Small Businesses pursuing non-dilutive funding through the National Science Foundation's SBIR/STTR program must pass a financial review prior to receiving a Phase II award. This is known as a Financial Review and CAP review. There are also requirements placed on the Phase II awardee by the award document and many small businesses are unfamiliar with both the process and the requirements for accounting and financial systems during the performance of the award. I will try here to outline briefly (a 30,000 foot view) what is required by the NSF and why.Read More
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Posted by Mike Anderson on Fri, Oct 16, 2020 @ 03:13 PM
ReliAscent would like to remind small businesses planning on submitting a proposal in the latest NSF SBIR/STTR Solicitation, that proposals are due on December 6th. To view the complete list of topic areas for this solicitation, visit:Read More
Posted by Mike Anderson on Wed, May 13, 2015 @ 09:00 AM
When a company is dealing with the DoD or NASA, it is usually very clear that their accounting systems are required to not only be compliant with FAR regulations but must be capable of passing a DCAA audit. When dealing with other agencies, such as the NSF, DOE or HHS (mainly the NIH division) it may not be as demanding that the system be capable of meeting these difficult regulations. It may even be less risky as to whether or not the agency will monitor the accounting system in the form of an audit. The agency usually requires audits for awards over $500,000 or $750,000 but they normally put the burden of audit on the awardee. Sometimes the agency may not have time to follow-up to make sure that the awardee is getting the independent audits done and the awardee may come away with a “false sense of security” that they are doing things in a correct manner and within the guidelines allowed by the agency. In fact, the awardee may be violating terms of the award and just does not know it. I have heard of instances where small companies went many years with awards that required the independent “Yellowbook” audits but did not perform them and thought they were in compliance. In one instance I saw one of these companies receive a letter finally from the DOE stating they did not have records of the audits from the previous 8 years and they were requesting these documents be sent to the agency within 30 days or face termination of current funding. Imagine the panic within this organization as they had not done any audits for the last 8 years!Read More
Today ReliAscent conducted a webinar about the NSF accounting requirements, especially related to the SBIR Phase II award. ReliAscent is partnering with Dawnbreaker® on this effort. For those of you not familiar with Dawnbreaker®, they are a firm that NSF has contracted with to help NSF SBIR award winners to develop commercialization plans for the technology developed in the SBIR award. The NSF noticed that there were a number of companies selected for a Phase II award and then declined an award due to failure in the verification process. The NSF asked Dawnbreaker® to give some guidance on this subject to the companies they were working with. This is where we came in. Brian Sperry, a veteran of many years work with NSF SBIR grants, and I teamed up for the presentation. I thought mentioning some of the highlights would be worthwhile here in the blog.
The NSF looks at 3 basic things prior to award after a company's SBIR proposal has been selected. These 3 areas are:
- Adequacy of the Awardee's Accounting System (Go/NoGo)
- Financial Viability of the Awardee (Go/NoGo)
- Budgetary Review (Adjustment/Negotiation)
The National Science Foundation (NSF) was the Federal Agency that gave birth to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. They currently are the fifth largest agency for awarding money to the SBIR/STTR programs annually. The requirements in dealing with the NSF are slightly different from the requirements in dealing with the Department of Defense (DoD) which has the largest SBIR/STTR budget. Many times small business owners will begin dealing with one agency and not realize the differences. This can cause problems.