DCAA Compliance Blog

Government Contracting News and DCAA Information for Contractors

ReliAscent® LLC specializes in FAR compliance, DCAA compliant accounting, and government contract management/administration for Federal Government contractors and grantees.  In our DCAA Blog, we discuss the latest government contracting news from the Federal Government, the DCAA, and DCMA.

While the best way to maintain compliance with government requirements is to hire our experts, we hope our blog gives you some valuable insight into this complex environment.

We hope you will visit and take part in the discussions on our blog on a regular basis. If you ever have any questions or would like to discuss how our experts can help, do not hesitate to contact us at any time!  

To browse our extensive library by topic, use the form to your left and search by tags.

DCAA Compliance & Accounting Services

Resources for DoD SBIR/STTR Contractors & Grantees

Posted by Tyler Link on Fri, Oct 13, 2017 @ 08:48 AM

DoD SBIR STTR Program.png

As the proposal submission deadline approaches for the DoD's 2017.3/C SBIR/STTR BAA, ReliAscent® would like to remind contractors and small businesses submitting proposals, that both the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), and ReliAscent®, provide a number of helpful resources to contractors/awardees.  We encourage all small businesses that actively participate in the SBIR/STTR programs, to download the following white papers and guides, to help you understand DCAA compliance requirements, and audits you may face as an awardee:

If your company actively participates in these programs, or you are looking to submit your first proposal ever, it's important to take the time to educate yourself on the SBIR/STTR program, and how the DCAA will impact your business and award.  We encourage all contractors and grantees to be proactive, and take advantage of these resources.

If/when your ph I or II proposal is selected for award, call us, and our experts can help you to understand what you need to get started, and can install (and help you maintain), your DCAA compliant accounting system.

Good luck!

Topics: DCAA Compliant Accounting Systems, SF1408, 2017.3 DoD SBIR, SBIR/STTR Checklists

Government Contract Reviews - Don't Get Lost in the Excitement!

Posted by Tyler Link on Mon, Oct 02, 2017 @ 03:12 PM

Signing without a contract review? Think again...

It's October; DoD SBIR 2017.2 winners are being announced as we speak (check here for ARMY and NAVY winners/selectees), the government's FY just wrapped up, and the fall procurement rush is upon us, as agencies look to place orders and award contracts before the holidays bring everything to a grinding halt.

In all the frenzy (and celebration, for many contractors), one critical process is often overlooked... 

It's understandable after all---so much time and effort is spent on the actual proposal, and all of that suspense and anxiety can be a lot for a small business (maybe its very future, or your next paycheck, is even on the line).  However, "signing on the dotted line" without completing a thorough, government contract review, can create headaches for contractors (if not all-out disasters).

From impossible-to-meet requirements, to deliverables that were never agreed-upon, and simply outlining how to get paid for your work, overlooked errors in a contract can cost you dearly.

If you haven't already, we recommend you download "Government Contract Reviews - Protecting Your Company from Potential Disaster."  This white paper is just one of several helpful resources released by ReliAscent this year.  From indirect rates, to cost proposals, contract change orders, and many more, ReliAscent is your source for DCAA, DCMA, FAR, and government contracting compliance.

Good luck out there, and remember: the DoD SBIR/STTR 2017.3/C Solicitation closes in just 3 weeks, and the 2018 NASA SBIR/STTR Topic Pre-Release is just 6 weeks away!

Topics: government contract reviews, SF 26, standard form 26

DoD SBIR/STTR 2017.3/C BAA Open for Proposal Submission

Posted by Tyler Link on Tue, Sep 26, 2017 @ 02:15 PM

DoD SBIR STTR 2017.3/C

ReliAscent would like to remind all small business government contractors that the DOD SBIR 17.3 and STTR 17.C Broad Agency Announcements (BAA), are officially open for proposal submission today.  Contractors may now submit Phase I proposals through the DOD SBIR/STTR proposal submission website.


  • Sept 26, 2017: SBIR 17.3 and STTR 17.C open 
  • Oct 11, 2017: SITIS closes to new questions 
  • Oct 25, 2017: SBIR 17.3 and STTR 17.C close at 8:00 p.m. ET

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about DCAA and FAR compliance issues pertaining to DoD SBIR awards, please contact us at any time.

Good luck!

*Photo credit: https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/

Topics: 2017.3 DoD SBIR, 2017.C DoD STTR

Preparing Government Contract Cost Proposals

Posted by Tyler Link on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 @ 12:54 PM

As we mentioned last week, this is a busy time of year for contractors.  The end of the Federal Government's FY is rapidly approaching, the DoD SBIR 2017.2 Solicitation opens one week from today, and September & October are some of the busiest procurement months in the aerospace and research communities.  With this is mind, ReliAscent would like to remind all defense contractors and small businesses to download a copy (if you haven't already), of our helpful white paper:

"Preparing a Government Contract Cost Proposal"

Contract Cost Proposal White Paper

One of the most difficult things to see at ReliAscent is when a client or small business is awarded a contract or grant that has "losing" features built in to their proposal.  Minor errors and oversights can turn the excitement of an award into a stressful, money-losing nightmare.

The problem is that cost proposals are often viewed as one of the simplest sections of a proposal. How hard could it be to pull together a list of expenses after all?  

So, why then, do we find so many mistakes? First of all, rules on cost proposals for the government aren’t intuitive. They introduce the concept of indirect rates, pools, bases and allocations of intermediate rates...this can quickly complicate matters, and get contractors into trouble.

We hope you find this white paper useful, and be sure to check out our library of free white papers on helpful topics for defense contractors and SBIR/STTR contractors/grantees, including: indirect rates, uncompensated overtime, the SF1408 Preaward Survey, contract reviews, and many more!

If you have any questions about DCAA compliant accounting or any of our contract management services, please feel free to contact us at any time.

Topics: Pricing Proposal, Cost Proposal, government contract cost proposal

A Quick Guide to the DCAA Compliant Accounting System - SF 1408 White Paper

Posted by Dave Donley on Tue, Sep 12, 2017 @ 01:30 PM

With the DoD SBIR 2017.2 awardee selections now being released, and the 2017.3/C SBIR/STTR Announcements opening in just two weeks (9/26/17), ReliAscent would like to remind all defense contractors and small businesses to download a copy (if you haven't already), of our helpful white paper:

"A Quick Guide to the DCAA Compliant Accounting System - Understanding the SF 1408."


The SF 1408 Pre-Award Survey is the DCAA’s standard means for evaluating your accounting system for compliance (and if your system is not compliant it can jeopardize your funding or even cause legal troubles down the road).  If you haven’t been exposed to SF 1408, you most certainly will be at some point, should you continue to work with the Federal Government (especially companies contracting with the DoD, NASA, and DHS).

Whether you are a relatively new contractor, or have been contracting with the Federal Government for years, this white paper can be your quick reference guide to understanding what each requirement of the SF 1408 means to you and your accounting system, and can be a helpful tool for employees as well as subcontractors.

Be sure to check out our library of free white papers on helpful topics for defense contractors and SBIR/STTR contractors/grantees, including: indirect rates, uncompensated overtime, cost proposal preparation, contract reviews, and many more!

If you have any questions about DCAA compliant accounting or any of our contract management services, please feel free to contact us at any time.

Topics: DCAA compliance, SF1408, DCAA Audits, DCAA Pre-Award Audit, DCAA Pre-Award Survey

ReliAscent Presenting at California SBIR Road Tour

Posted by Tyler Link on Thu, Sep 07, 2017 @ 10:44 AM

We are happy to announce that ReliAscent CEO, Mike Anderson, will be presenting at the UC San Diego Office of Innovation and Commercialization’s SBIR Road Tour California, on September 11th.  Mike will be presenting “Accounting Systems needed for the SBIR/STTR Program” at 2:00 PM. 

The SBIR Road Tour is a national outreach effort to convey the non-dilutive technology funding opportunity provided through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Federal and California State Program Managers representing $2.5 billion in early stage funding will be in attendance, and available to meet with prospective companies to evaluate ideas and explain how to work with the various agencies (make sure to register and schedule your one-on-one meetings before the cut-off date on 9/1).

This event is an important opportunity for those involved in the advanced technology communities, including women-owned and minority-owned firms. If you’re an innovator, entrepreneur, researcher or small technology firm located in California, we urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to talk directly with federal agency program managers, and meet one-on-one with program decision makers, and industry experts like our own Mike Anderson.

ReliAscent Seminar at UC San Diego California SBIR Road Tour

To Register for the California SBIR Road Tour, Click Here Now!

We hope to see you there, and as always; if you ever have questions about government contract management or accounting compliance, please do not hesitate to contact ReliAscent!

Topics: SBIR/STTR Road Tour, SBIR Accounting, SBIR Road Tour California, ReliAscent Events

ReliAscent Presenting at Colorado PTAC - "What Triggers the Requirements in Government Compliant Accounting Systems?"

Posted by Tyler Link on Wed, Sep 06, 2017 @ 11:58 AM

ReliAscent would like to remind all government contractors and grantees in Colorado that registration closes shortly for next week’s PTAC Seminar on government contract accounting systems and DCAA audits.

The seminar is free to attend for all Colorado small businesses, and if you currently contract with the Federal Government (or are considering bidding on government contracts/grants), we highly encourage you to attend. But hurry, registration is limited and seats are going fast!

Topic: What Triggers the Requirements in Government Compliant Accounting Systems?
Date: September 13th, 1:00 – 3:30 PM
Location: 12200 Pecos Street Suite 100, Westminster CO 80234-3427

To Register for the Seminar, Click Here Now!

ReliAscent Colorado PTAC Seminar

Topics: PTAC, Colorado PTAC, DCAA Audits, Government Contract Accounting Systems

ReliAscent Presenting at Colorado PTAC - September 13th

Posted by Tyler Link on Wed, Aug 30, 2017 @ 09:35 AM

ReliAscent, in partnership with the Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), is excited to announce our latest government contracting compliance seminar on September 13th:

What Triggers the Requirements in Government Compliant Accounting Systems?

There is a “silent cost” in doing work for the Federal Government. This cost is driven by the multitude of regulations governing the contracting process with the government. At ReliAscent, we often refer to these confusing regulations as the “rat maze,” because these they tend to be difficult to understand, and often refer to other, equally confusing regulations. The presentation will discuss:

  • The criteria for an adequate accounting system for small businesses that want to be federal contractors
  • Pre-award accounting criteria
  • What triggers the requirements in Federal Government compliant accounting systems
  • Understand what criteria to use to build an adequate accounting system
  • Understand how an accounting system will support a DCAA audit

Mike Anderson, ReliAscent CEO, is presenting at the event, and we encourage all Colorado-based government contractors and grantees (and small businesses interested in working with the Federal Government), to attend. The event is free to all, and a great resource for small businesses. Space is limited and registration closes soon, so be sure to register today!

Government Contract Accounting Seminar - ReliAscent PTAC

To register for the seminar, click here now!

We hope to see you there, and as always; if you ever have questions about government contract management or accounting compliance issues, please do not hesitate to contact ReliAscent!

Topics: DCAA Compliant Accounting, Colorado PTAC, Seminars, DCAA Audits, Colorado Defense Contractors

Fixed-Fee Clause Confusion

Posted by Dave Donley on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 @ 01:30 PM

All cost-plus type contracts (other than construction contracts), will cite the FAR 52.216-8 fixed-fee clause. Its main purpose is to mandate that contracting officers withhold up to 15% of the total contract fixed fee (but no more than $100k) as a reserve “…to protect the Government’s interest.”

The confusion comes in on how this is applied to a contractor’s monthly cost-plus billing. Customarily, contractors are allowed to bill full fee incrementally (i.e. monthly) up to 85% of the total contract fixed-fee value. Once the 85% level is reached, fee is no longer billed, only costs.

A Second opinion

The trouble comes when some DCAA auditors interpret the clause to mean 15% of the calculated fee should be withheld from each invoice.

The clause is admittedly vague on the precise method to be used to withhold fee. Some contracts attempt to clarify with language such as:

Subject to the withholding provided for in the clause of this contract entitled 'Fixed Fee', … this fixed fee may be paid, as it accrues in monthly installments…”

This language still leaves open the question of whether the “accrued fee” includes the withholding of 15%.

As it is, the DCAA position is not in the contractor’s favor from a cash flow perspective, and is perhaps taking advantage of the vague regulatory language to gain some financial leverage, however small, for the government. Arguing with DCAA auditors who take a hard line on this also holds up the billing process and creates stress until the issue gets resolved.

Active measures

Should this be raised as an issue by DCAA or other government billing authorities, our experience is the customary practice described above should be followed, where fee is fully billed as a percentage of cost until the 85% total fee level is reached. If that’s not enough to convince the DCAA, then the issue should be brought up with the Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO/DCMA). If the DCAA is insistent, try to convince the ACO to add language to the contract such as:

“Fixed Fee may be billed at the negotiated percentage of costs until the cumulative billed fee amount is 85% of the total contract Fixed Fee.”

Proactive measures

If this issue continues to occur because of a policy decision by either your local ACO or DCAA representatives, consider negotiated a fixed-fee clause directly into your contract. A close reading of the fee clause suggests the withhold can be anything up to 15%. Internal government instructions also suggest contracting officers should articulate which method of billing is preferred. Since you typically negotiate the new contract with the Procuring (Project Office) Contracting Officer (PCO) and not the ACO, leaving this negotiating point to the interpretation of others (ACO and DCAA) invites confusion and conflict when it’s time to bill.

Topics: Fixed Fee Contracts, Fixed Fee Clause, Fixed Fee, DCAA Fixed Fee

IP Protection Seminar with ReliAscent Partner, Martensen IP

Posted by Tyler Link on Mon, Jul 10, 2017 @ 11:02 AM

ReliAscent partner, Martensen IP (a Colorado Springs-based IP protection and government contracting law firm), is hosting an event for contractors tomorrow, at the Catalyst Campus for Technology & Innovation, in Colorado Springs. Protecting your IP is critical in the Federal Government Contracting realm (especially for SBIR/STTR contractors and grantees), and we encourage our clients and other Colorado-based defense contractors to attend if you have the chance.


IP Protection


If you've heard that protecting IP is important, but you're not sure why, this presentation will help. Because IP security isn't just part of the ballgame, it is the ballgame. And there are certain "musts" that are bare minimums for you to consider and implement. 

Local attorney and former Air Force fighter pilot Michael Martensen shares his decades of experience with a concise, insightful talk that will address some IP myths

  • Protecting IP is futile when dealing with the government.
  • In the government space arena, IP concerns are a waste of time and money. 
  • Commercializing IP derived from government contracts is impossible.
  • The prime contractor will take my IP and underbid me.

A light breakfast and coffee will be provided to attendees. 

To register for the event, click here now!


Topics: IP Rights, IP Strategy, IP Protection Lawyers, SBIR IP Protection