In 2020 Congress directed through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that contracting officers be prohibited from determining that the price of a contract or subcontract is fair and reasonable based solely on historical prices paid by the Government. Congress goes on to provide that if the contractor fails to provide data supporting the proposed price, the contractor is ineligible for award, unless the head of the contracting activity (HCA) determines that it is in the best interest of the Government to make the award. Let’s face it they are saying contracting officer should be asking for “cost data.”
Topics: Government Shutdown, Business Systems Review, Defense Contractors, DFARS Business Systems, Cost-Type Contracts, Contractor Purchasing System Review (CPSR), Government Regulations, DOD Contractors
On July 9th, 2021, the Department of Defense (DoD)issued a final rule in the Federal Register to implement 10 U.S.C. 2330a which requires the DoD to establish a data collection system to provide certain management information about an awarded contract or task order that is valued in excess of $3 million. This new rule is applicable for the following service acquisition portfolio groups:
- logistics management services
- equipment-related services
- knowledge-based services
- electronics and communications services
You may read the entire rule here.
Topics: Compliant Accounting Infrastructure, Small Business Compliance, Contracts Administration, Government Compliance Training, DFARS Business Systems, Cost-Type Contracts, DCAA Audit Support, Accounting & Billing System, System Award Management (SAM), Government Regulations, DOD Contractors
The focus of fraud used to be primarily on defense contractors, health care providers and health care suppliers. However, other companies are now being exposed to the Federal Claims Act (FCA) including software companies, private equity financiers, insurance companies, and educational institutions. Additionally, fraud is not just related to companies receiving the funds.
Where does DCAA’s View of the Contractor and their Role in Acquisition Come From?
DCAA Auditor Training
DCAA website provides that new auditors receive in-depth professional training from DCAA’s Defense Contract Audit Institute (DCAI), along with on-the-job training at their assigned field audit office. DCAI is located in Atlanta, GA and provides auditors with an excellent basis on which to start their careers in contract audit. Many at Redstone GCI can speak from personal experience that, once you get past the exciting MARTA ride from the airport, the instructors at DCAI provide a good hands-on learning environment. However, we are not sure if it is a subliminal message piped into the classroom or local indoctrination at assigned field offices, but the auditors are coming away with the impression that no contractors can be trusted, and a good audit opinion has to include questioned cost.
Topics: Compliant Accounting Infrastructure, Litigation Consulting Support, Incurred Cost Submission, Defense Contractors, DOD IG, Government Compliance Training, DFARS Business Systems, Incurred Cost Proposals, Cost-Type Contracts, DCAA Audit Support, Government Regulations, DOD Contractors, Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)
Let’s Set the Stage
So as a contractor you have received several cost-based contracts (i.e., subject to FAR part 31), however they have all been less than $7.5M. You are flying under the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) radar. You get a $9M cost-based contract that does not meet any of the exceptions to CAS covered listed at 9903.201-1(b) – categories of contracts and subcontracts exempt from all CAS requirements. The dreaded “trigger contract.”
DCAA’s Authority for Interim Vouchers
DCAA is given the authority under DFARS 242.803(b) to approve interim vouchers for DoD. DFARS 242.803(b) states DCAA will approve interim vouchers using sampling methodology for provisional payment after a prepayment review. This also includes reviewing completion/final vouchers and issuing a DCAA Form 1, Notice of Contracts Costs Suspended and/or Disapproved when DCAA questions the allowability of costs.
Contractors with cost reimbursable contracts that include the Allowable cost and payment clause, FAR 52.216-7 or Payments under Time-and-Materials and Labor-Hour contracts clause, FAR 52.232-7, are required to submit an Incurred Cost Proposal for each fiscal year costs were incurred on any cost reimbursable contract. This incurred cost proposal is provided to your Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO) and Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) with a deadline of six months after the Contractor’s fiscal year end. Once the Incurred Cost Proposal is received by DCAA, they review it for adequacy. DCAA provides a notification to the Contractor, typically via email, that the proposal is deemed adequate for audit or outlines changes DCAA believes are necessary. That is great to know it is adequate for audit but what does that mean? This means that DCAA has reviewed the incurred cost proposal and determined that the schedules are properly completed for them to begin the audit potentially.
A Little Background
FAR Part 31, Cost Principles, is the regulation that government contractors must follow in order to account for cost on most government contracts. Within FAR Part 31 is FAR 31.205, Selected Costs. This part of the cost principles regulation specifically spells out unallowable cost that the government will not pay for under a government contract. This section starts at FAR 31.205-1 and goes all the way up to FAR 31.205-52. However, it should be noted that FAR 31.205-2, 5, 9, 24, 45, and 50 are “Reserved” – These reserved cost areas went the way of the dinosaur over time, hopefully not to return. For example, FAR 31.204-2, Automatic Data Processing Equipment Leasing Costs, required an annual demonstration that leasing computer equipment was cost-effective, i.e., lowest cost to the Federal Government.
Topics: Incurred Cost Submission, Contracts Administration, Defense Contractors, Government Compliance Training, Incurred Cost Proposals, Cost-Type Contracts, DCAA Audit Support, Government Regulations, DOD Contractors, Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)
What is a Contract Brief?
A contract brief is a document which identifies information about the contract, contract administration representatives and significant contract terms and conditions.
DCAA Takes the Lead Over OFPP
In 2013, Congress put in place a new process for the calculation and publication of the compensation limitation (Cap) for all federal contractor employees. The process places the responsibility to calculate and publish the cap using the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment Cost Index (ECI) data on the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP). OFPP has failed in this responsibility for the last few years.
Topics: Contractor Employee Compensation, Incurred Cost Submission, Defense Contractors, Incurred Cost Proposals, Cost-Type Contracts, DCAA Audit Support, Government Regulations, DOD Contractors, Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)