Indirect Cost Basics for Government Contractors

FAR Subpart 2.1, Definitions, provides the meaning of two general groupings of cost not assignable directly to final cost objectives (i.e., not a direct contract cost):

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Topics: Contracts Administration, DCAA Audit Support

Novations in Government Contracting

Is your company in a situation, performing as a prime contractor on government contracts, but needing to sell the business? Or is there a material change in your business causing a transfer of assets to another business? In the commercial world of contracts and business operations, the assignment of contracts primarily operates under the Uniform Commercial Code (the “UCC”) and assignments occur frequently due to the ever-changing business landscape. However, this process does not exist in government contracting and novation may be the route for your organization. Assignment and novation of contracts have different consequences for the parties involved; however, for purposes of this article, we will specifically address novation within the context of contracting with the U.S. Government.

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Topics: Contracts Administration

Government Contractor Estimating System Requirements and Audits

The FAR establishes that when contracting by negotiation with the Government, the contractor should have an acceptable estimating system.  FAR 15.407-5 provides that due to the benefits to both the Government and the contractor in reducing the scope of individual proposal reviews at contractors with an acceptable estimating system, the auditor (likely DCAA) should survey the system and provide a report to all contracting offices and contract administration offices doing substantial pricing activity with the contractor.  This is a very open-ended requirement/expectation; therefore, DoD established a structure in the DFARS.

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Topics: Contracts Administration, DCAA Audit Support

DFARS Case 2019-D002: DoD Removes Cost Limitation on Performance-Based Payments

The language in the 2017 NDAA Sec 831, stating “Performance-based payments shall not be conditioned upon costs incurred in contract performance but on the achievement of performance outcomes …” has finally been incorporated into the DFARS (DFARS Case 2019-D002) with an effective date of April 8, 2020.  The rule removes restrictions in DFARS 232.1001(a), DFARS 252.232-7012(b)(i), and DFARS 252.232-7013(b)(i) that limited performance-based payments to amounts not greater than costs incurred up to the time of payment.  However, the rule does not alter the requirement for subcontractors/vendors to report costs incurred when requesting performance-based payments.  The rule also removed the requirement of the subcontractor/vendor’s accounting system to comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, as evidenced by audited financial statements.

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Topics: Contracts Administration, DFARS Business Systems

Who is my Government Official Over Cost Issues?

In days gone by, knowing which contract administration office you needed to work with was as easy as finding your local Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) Office.  DCMA used to accept and administrate pretty much all contracts, even other Federal Agencies with reimbursement of its services (e.g., NASA contracts).  This is no longer the case; Over the last few years, DCMA has made a significant effort to stay focused on what it refers to as its core business – basically research, development, engineering, test, production, and spares for major acquisition programs.  This leaves the administration of low value/low risk contracts, management and professional services contracts, architect-engineer services contracts, and many others to the buying command that issued them.

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Topics: Contracts Administration, DCAA Audit Support

What Could Defense Production Act Mean?

The President has announced he has invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act (DPA).  This act provides the Government with the ability to direct businesses to accept contracts and increase the production of necessary goods and services.  The act has been used numerous times since 1950 to support emergencies, including natural disasters and the war on terrorism.  The current fight with COVID-19 has necessitated it once again.  A July 28, 2014, Congressional Research Service paper titled “The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Reauthorization” summarized the current act to include:

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Topics: Contracts Administration, Government Regulations, COVID-19

What is the Focus of a Billing System Audit Coverage?

Back in the days of DCAA ICAPS audits, the billing system was a standalone audit program.  Even DCAA’s first pass at auditing for compliance with DFARS 252.242-7006 provided a standalone sub-assignment for the coverage of contractor billing systems.

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Topics: Contracts Administration, Accounting & Billing System, Government Regulations

What Are the Rules with Directly Associated Cost?

FAR 31.201-6(a) and CAS 9904.405-30(a) both define directly associated cost as “any cost which is generated solely as a result of incurring another cost, and which would not have been incurred had the other cost not been incurred.”  FAR 31.201-6(a) restates the definition replacing the word “which” with the word “that.”  Still a consistent view of what directly associated cost means.

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Topics: Contracts Administration, Government Regulations

Forward Pricing Rate Proposal: What is the Process and How to get an Agreement on Rates

There is much confusion and frustration on behalf of a contractor when it comes to forward pricing rate proposals (FPRP) and forward pricing rate agreements (FPRA).  This confusion and frustration comes from the lack of direction provided for this process in the FAR.  In this blog, we pull together the regulation and guidance associated with forward pricing so contractors can better understand the process and alleviate some of the frustration and questions which we see often.

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Topics: Contracts Administration, Government Regulations

Incoterms 2020: What Are They and What’s New

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has published the new Incoterms 2020, rules that define the responsibilities of buyers and sellers for the delivery of tangible goods in international trade. The terms also identify when the risk/responsibility for those goods transfer from the seller to the buyer. The new terms took effect on January 1, 2020, and can replace the last version, which is Incoterms 2010.

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Topics: Contracts Administration, Export and Import