DCAA’s Renewed Challenge to Lowest Available Airfare: “Déjà vu All Over Again”

A recent DCAA audit reintroduced (or resurrected) a DCAA MRD (Memorandum for Regional Directors) dated March 22, 2010 which provided auditors with DCAA’s liberal interpretation of a January 2010 change to FAR 31.205-46(b) limiting allowable airfare to “lowest priced airfare available to the contractor.”

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Topics: Cost and Pricing and Budgeting, Government Regulations

Costpoint - Managing Your Unbilled Receivables Doesn’t Require Magic

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.

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Topics: Compliant Accounting Infrastructure, Cost and Pricing and Budgeting, Accounting & Billing System

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

If you Outsource your Tax Return, Why Not Outsource your Incurred Cost Proposal?

As a business owner or executive, it is highly likely that you are not preparing and submitting your business tax return. After all, tax rules are complicated and submission requirements can be a little unnerving. So, for those reasons and for peace of mind knowing that your tax return is prepared correctly, a savvy business owner or executive will outsource their tax preparation to a trusted firm that specializes in taxes.

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Topics: Cost and Pricing and Budgeting, Incurred Cost Proposals

Application of CAS 420 – Independent Research & Development and Bid & Proposal Costs

Accounting for independent research and development costs and bid and proposal costs are found in Far 31.205-18 and Cost Accounting Standards 420. Because FAR 31.205-18 incorporates CAS 420, it does not matter if your company has revenue of $50 million or under $5 million; if you have IR&D and B&P costs, this Cost Accounting Standard (CAS) provides the criteria for accumulation and allocation of those costs.

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Topics: Cost and Pricing and Budgeting

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

When a Firm-Fixed-Price Contract Becomes a Curse

Sometimes, a company is so anxious to receive a government contract that it ignores warning signs in the solicitation and accepts a firm-fixed-price contract when the contract type is not appropriate for the circumstances. Often the warning signs are subtle and consist of vague specifications, but in other cases, the warning signs are written, literally in capital letters. One such contract resulted in the ASBCA issuing a decision on March 30, 2016, on case number 58243. This case upheld a termination for default issued April 23, 2012, against Highland Al Hujaz Co., Ltd. This case illustrates both the warning signs the contractor should have heeded and the consequences.

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Topics: Cost and Pricing and Budgeting

Staying Competitive in a Cost Averse Market

For government contractors your indirect rate structure is critical to your competitiveness, perhaps more so than any other element of the proposal.  In today’s LPTA environment, most offerors are going to be very similar when it comes to technical capabilities and past performance, so almost always award decisions come down to cost.  For the select few companies that have a technical edge or a differentiator in the way of performance that outweighs the cost to your government customer you can stop reading now.  The vast majority of companies working with the federal government don’t have this luxury, so what are they doing to set themselves apart when it comes to developing their indirect rates and overall wrap rates (wrap rates are a function of total direct and indirect costs for a labor hour divided by the direct labor hourly rate); hence, a lower wrap rate is perceived to be a more competitive overall cost structure)?

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Topics: Compliant Accounting Infrastructure, Cost and Pricing and Budgeting, Contracts Administration

PROPOSED CHANGES TO FLSA Would Significantly Impact Overtime Pay Requirements

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), which is administered and enforced by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor (DOL) imposes, among other things, minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. It is certainly nothing new and has been a hot topic amongst Human Resources professionals over the past months as President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to update the regulations. With much speculation and rumblings of possible changes, all have been anxious for the impending proposed rule to be revealed.  

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Topics: Cost and Pricing and Budgeting, Government Compliance Training

Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Computer Hack(s)

On June 18, 2015, as a retired “civil servant” whose personnel records now reside with OPM, I was notified by OPM that OPM had “recently become aware of a cybersecurity incident that may have exposed my personal information”.

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Topics: Redstone GCI, Business Systems Review, Cost and Pricing and Budgeting