Your Source for DCAA News and Government Contracting Information 


Happy New Year Government Contractors

Posted by Mike Anderson on Wed, Oct 05, 2011 @ 08:56 AM

The new year starts this week for the government.  Just like last year at this time, the budget is not yet approved for this fiscal year.  Instead, the House just approved yesterday a measure to operate through mid-November.  This happened several times last fiscal year too if you remember.  Finally the government threatened to shut down in late spring before congress approved the budget.  In other words, the government operated half way through the fiscal year without an approved spending budget!  (Try that in your business!!)  We are headed for more of the same this year.  Federal spending is cautious at best under such guidelines.  Spending is postponed for fear of possible cuts and/or cancellations.  This makes it difficult not only for the Contracting Officers but also for the businesses bidding on projects that the government needs to buy.  Combine this with the proposed trimming of the budget and business is very uncertain and tough for small business contractors.  Large business contractors also feel the pain.  It has always been a challenge to do business with the Federal Government but now, especially with the certain drop in defense spending for the first time in over 10 years,  makes it even more challenging.  There are some areas of opportunity in this market however.  It seems that certain areas of spending will demand a growing emphasis, including areas such as Energy (especially conservation related areas), Healthcare, Budget Streamlining and Cybersecurity.  There will continue to be Defense related opportunities (spending will be cut, not eliminated) but they will result in more competition and it will be harder to secure them.  This will mean businesses need to focus on making sure their systems are compliant, that they can deliver a quality product, at a competitive price and on time.  Sounds like typical "lip service" except in today's environment this is no longer "lip service".  Only the "best" will survive the competition.  If you would like help making sure your offering is in this class, Tech BizSolutions can help you. 
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Topics: government contracting, 2012 Budget Cuts, Business Strategy

Government Contract Types & the Risk Continuum

Posted by Mike Anderson on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 @ 12:48 PM

You maybe surprised to learn that the government attempts to us many of the same practices commercial firms use to buy products and services. In fact, you could say the majority of what the government purchases falls into this category. For the most part, the government purchases what it needs on a competitive, best-value, fixed-price basis. That’s no different than most commercially businesses, and it’s even how consumers chose the majority of their purchases.

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Topics: Contract type, Risk Continuum, Government Contract, government contracting

Department of Defense - Continuing Resolution?

Posted by Mike Anderson on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 @ 09:51 AM

What is wrong with the way we are currently operating our government?  The government operates on a budget year from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.  Theoretically the budget for the fiscal year should be established and approved prior to the start of the year.  Right now, the budget is not approved!  What?  That's right, the budget is operating on what is called a "continuing resolution" authorized by congress.  This means uncertainty, it means inefficiency and it means slow actions by the acquisition arm of the government (since they are not sure of funding, whether it will be approved, reduced, increased, eliminated, etc).  Undersecretary of Defense Aston Carter describes the problems well.  This short video allows some of his views of the problem. 

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Topics: SBIR Re-authorization, Ashton Carter, Government Contract, government contracting, DoD, Defense Budget

Does the government encourage the Small Business Contract?

Posted by Mike Anderson on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 @ 01:28 PM

In the recent recession, many businesses turned to the Federal Government for business out of necessity to "stay alive".  After all, the government was spending money when most other consumers were not.  As more small businesses got into government contracting, more of these contractors realized how ill prepared they were to deal with the Federal Government.  The Federal Government has a mandate to purchase at least 20% of their procured items from small business.  In addition, the Small Business Innovative Research program is designed to help fund the development of small business.  There are "set asides" for small businesses, disadvantaged businesses and special loans created for small businesses.  Still, it seems that the government makes it difficult for the small business as well.  For instance, the Office of Advocacy, Small Business Administration has done research that shows small companies (less than 20 employees) can spend as much as 36% more than larger businesses just to comply with Federal Regulations.  Many times larger businesses have staff members that can deal strictly with federal regulations but the small business cannot afford a "specialist" on their staff.  This expertise can be outsourced or it can be accomplished in one of the employees "spare time".  Normally the "spare time" approach ends up in mistakes in complying with one or more regulations which further exacerbates the problem.  President Obama seems to be focusing on this issue and has issued a memorandum about regulatory flexibility.  Not sure that is enough relief. 
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Topics: government contracting, Government contract consultants, SBIR, Governement contract

FAA's eFAST system Open Season

Posted by Mike Anderson on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 @ 07:00 AM

The Federal Aviation Administration's program for small businesses to do business includes a special program called eFAST.  This program has become the preferred acquisition vehicle for Small Business within the agency.  Originally there were 246 participants in this program with 120 contracts awarded since December of 2009.  This amounted to over $522 million in contract values with over $155 million awarded to 8(a) companies and over $89 million to Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses.  There is no disagreement that the vehicle is a good one for awarding business to small businesses.  The problem has been how to obtain an eFAST Master Ordering Agreement (MOA).  The agency has just opened a new solicitation for companies to apply for an MOA.  The final announcement was issued January 17 and the "Open Season" for submission of proposals is January 17th to February 18th.  Registration for proposal submissions is open January 5th thru February 10th.  NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT if you have any desire to participate in this program.  eFAST covers 8 functional areas, mostly related to services provided for the FAA like Research & Development, Business Management Support, Engineering services, IT services, Maintenance & Support among others.  Don't miss this excellent contracting opportunity if you support or want to support FAA activities.
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Topics: eFAST, Open Season, FAA, government contracting

CCAT opportunities for government contracting for new innovations.

Posted by Mike Anderson on Wed, Nov 10, 2010 @ 03:02 PM

There are currently several opportunities for funding to bring products into the hands of the first responder and other DoD users from the Center for Commercialization of Advanced Technology (CCAT).  For instance, if you have used the SBIR program to fund product development but you are not quite to the commercialization stage and need funding to get this product into an introductory market, this could be your opportunity.  There are currently 4 solicitations from the CCAT on their website:

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Topics: CCAT, government contracting, SBIR, Announcements, Governement contract

Government Contracting not getting any easier

Posted by Mike Anderson on Thu, Oct 14, 2010 @ 01:45 PM

Many of our clients have noticed a "different" DCAA recently.  Other clients have noticed that there is a difference in their subcontracts with major primes.  All of them don't understand how they could have been doing the same type of contracting in the past without this type of scrutiny and why has that changed?  Well, we have to go back about 18 months.  The DCAA was audited by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and found to have errors in their audits.  A second review by the GAO disclosed further and more widespread problems.  Then the Senate got involved (Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee) and the DCAA came under close scrutiny.  Shortly thereafter, the head of the DCAA was dismissed.  To make a long story short, the DCAA has come under intense scrutiny and criticism over the last 18 months.  Many changes have been implemented at the suggestion of everyone in authority.  Ok, but what does that mean?  It means that the DCAA's reaction is also severe.  The DCAA is following all the regulations (FAR, CAM, GAGAS, and more) to the letter.  As a matter of fact, some of the GAO criticism and Senate committee criticism centered on the fact that DCAA supervisors over-rode auditor findings and recommendations.  Other findings centered on audits being done too fast without focusing on the quality of the audits.  The DCAA response is obviously to hire more auditors so that they won't fall further behind, while doing more thorough audits.  The other obvious change is that DCAA audit supervisors are resistant to over-ride an auditor's finding.  Well, if the auditor is not using common sense or is just "off-base", it is not getting thrown out like before.  Likewise, previously the DCAA auditor would provide an audit report that "passed with some recommendations".  Today the contrator either passes or fails the audit, no more intermediate grades.  This means compliance is harder, especially for smaller businesses.  This trend is likely to continue for some time.  Contractors will find it more difficult to comply with all the rules, especially if they are not fully accustom to the government regulations.  Government contracting is becoming more difficult.  Most contractors either need to have an "expert" on staff or they need to outsource expertise to insure compliance.  
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Topics: government contracting, DCAA compliance, DCAA, DCAA audit