DCAA Compliance Blog

Your Source for DCAA News and Information for Contractors

ReliAscent® LLC is the only government contract accounting firm that specializes in all aspects of government contracting compliance.  From our DCAA compliant accounting services, to monthly government contract accounting for all government agency awards, contract management & administration, and financial services & planning, our goal is to ensure the success of our clients, and all small business government contractors and grantees.  

In our DCAA Blog, we discuss the latest government contracting news from the Federal Government, the DCAA, and DCMA, as well as promotions offered by ReliAscent, and helpful tools and resources for contractors.

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!  


DoD SBIR/STTR 2019.1/A Opens for Proposal Submission Today

Posted by Tyler Link on Tue, Jan 08, 2019 @ 09:19 AM

DoD SBIR/STTR 2019.1/A Opens

The Department of Defense's SBIR 19.1 and STTR 19.A BAA's are Now Open for Proposal Submission!

Small Businesses may now submit their Phase I proposals for the SBIR/STTR 2019.1/A Broad Agency Announcements (BAA) through the Department of Defense (DOD) SBIR/STTR proposal submission website. All proposals for this BAA must be received by 8:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. 

SBIR/STTR Dates to Remember: 

  • January 8, 2019: SBIR 19.1 and STTR 19.A open 
  • January 23, 2019: SITIS closes to new questions 
  • February 6, 2019: SBIR 19.1 and STTR 19.A close at 8:00 p.m. ET

Proposal Submission
Proposals must be submitted via the DOD SBIR/STTR submission website at https://sbir.defensebusiness.org following the DOD instructions contained in the Announcement, as well as the instructions specific to the Service or Component to which you are applying.

During the open Announcement period, no further direct contact between proposers and topic authors is allowed. However, proposers are encouraged to review relevant information and submit written questions through the SITIS Q&A System at https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/topics

The SITIS Q&A service for this Announcement opened on November 28, 2018 and closes to new questions on January 23, 2019. Proposing firms are advised to monitor SITIS during the Announcement period for questions and answers.

Good luck to all of you submitting proposals, and remember: if you do not have a DCAA compliant accounting system required for a Ph II award (or any cost type contract awarded by NASA, the DoD, DHS and other agencies), or are not sure if your current system is fully compliant, please feel free to contact the experts at ReliAscent! 

Topics: 2019.A STTR, 2019.1 SBIR, DoD SBIR/STTR

Why Right Now is the Best Time to Submit Your 2019 Billing Rate Proposal (“BRP”)

Posted by Tyler Link on Thu, Dec 20, 2018 @ 10:45 AM

Contractors with cost-plus fixed fee contracts always feel the squeeze of submitting their current year budgeted billing rates within 90 days of the close of their fiscal year end. While using your 2018 rates for January-March billings should still be approved for payment, you will save yourself from the large headache of reconciling if you submit your 2019 Billing Rate Proposal to get current provisional billing rates sooner than later.

Your Billing Rate Proposal is a required part of contracts containing FAR 42.7. The “BRP” establishes the indirect rates you can apply to your direct costs for your current Fiscal Year. For companies with a December 31 year end, this means you must submit this no later than March 31.

As the year comes to an end, it is the best time to put your budget together and prepare for your on-going efforts for the coming year. If you are unsure of where to start, you can always contact your ReliAscent accountant for help- we have spent years analyzing, developing and preparing Billing Rate Proposals.  We help you look at your current contracts as well as estimated efforts, your anticipated contracts and anticipated efforts, where your current staffing may fall short to fill the gaps, and what costs to plan on increasing in the coming year.

By establishing your 2019 provisional rates now, you will be able to utilize these “new” rates to keep your invoicing in line with your budget, and more accurately see how your current rates are comparing to your budgeted rates throughout the year.  

Topics: billing rate proposals, BRP's

DoD SBIR/STTR 2019.1/A BAA Pre-Release

Posted by Tyler Link on Thu, Nov 29, 2018 @ 01:54 PM

DoD SBIR STTR Program 2019.1_A

The Department of Defense SBIR/STTR 19.1/A Broad Agency Announcements (BAA) were pre-released yesterday on the DOD SBIR/STTR Small Business Portal. During the pre-release period, contractors may now view topics and ask technical questions directly to topic authors (contact information can be found at the bottom of each individual topic). Topics can be viewed at: https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/topics.

The DOD will begin accepting proposals on January 8, 2019, and will close to proposals on February 6, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. ET. Plan ahead and submit your proposal early to avoid heavy traffic on the site during the final week.

Dates to Remember:

1) SBIR 19.1 and STTR 19.A Pre-release: November 28, 2018
2) SBIR 19.1 and STTR 19.A Open: January 8, 2019
3) SITIS Q&A Close: January 23, 2019
4) SBIR 19.1 and STTR 19.A Close: February 6, 2019

Good luck!

Topics: DoD SBIR/STTR, DoD SBIR 2019.1

Department of Energy SBIR Phase I FY2019 Release 2 Topics Now Available

Posted by Dave Donley on Tue, Oct 30, 2018 @ 09:00 AM

Department of Energy SBIR 2019 R2

The DOE has just released its next round of topics for the FY2019 SBIR Phase I solicitation. Grant limits are a bit higher at $200,000 along with an increase of Commercial Assistance allowance to $6,500. See https://science.energy.gov/sbir/funding-opportunities/

ReliAscent, LLC previously participated in the DOE SBIR Phase 0 program, partnering with DawnBreaker to provide budget preparation services and guidance to applicants. These and other general grant solicitation services are still available to applicants through ReliAscent, LLC.

Submission dates to watch for:

Topics Issued: October 29, 2018
Topics webinars: November 5, 2018
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA): November 26, 2018
FOA webinar: November 30, 2018
Letter of Intent Due: December 17, 2018
Applications Due: February 4, 2019

Topics: DoE SBIR, DoE SBIR 2019

DoD Contract Negotiations: An $18 Million Dollar Case Study

Posted by Dave Donley on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 @ 01:17 PM

Defense Contract Negotiations

While compliant accounting systems and full back office accounting services are a major focus for ReliAscent, this is a foundation for a number of other competencies we possess. One is Contract Negotiations. We have an abundance of experience, knowledge, and insight into the negotiation process in general and helping clients in the gov-con space in particular.  A quick look at a recently concluded negotiation offers a window into services we can provide.


The ReliAscent team assisted an SBIR client years ago setting up their accounting system to meet DCAA compliance requirements for cost-plus type contracts. Their prototype proved successful, and after a couple more development contracts, it was time to bid on and negotiate a sole-source, fixed-price production contract for a substantial number of units.

Government evaluation

The government conducted essentially two types of evaluations of the client’s proposal: a technical and a cost/price evaluation. The technical folks took the proposal and made sure all the specifications could be meet. They also weighed in on the number of hours it took to build the particular product being sold. An auditor from the DCAA was assigned to evaluate of cost, and the contracting officer asked the client to calculate fee using the DoD’s “weighted guidelines” method.

Government offer

The results of the government evaluation was a mixed bag. The technical folks seemed to be satisfied with the level of effort needed to produce the product. The DCAA, however, aggressively attacked the client’s direct costs and indirect rates. The contracting officer scored the client low on the factors used in the weighted guidelines for determining fee. This resulted in the government’s first offer being $18.3 million less than the proposed price.

Defending the proposal

With our assistance, the client provided strong assertions contrary to the DCAA findings based on the government’s own guidance and regulations regarding the DCAA’s findings. The turning point in negotiations hinged on having a teleconference with the contracting officer, technical staff, and the DCAA auditor to present our case. Also discussed was the client’s thorough evaluation of fee using the weighted guidelines method.

Crossing the finish line

Not unlike many negotiations, crossing the finish line meant compromise from both sides. Much of this also entails assessing the motivations and predicting the behavior of the other side. Working closely with our client, they were able to settle at a price they were comfortable with. Of the $18.3M the government questioned in their first offer, the client was able to recover approximately $9.5M.

ReliAscent: Building from the accounting

Our financial expertise starts with the bookkeeping and accounting, and extends into indirect rate development, job cost accounting, up to assuring the financial health and strategic growth of the client. While we excel at accounting for government contractors, we can address important issues across the entire acquisition cycle, from pricing through negotiations, contract management to closeout. A number of our staff are members of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA), and we abide by the NCMA Code of Ethics as a trusted member of the government acquisition ecosystem.

Topics: contract negotiations, defense contract negotiations, Negotiating with the DCAA

DoD SBIR/STTR 2018.3/C Closes Tomorrow (10/24)

Posted by Tyler Link on Tue, Oct 23, 2018 @ 02:18 PM

2018.3-C DoD SBIR-STTR Close October 24

ReliAscent would like to remind all Small Business Federal Contractors that the DoD's SBIR/STTR 2018.3/C BAA closes to proposal submission tomorrow, Wednesday October 24th, at 8 PM ET. As always, we highly recommend that you submit your proposals as early as possible in order to avoid potential complications (due to the high volume during the final hours of the announcements). All proposal are submitted through the DOD SBIR/STTR submission portal: https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/.

If you have any questions about SBIR contract compliance requirements, or require a DCAA compliant accounting system for a pending Ph II award (or other cost type contract), please feel free to contact us at any time!

Good luck!


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

Topics: 2018.3 DoD SBIR, 2018.C DoD STTR

Free QuickBooks DCAA Compliance Review

Posted by Tyler Link on Mon, Oct 08, 2018 @ 11:06 AM

QuickBooks DCAA Compliance Review

Government Contractors: do you know if your accounting system is DCAA compliant?  When was the last time it was audited? Has it been properly maintained since?

What if you have a grant with the Department of Energy (DoE), or National Institutes of Health (NIH)? Do you know if your accounting system meets 10 CFR 600 or 45 CFR 74?  Are you aware of the risks posed to your company by not having a compliant accounting or timekeeping system? 

An evaluation of your accounting system today could save you severe (and costly) headaches when the Federal Government comes knocking. This evaluation can:

  • Identify “gaps” in your system compliance
  • Identify systems outside of the QuickBooks general ledger program that would be needed for full compliance
  • Prepare you so you are ready to pass your next audit
Do not jeopardize your company’s cash flow and security! Contact ReliAscent today to schedule your Free QuickBooks DCAA Compliance Review.

Topics: Quickbooks DCAA, Free QuickBooks Compliance Review, DCAA Compliant Accounting

Successful Government Contractors Need More Than Just An Accounting Firm...

Posted by Tyler Link on Wed, Oct 03, 2018 @ 09:00 AM

What Keeps You Awake

As a small business government contractor, what keeps you awake most nights?  While most would understandably answer, "winning that next contract," “making a profit,” or “avoiding a DCAA audit,” for many small businesses, it is the lack of proper contract and grant management that can be far more costly and devastating to their bottom line and day-to-day operations.  But, isn’t that something your CPA or DCAA bookkeeping firm should help you with?

Unfortunately, the reality is Government Accounting CPA and Bookkeeping firms are a dime a dozen—but accounting is really all you getIf you have problems with your contract, or are in desperate need of strategic financial or business consulting to stay profitable (or in the Federal Government’s good graces), you’re on your own

That’s what makes ReliAscent unique. We have over 200 combined years of DCAA compliant accounting experience, and we provide outsourced monthly accounting for contractors and grantees working with all government agencies.  But, our expertise doesn’t stop there.  Each of our clients has direct access to outsourced CFO’s and government contract management experts, and ReliAscent has nearly 200 years combined experience in government contract management.

At ReliAscent, we provide contractors with critical functions that help set them up for success and mitigate risk.  This includes things like contract reviews, negotiations, modifications & requests for equitable adjustment, and contract closeouts and terminations for convenience.  It is this unrivaled combination of knowledge, experience, and services, that sets ReliAscent apart from all other government contract accounting firms.

Contact us today to learn how our complete compliance solution can help position your business for success.

Topics: government contract management, DCAA Compliant Accounting, government contract reviews

Are You Properly Managing Your Indirect Rates?

Posted by Tyler Link on Mon, Oct 01, 2018 @ 08:28 AM

Indirect Rates Structure Rubik's Cube

In the world of government contracting, a company's indirect rates are absolutely critical in managing costs effectively and ensuring the business remains profitable.  However, your indirect rate structure is also one of the most important factors in your proposal when competing for a contract...and if you don't know HOW to properly manage your indirect rates—or, if you're not making strategic modifications to your rates at the right times—you may be setting yourself up for failure from the start.

If you don't know whether your rates are truly helping or hurting your business, now is the time to take advantage of ReliAscent's Free Indirect Rates Review.  Our review provides contractors and grantees with sound, valuable advice about their indirect rate system & structure, can help them to understand and maintain DCAA compliance, and can help a small business use their rates as a financial engine to grow their company.


With just a little information about your company, our experts can complete your indirect rates review and schedule a call to discuss the path forward, should you need help fixing any errors detected.

Request your Free Review today!


*Don't Forget to Also Download our Helpful White Papers on Indirect Rates:

Topics: Indirect rates, Indirect billing rates, indirect rates review, managing your indirect rates

New ReliAscent White Paper - Cost and Pricing Data Explained

Posted by Tyler Link on Fri, Sep 28, 2018 @ 09:07 AM

Yesterday, ReliAscent released our latest white paper, "Cost and Pricing Data Explained," written by our own, Dave Donley. This paper covers the basics of cost and pricing data, as well as some techniques to reduce risk.

To get your copy of "Cost and Pricing Data Explained," click here now!

Cost and Pricing Data White Paper

We hope you find this white paper helpful, and be on the lookout for our next white paper coming in November: "Strategically Managing Your Indirect Rates."

Topics: cost and pricing data, certified cost or pricing data