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Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small Business Contractors – Part 3

Part 3:  Essential Information Security Policies Now that you have an understanding of the rules, what systems must be covered and security tools you can use to comply, it’s time to consider policies. Keep in mind that your investment in security tools can be rendered useless without appropriate policies and training in place to require that employees use them. Policy Manual (NIST Category 2) A good policy manual should address all 14 categories.  You need to provide written policies and form
 

Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small Business Contractors – Part 2

Part 2:  Covered Systems and Security Tools In the 21st century, broadband networks and information technology have become powerful tools for small businesses. They help business reach new markets and increase sales and productivity. However, the same technology that powers business improvement is vulnerable to attack. Businesses must implement the best tools and tactics to protect themselves, their customers, and their data. As discussed in Part 1, federal contractors face a December 31 deadl
 

Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small Business Contractors – Part 2

Part 2:  Covered Systems and Security Tools In the 21st century, broadband networks and information technology have become powerful tools for small businesses. They help business reach new markets and increase sales and productivity. However, the same technology that powers business improvement is vulnerable to attack. Businesses must implement the best tools and tactics to… leftbrainpro.com
 

Federal Privacy Act Criminal Penalties Apply to Government Contractors

For more than 20 years, government contractors and their employees that operate an agency’s system of records have been subject to the same criminal penalties as government employees for violations of the federal Privacy Act (PA). These penalties have taken on new importance because a recent FAR amendment makes PA training required for certain federal contracts. Moreover, the training must include information on the criminal penalties a government contractor and its employees face for violating
 

Best Practices for Preparing Responsive Proposals – Part 2

Government agencies use the Request for Proposal process to find the best available solution to their needs at the most competitive price. In competitive bidding, an agency has a duty to reject proposals that are non-responsive or that fail to comply with the invitation to bid in a material way. This promotes objectivity and fairness in the bidding process and ensures that vendors are competing on an equal footing. In too many cases, contractors expend considerable time and effort developing a
 

Best Practices for Preparing Responsive Proposals – Part 1

Government agencies use the Request for Proposal process to find the best available solution to their needs at the most competitive price. In competitive bidding, an agency has a duty to reject proposals that are non-responsive or that fail to comply with the invitation to bid in a material way. This promotes objectivity and fairness in the bidding process and ensures that vendors are competing on an equal footing. In too many cases, contractors expend considerable time and effort developing a
 

The Proposal Adequacy Checklist

Is your proposal in response to a federal Request for Proposal thorough, accurate and complete? If not, chances are high that you will be eliminated from competition – which represents a waste of time and opportunity for you and a corresponding waste of time for the contracting agency. Contracting agencies use the RFP process to identify the best supplier based on a combination of qualifications, history of achievement, timeliness, responsiveness, and cost.  To have a chance at winning a contra
 

Davis-Bacon Act vs. Trump’s Looming Litmus Test

There is a lot of talk these days that the only proposal for which we are likely to see bipartisan support is President Trump’s promise to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.  According to Trump’s website (www.donaldjtrump.com),  “Infrastructure investment strengthens our economic platform, makes America more competitive, creates millions of jobs, increases wages for American workers, and reduces the costs of goods and services for American consumers.” What’s not to like?  Spending that benefit

Left Brain Professionals

Left Brain Professionals

 

Federal Contractors’ Obligations With Prevailing Wage and Fringe Benefits

Unique compensation requirements apply to federal contractors. In the construction sector, the Davis Bacon Act (DBA) requires covered contractors and subcontractors to pay a specific prevailing wage and fringe dollars for each hour an employee works on a covered job site. The regulations are difficult to understand for the non-initiated. Luckily, Lind Sawyer of Capital Strategies can make the confusing understandable. Here’s my conversation with Lind who was educating me on the finer points of

Left Brain Professionals

Left Brain Professionals

 

Complying with Prevailing Wage Laws on Government Contracts

Doing business with the government can be lucrative, but it requires compliance with a litany of complex laws and regulations impacting your day-to-day business operations. Complying with federal prevailing wage law requirements is one of the biggest headaches for many government contractors. Two primary laws govern how much you are required to pay employees and subcontractors on many contracts: The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) and the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA). The Dav

Left Brain Professionals

Left Brain Professionals

 

Why January is the Best Time to Begin Preparing the Incurred Cost Proposal

A new year presents new opportunities for working more efficiently and effectively. When dealing with federal contracts, the Incurred Cost Proposal (ICP) presents one of the biggest opportunities. You’re closing 2016 and preparing for taxes anyway. What better time to gather information and documents for the ICP? Not sure what an Incurred Cost Proposal is or whether you’re required to file one? Here’s a brief primer. What is the ICP? The Incurred Cost Proposal (also known as an Incurred Cost

Left Brain Professionals

Left Brain Professionals

 

January 26th NCMA Webinar: Hot Topics in Unallowable Costs

Understanding unallowable costs is a key factor in profitably managing government contracts. Government agencies will only reimburse contractors for costs that are considered reasonable, allocable and allowable under the contract terms, Cost Accounting Standards or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Identifying these costs is important to avoid billing issues, incurred cost audit findings, and to pass pre-award accounting system surveys. On Thursday, January 26, I will present a webinar

Left Brain Professionals

Left Brain Professionals

 

Podcast: Implementing a DCAA Approved Accounting System

In this episode, Robert spoke with Michael LeJeune from RSM Federal about implementing a DCAA approved accounting system for government contracting. Robert does an excellent job of breaking down exactly what a DCAA approved accounting system looks like as well as what it takes to get your system approved. We think this episode will make the concept of getting your system approved much less intimidating as well as provide you with practical advice that will set your company up for success. You c

Left Brain Professionals

Left Brain Professionals

 

Allowable Rental Costs

We often receive questions regarding the amount of allowable rental costs between related parties. Rental costs are normally allowable to the extent they are reasonable and allocable. In an effort to reduce operating costs, small business owners often purchase a building under a separate entity and lease it back to the government contracting entity at or below market rates. This seems like a reasonable approach. The government incurs the same or similar rental costs as if the contractor leased f
 

DoD Needs Pricing Improvement

A number of recent DoDIG reports indicate that DoD did not make an accurate determination of fair and reasonable pricing, could have purchased items at a lower price, or could have purchased fewer items. While excess inventory does not necessarily mean the prices were not fair and reasonable, it does mean that DoD spent more money than necessary – something that could have been avoided with a better requirement. Husky Mounted Detection System Spare Parts U.S. Army Engineering and Support Cente
 

Test, Test, Test

Implementing a new accounting system inherently implies change to your current processes. It also means entering data in different fields in a new system. To be certain your system setup is correct, you must test all of your scenarios. Let’s back up for a moment. Before testing, you need a good list of what you want to test. At a high level, every organization needs to test two main cash flow processes: Order to Cash, and Procure to Pay Depending on the type of products (services vs manufac

Left Brain Professionals

Left Brain Professionals

 

Year End Preparations for Incurred Cost Proposal

December books closed ✔ Payroll tax returns filed (940/941/944) ✔ W-2s distributed ✔ 1099s delivered ✔ Incurred Cost Proposal…in Process…? You might not consider preparing for the Incurred Cost Proposal (ICP) during all of your other year-end tasks. You might think, “I’ve got 5 more months to worry about that.” Now is the best time to prepare and worry. Why? Most importantly, all of the information is fresh. If you wait until May or June to start the ICP process, you’ll have the worries fro

Left Brain Professionals

Left Brain Professionals

 

SF1408 Accounting System Review

Has your prime or contracting officer told you that you need an approved or adequate accounting system before your next award? What exactly is an approved or adequate accounting system? In the world of government contracting, most people think of DCAA-approved accounting systems. There are a few misnomers in that statement: DCAA does not approve accounting systems. They audit or review systems and provide recommendations to the contracting officer who holds the responsibility and authority fo

Left Brain Professionals

Left Brain Professionals

 

Updated DCAA Guidance for the Incurred Cost Proposal

DCAA Recently provided updated guidance on the incurred cost proposal through two MRDs (audit guidance memos) and an update to the ICE model. The first MRD on August 27, 2015, updated the Incurred Cost Proposal Adequacy Checklist to aid in determining the auditability of the proposal. Note that there is no score or definitive guide on adequacy. A proposal with multiple deficiencies may be auditable while another proposal with only one deficiency may not be auditable. Audit teams must use their

Left Brain Professionals

Left Brain Professionals

 

Increased Profit Margins On Government Contracts

What are your current profit margins on government contracts? Are you still bidding a fee of 6% to 10%? Many contractors think they must accept low profit margins on government contracts. Not true! FAR 15.404-4(a)(3) clearly states, “Both the Government and contractors should be concerned with profit as a motivator of efficient and effective contract performance. Negotiations aimed merely at reducing prices by reducing profit, without proper recognition of the function of profit, are not in the

Left Brain Professionals

Left Brain Professionals

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