Traditionally software was either designed to meet DCAA requirements or, if it was not, there were external engines required to make the system compliant for DCAA accounting. Most of the software designed specifically to meet the DCAA requirements was software that only larger companies could afford, like Deltek Costpoint®, Sage MAS90® and other similar systems. As the government focused on gaining more business from Small Business, these systems appeared to be a barrier for Small business to gain entry into the marketplace. For this reason other systems became popular. Deltek purchased a company and came out with a program that looked, felt and did a lot of the same things that Costpoint did but was less expensive. Deltek marketed this software for Small Business under the Deltek GCS Premier® brand. This was still fairly costly for the very small businesses. Most of these small businesses were drawn to simple and efficient software like Peachtree® and QuickBooks®. Since these programs were not designed to meet DCAA requirements, some adjustment was required to make them a part of a DCAA compliant accounting system. Usually things like a compliant timekeeping system and a system for calculating indirect billing rates and creating complete job cost reports were done outside of the accounting program. These "add ons" were necessary to complete the software system and then policies and procedures were required to make a complete system that was compliant. If the person putting together the system did not have extensive experience in government contracting, and specifically with DCAA compliant accounting systems, the chances of the system being capable of passing an audit were reduced.
After going over a little history above, it is worth noting that all of these systems were traditionally hosted on the company's server or computer network. In other words, the company would purchase the software and install it on their own computers. To make sure the system was reliable and robust, some amount of IT knowledge was required by the company as well. Maintenance on the servers was a must. Updates to the software would require purchasing either upgrades every year or a maintenance agreement that required an annual expense. Again, a cost barrier of sorts for the small business.
Over the last 5 years the market for software has seen some changes. The evolution of the Cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) has begun to change this dynamic. This allows a company to purchase software on a cloud server on an "as needed" basis and the software is always maintained by the host. In other words, the company doesn't have to worry about yearly updates, they are handled on the cloud. Also, the company doesn't have to worry about maintaining the server, reliability, up-time, security among other tasks. This is all taken care of by the provider on the cloud. Thus, the SaaS solution may be a monthly charge but it covers so much more than just owning a software package. The company's data is secure an backed up regularly. It is reliable, up time is guaranteed in most cases, security is guaranteed and the most current revisions of the software are guaranteed. At first this was difficult for some users to accept because they didn't have the physical computer where their data was stored. As the industry developed it has become more obvious that this is sometimes even more secure than on your own server.
Today we are seeing a migration towards the cloud and SaaS. Deltek has eliminated the Deltek GCS Premier® product and replaced it with a product called Deltek First Essentials®. This is really just the GCS product hosted on the Deltek Cloud and sold as a SaaS product. Other systems such as Procas® are also marketed as a SaaS system. QuickBooks® has always had a cloud SaaS product called QuickBooks On-Line®. Some of the features of the QuickBooks® desktop software have not been available in the On-Line version and this is a limitation for government contractors. ReliAscent has placed the QuickBooks® desktop software on the ReliAscent Cloud and we can offer clients an on-line, cloud based version of the software. ReliAscent has the "add-on" features as well to make a DCAA Compliant Accounting system fully cloud based and using QuickBooks®. We feel this offers clients a lot of advantages like we discussed above. Please call me today and I can explain how this could work for you. You will have a more efficient and, in the long run, a cheaper system that is a DCAA compliant accounting system.