accounting systems

Five Years; time to give back to our wonderful readers! Part 1 of 4:

As Arrowhead celebrates our 5th anniversary, we realize that we could not have done it without all the support from you – our readers and clients!

To give back, we’d like to share some government contracting tips and tricks so that you can be the best government contractor possible. Each week, throughout the month of March, we’re going to be posting 5 tips to celebrate 5 years. Cheers!

This week’s post: Government Contracting: Tips and Tricks Part 1 – DCAA and Government Accounting

#1: Ask “How would we fair during a DCAA audit?” Not sure? Try a mock audit with Arrowhead’s experts on the other side of the table before there is DCAA in the picture.

#2: Make sure you know what wrap rate means. Need a refresher?

#3: Be familiar with indirect and direct rates. Read On…

#4: Read RFQs carefully – response instructions must be followed exactly as stated.

#5: Make sure to time your GSA proposal right  (if you have one). Not sure? Just call Arrowhead and we’ll help you sort it out. Don’t know if you really need a GSA? You could be right. Not all companies can benefit from being on a GSA Schedule. Arrowhead will also help you sort this out.

Don’t forget to follow Arrowhead Solutions on Twitter (@arrowheadllc) for daily tips, too!

See you next week!

Press Release: Arrowhead Solutions, LLC Celebrates Five Years of Continued Growth

Boulder, CO (March 3, 2014) – Stephanie Mueller Amend, Founder of the boutique consulting firm, Arrowhead Solutions, LLC, announces the company’s five-year anniversary. With specialties in supporting small businesses with the processes and cycles relating to government proposals, GSA Schedules, contracts, accounting, compliance and marketing to the government, .  Arrowhead continues to experience significant revenue growth year over year. Focusing on quality and effectiveness differentiates Arrowhead as a top-rated, government contractor consulting firm. Positive reviews of Arrowhead from current clients are well documented, and continue to lead to the company’s growth supporting clients from coast to coast. Diversification into commercial support for clients and placing emphasis on strengthening client marketing efforts has allowed Arrowhead continued success; even as a recession, funding cuts, government shutdowns, and sequestration nearly paralyzed the industry of government contracting.

Marching with the rhythms of the government has been one key to Arrowhead’s continued success. Slow periods in government spending translate to “focus time” for Arrowhead clients’, as well all Arrowhead’s own, business development; hence the birth of the ArrowBD service and addition of the government marketing division of the business in 2013. Arrowhead’s next major advance, coming in 2014, will continue to propel Arrowhead and their clients forward for years to come.

About Arrowhead Solutions:

Arrowhead Solutions, LLC has been serving Boulder, Colorado area, the Denver Metro area, and clients across the nation since 2009. Stephanie Mueller Amend, founded Arrowhead after seeing a need for assistance in the small-business government contracting arena. Five years later, Arrowhead has fostered the ability to assist in every area of government contracting and grown to support a diverse roster of clients nationwide. For additional information about Arrowhead Solutions, LLC call 303-515-0527, email Lindsy Bentz, l.bentz@arrowheadsolutionsllc.com, or visit the website at: www.arrowheadsolutionsllc.com.

Indirect Rates: Government vs. Commercial

I am interested in your feedback!

Does your company (or your client) separate their indirect pools for government contracts from commercial contracts?

In assessing the cost / benefit for clients I am curious as to what strategies small government contractors are using to manage this process without overburdening the accounting department.

The Cost of Compliance

Have you ever heard of a potential customer being “wowed” by a company’s policies and procedures ?

NO of course not!

Customers are impressed by slick technology, impressive office space and well spoken business development directors.

Few small businesses ever want to spend their precious working capital on something as uniquely unglamorous as accounting and contracting policies and procedures.
So why bother investing the time and resources in developing them?
Because if your customer is the federal government, you not only have to “wow” them with your products and services but also with your adherence to the compliance requirements mandated in the FAR and other oversight regulations.
A message that we drive home with our clients and potential clients, is that the cost of compliance is significantly cheaper if compliance is addressed early in the company’s life cycle.
It is far (no pun intended of course) less expensive to develop and implement compliant policies and procedures while the company is young and has not become entrenched in business procedures that are not compliant and that have to be re-tooled completely.
This harkens back to the cost of quality adage that you can a spend a dollar today doing things right or a hundred dollars down the road to rework was what implemented poorly the first time.
Administrative “details” are the last thing that entrepreneurs want to focus on when building their products and delivering their services. This goes for everything from setting up well thought out accounting systems to implementing timekeeping systems or subcontracting policies.
Certainly the compliance requirements become increasingly more stringent the larger your contracts in value or diverse in contract vehicle, but assuming the goal of every young company is to grow, then the complexity and requirements will naturally follow.
If you understand the basics of compliance and have an idea of what the progression of requirements will be then you can manage the cost of implementation over time –
Spend the dollar today to prevent the necessity of spending the hundred when you realize after a visit from DCAA that you are out of compliance and that it will be a major fire drill to get your house in order or risk losing your contracts.

What will 2011 bring for government contracting?

On Face the Nation the other Sunday, the panel of reporters was asked to provide their predictions for 2011.  It will be interesting to see what materializes and who was right come this time next year.  This got me thinking about what 2011 may bring for our industry; one that is rarely ever spotlighted (unless there is some sort of drama). Although in our world the new year started on October 1st, it seems January 1st is still a significant milestone for us all.

This past year we saw GTSI get burned a bit and I don’t believe that the microscope will be lifted in 2011.  In fact, according to the WashingtonTechnology.com article, “Contract management becomes top priority for the White House”, the scrutiny will only get more intense.  The December 13th article quotes Dan Gordon, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy as stating, “We have got to stop situations where everybody knows that there are sham arrangements going on out there, but no one pays attention. We’re paying attention,” he adds,“We are taking this seriously, folks.”

Scrutiny, oversight, and better agency contract management is what government contracting in 2011 needs.  Post award management is crucial and hasn’t been given as much attention as preaward functions have in recent decades.  Granted, the preaward phase is critical to saving money with planning and selecting qualified suppliers. However, if a contractor goes on their merry way and the contract is left to collect dust until closeout, problems, and thus costs, will arise.  As the WashingtonTechnology.com article states, management and communication make all the difference in a successful acquisition and I couldn’t agree more.

What about the budget?  Let’s talk DOD.  According to the White House’s website, “The 2011 Budget for DOD provides $548.9 billion for the Department of Defense base budget in 2011, a 3.4 percent increase over the 2010 enacted level. This funding increase allows DOD to address its highest priorities, such as the President’s commitment to reform defense acquisition, develop a ballistic missile defense system that addresses modern threats, and continue to provide high quality health care to wounded servicemembers.” Notice the first priority listed? Reform of defense acquisition!

These numbers are good news for small business contractors.  More money directly from the DOD and through primes.  We’ll just have to see what the funding looks like once it is actually signed into law. The House passed a stripped down version of the bill on the 17th.  Here are the details of the reform points:

  • Ends the C-17 aircraft program because additional aircraft are not needed, saving $2.5 billion.
  • Eliminates the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Alternate Engine program, saving $465 million, because this program raises logistical, management, and cost concerns.
  • Saves an additional $73 million by terminating the Third Generation Infrared Surveillance program, and instead procures upgraded Space Based Infrared System Satellites in the future; it saves $8.5 million more by eliminating the Net-Enabled Command Capability program, which has been unable to meet its requirements on schedule.
  • Reduces the use of high-risk contracts in areas that relate to time-and-materials and labor hours by 17 percent through the end of 2011, and takes steps to ensure that military requirements for weapons are reasonable, program costs and schedules are realistic, and acquisition funding is stable and affordable.
  • Implement the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act.

With the reduction of T&M contracts, will this cause more small businesses to consider getting their systems ready for DCAA audit so they can compete on the Cost Type RFPs?  I actually hope so – although not a high priority for many small businesses who are comfy in their T&M contracts, having their accounting systems get approved may provide an edge in 2011.

Money, reform and the ever constant march of the government contracting life-cycle should make this a good year!