DCAA – The Hidden Cost of Audits

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.

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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, FAR, Government Regulations, DOD Contractors, Cost Accounting Standards (CAS)

Oh, My Goodness I Think We Are CAS Covered! Life Changing? Maybe Not.

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.”

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Topics: Defense Contractors, Cost-Type Contracts, FAR, Government Regulations, DOD Contractors, Cost Accounting Standards (CAS)

Commercial Item Determination is Only Needed Over $2M, Right?

DCAA/DCMA Viewpoint

If you look through the DCAA audit guidance and the DCMA Contractor Purchasing System Review guidance, you would think that the Government is only concerned with a Commercial Item Determination when the purchase value exceeds $2M. This is all based on commerciality being an exception to the requirement for certified cost or pricing data at FAR 15.403-1(b)(3) & (c)(3).

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Topics: Business Systems Review, Cost and Pricing and Budgeting, Defense Contractors, DFARS Business Systems, FAR, Contractor Purchasing System Review (CPSR), Government Regulations, DOD Contractors

Simple but Effective Prime Contract Management Suggestions

Need some simple suggestions for basic contract management? This is a follow on to the previously published blog, Simple but Effective Subcontract Management Suggestions. Below are a few suggestions to consider when initiating and managing your prime contract within your contracts group.

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Topics: Contracts Administration, Defense Contractors, DOD Contractors

Simple but Effective Subcontract Management Suggestions

Need some simple suggestions for basic contract management? Setting aside regulations in government contracting and all the complexities, there are a few steps you can take which reduce some of the workload and stress upon contract award. Below are a few suggestions to consider within your infrastructure.

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Topics: Defense Contractors, DOD Contractors

Buy American – Don’t Get Caught With Your Documentation Down

What’s new in this long-standing area?

The FAR Council at long last issues final rule to implement the Trump Executive Order 13881, Maximizing Use of American-Made Goods, Products, and Materials. Only a few days later a Biden Executive Order 14005, Ensuring Future of America is Made in America by all of America’s Workers, hit the streets.

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Topics: Business Systems Review, Cost and Pricing and Budgeting, Incurred Cost Submission, Small Business Compliance, Contracts Administration, Defense Contractors, DFARS Business Systems, Incurred Cost Proposals, DCAA Audit Support, FAR, Contractor Purchasing System Review (CPSR), Government Regulations, DOD Contractors

Incurred Cost Submission Audit: What to Expect?


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.

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Topics: Incurred Cost Submission, Small Business Compliance, Defense Contractors, Incurred Cost Proposals, Cost-Type Contracts, DCAA Audit Support, FAR

Thought There Were 52 Unallowable Costs – Not So Fast

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.

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Topics: Incurred Cost Submission, Contracts Administration, Defense Contractors, Government Compliance Training, Incurred Cost Proposals, Cost-Type Contracts, DCAA Audit Support, FAR, Government Regulations, DOD Contractors

DoD Expands Treatment of Contractor Purchases as Commercial Items

Here are the Details

DoD issued DFARs Final Rule D2019-D029 – Treatment of Commingled Items Under $10K, effective October 1, 2020, to implement several sections of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 that addresses treatment of commingled items purchased by contractors and services provided by nontraditional defense contractors as commercial items. This blog only addresses the DFARS change relative to the treatment of commingled items purchased by a contractor. The final rule is applicable to all solicitations and contracts, including solicitations and contracts using FAR Part 12 procedures for the acquisition of commercial items and solicitations and contracts valued at or below the simplified acquisition threshold.

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Topics: Contracts Administration, Defense Contractors, DFARS Business Systems, DCAA Audit Support, Contractor Purchasing System Review (CPSR), DOD Contractors

DoD Attempts to OPEN the Door to More Nontraditional Contractors

Here are the Details

DoD issued a DFARs Final Rule D2019-D029 – Services Provided by Nontraditional Defense Contractors, effective October 1, 2020, to implement several sections of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 that addresses treatment of commingled items purchased by contractors and services provided by nontraditional defense contractors as commercial items. This blog only addresses the DFARS change related to services provided by nontraditional defense contractors as commercial items.

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Topics: Cost and Pricing and Budgeting, Defense Contractors, DFARS Business Systems, DCAA Audit Support, Contractor Purchasing System Review (CPSR), Government Regulations, DOD Contractors, FAR Part 12 Commercial Items