Your Source for DCAA News and Government Contracting Information 


Money in FY 2010 Budget still available

Posted by Mike Anderson on Wed, Aug 04, 2010 @ 02:13 PM

There appears to be a lot of "unspent" money left in the FY 2010 budget that has not yet been spent.  Some estimates show that there is over $110 Billion that has not been spent and there are only 2 months left in the fiscal year. Now, given the state of the economy and the trend of the Obama Administration, it may not all get spent this year.  Especially when you consider the President's State of the Union address where he proposed a "freeze" on spending other than for National Security.  But when you look at where the funds are available, there is over $70 Billion of Department of Defense money not yet spent and over $700 Million between International Assistance & the State Department.  Certainly if a contractor has a product or service that would be of value to the government and you know who to talk with in the procurement group, now would be the time to talk with them about getting a government contract in place before the end of the fiscal year.  Those funds will either not be available in the first place next year or the contracting organization will be under a lot more scrutiny in making purchases.  The window of opportunity for just about any small business getting into government contracting may be closing somewhat in the near future.  It's like my old high school football coach used to say: "The train is getting ready to leave the station and either you are on the train or you will be left in the station".
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Topics: government contracting, government consulting, Governement contract

Improving Government Contracts by Presidential decree.

Posted by Mike Anderson on Thu, Jun 17, 2010 @ 07:00 AM

Well, as with anything from the government, there appears to be conflicting rules being issued.  At first glance when you look at 15 U.S.C. 644 (g) (1) it requires that a minimum of 23% of the value of all federal prime contracts issued are being issued to small businesses.  President Obama issued a memorandum (Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies,Subject: Government Contracting, dated March 4, 2009) that called for 5 main objectives including to clarify the role of when functions should be performed by federal employees and when independent contractors may be used.  When you consider this memo and read between the lines of actions by this administration it is clear that the size of the government workforce will be growing.  If indeed that is the case, will it not take more of the federal contracting "pie" from small businesses?  Most of the small business content has consisted of services provided to the government so by pulling more work into the government itself, this would logically have to reduce some of the small business contracting, wouldn't it?  I know this is not the intent of the administration and if you ask, they will certainly say that is not the case.  I rather suspect that this requirement will put more pressure on existing federal employees that are involved with the procurement of goods and services for the government, the contracting officers.  As most small business people that do work with the federal government learn, the contracting officer (CO) is in control of your situation in a government contract.  If the workload of the CO becomes more difficult, they will try to maximize their effectiveness by taking the path of least resistance.  What this means to small business is that they must take extra care to make sure they meet the requirements of the RFQ and make the CO's job as easy as possible.  This includes making sure your accounting system meets all the FAR guidelines and your indirect billing rates are up to speed.  

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Topics: Government Contract, government consulting, government contract management

Patent Law Reform and Government Contracts

Posted by Mike Anderson on Mon, Jun 14, 2010 @ 12:38 PM

Patent rights and protection of the invention for small business has always been a topic of discussion.  Questions such as "who has the patent rights", "What does an unrestricted license to the government mean" to "When should I file and how much will it cost me" are constantly on the minds of small businesses, especially those who do product development partially or wholly funded by government grants.  There is currently a bill in the house (H.R. 1260/S.515) which proposes significant change to the US patent law.  Currently the rights are associated with establishing which applicant actually invented the claimed invention first.  Most of the rest of the world, however, was operating under the "first-inventor- to-file" system.  The new bill will more closely align the US law with international norms.  The Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy invited many small businesses, patent attorneys that work traditionally with small business and venture capitalists that typically fund technology driven small businesses to a round table in May to voice opinions of the proposed new law.  There is definitely a feeling in this group that the law could penalize small businesses, many of which don't have the money to file the patent early.  It was also believed that the new regulation would increase the number of filings as well as limit the current method of raising capital that involved limited disclosure during the invention process (but this is prior to the patent filing).  There was a proposed compromise from the round table group that involved moving to a "first-inventor-to-file" system while retaining the current "grace period" that is part of the current  system.  Personally I think we need to make it easier for the small business to obtain a patent, not more difficult.  We should not penalize small business.  Compromises like those proposed at the SBA's round table meeting will be needed to make sure the interests of small business are maintained.  I suggest voicing your opinion on this topic.  
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Topics: government consulting, government contract management, H.R. 1260/S. 515, Patent

Deltek Insight 2010

Posted by Mike Anderson on Tue, May 11, 2010 @ 08:50 AM

Well, it's time again.  Deltek's annual Conference of users and prospective users is next week in Washington D.C.  This event is a great opportunity to learn more about the Deltek accounting software, learn about new releases and to network with existing users.  This is a time to learn more about government contract management.  Yes, it tends to be a little expensive, they charge $1,300 in addition to the travel expenses required.  The return is that all of the "experts" from the Deltek organization are in one place and you can easily get any questions answered about the software, its capabilities or meet potential customers or partners.  They offer excellent conference sessions on everything from details such as "Pool Structures for every Client Level" to "Surviving a Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) Audit".  Tech Biz will be doing one of the seminar sessions entitled "The Art and Science of Indirect Rates".  Dave Donley will be presenting this topic.  Dave, as many of you know, is highly knowledgeable in the area of indirect rates and has an extensive career in government contracting.  If you don't have the time or money to attend Insight 2010 but would like to learn more about Dave's presentation, please either call me at 303-867-8125 or e-mail me at manderson@techbizsolutions.com and I will fill you in. 
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Topics: government consulting, DCAA, government contract management, Deltek

Do MBA's lack Business Ethics?

Posted by Mike Anderson on Tue, May 04, 2010 @ 01:12 PM

I just read an interesting article about how MBA students/graduates are more likely to cheat than other students/graduates.  http://business.rutgers.edu/files/thehoya_mccabe_march2.pdf  Being an MBA graduate myself immediately puts me on the defensive.  But after thinking about this, I realize that there are almost as many different personalities within my group of MBA degree holders as there are in society in general.  Certainly there are all types of ethics as well and you could even expect a statistical distribution within this population (MBA degree holders) of ethical beliefs and actions.  You don't have to look too far in either direction to see examples (Goldman Sachs, AIG & Enron  on one side and Honeywell, Google & Hewlett-Packard on the other).  What disturbs me is the statistical distribution is not a normal distribution but is skewed toward the side of "cheating".  If the MBA population represents business trends in general, will this "skewed" ethics curve soon translate into trends in our general society?  Has it already?  We are seeing increases in crime in general and more hostile encounters everyday (increase in road rage and increase in anger management awareness).   How can we stop and reverse this trend?  Until we start rewarding executives for making the "right decision" rather than making the largest return, we will continue to have this issue.  Trouble is, how do we measure the "right decision"?  Easier said than done.  A subjective measure like that has as many definitions as there are people in the world.  Stronger professional organizations might also help.  Possibly having business graduates take and sign to a Hippocratic Oath like professional physicians do might help.  Bottom line, it starts with each of us individually - we all need to have our own "Hippocratic Oath" that we follow.  I have one, do you?
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Topics: Ethics, government consulting, Business

DCAA guidance on FAR Circular 2005-37

Posted by Mike Anderson on Thu, Nov 19, 2009 @ 10:55 AM

In case you weren’t watching, there were some significant changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) recently.  The Secretary of Defense issued a Federal Acquisition Circular Number 2005-37 on October 14, 2009.  Of the 7 changes implemented in this document, item V (Limitations on Pass-Through Charges (Interim)) has the most severe impact.  This change restricts what they call “excessive pass thru charges”  by contractors from subcontractors.  Basically if the contractor has a subcontractor with more than 70 percent of the total cost of work to be performed on the contract, the contractor cannot receive indirect costs or profits on this subcontract.  This restriction is effective October 14, 2009 (it is now in effect)!   Many contractors may not be aware of the change.   So the amount of work put on the contractor just grows.  It is becoming more difficult for the average small business owner to know how to safely fulfill requirements of government contracting.  It is clear small business needs help in the area of government contracting now more than ever.

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Topics: FAR, 2005-37, Government Contract, government consulting, DCAA audit

Autonomous DCAA?

Posted by Mike Anderson on Fri, Oct 09, 2009 @ 03:17 PM

We are continuing to see more discussion about the DCAA and whether or not it should continue to function out of the Department of Defense or whether it should be it's own independent agency.  One side says that there is a conflict of interest of sorts.  The DCAA lacks independence over the contractors that it oversees because the Defense Department is doing business with those contractors.  They further believe that pressure from outside groups is the reason for shoddy audit practices and approval of substandard systems.  This seems to be supported by the fact that when the GAO reviewed 69 audits performed between 2004 & 2006 they found that 65 of these audits were faulty in some regard.  This has caused the DCAA to issue "get tough" messages to their auditors (see our blogs; "DCAA to get tougher (again) and may become more influential" and "DCAA 2008 Year End Guidance - Happy Holidays, Government Contractors").  There are several US senators, namely Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Olka. and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., that want to re-design the DCAA and make them an autonomous agency to cure the problems.  The comptroller of the Pentagon, Robert Hale, strongly opposes this move and feels that the DCAA should continue to report to him.   The DCAA itself has not only issued the above referenced "get tough" directives to their auditors but they are also prioritzing their audit plan for 2010 to focus on high-risk, high-dollar value audits.  They also have changed the way they evaluate their auditors, focusing more on adherence to audit standards than to the number of audits performed.  All auditors have also been given refresher training focusing on increasing the quality of the audits. 

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Topics: government consulting, government contractor, DCAA