all types of costs, there are three major components to consider: allowability, allocability and reasonableness.