Great article covering the importance of the small business community to the US Government...the Federal Government is often called the “greatest customer for a small business” because they purchase more products and services than any other entity on earth—and though profit margins may be a bit slimmer than in certain commercial industries (and of course, certain contract types may require companies to jump through a number of compliance hoops when it comes to things ranging from how they track their time, perform their accounting, and even executive compensation levels) there really is no better or often easier way to secure the funding required to develop a technology and grow your small business...especially for engineering companies in the defense, aerospace, medical/biomedical and energy industries.
Regarding the compliance requirements that are flowed down in many Defense, NASA, and DoE contracts that these same 8(a) and SDVOSB contractors often face; most of these (assuming they are cost type contracts, as well as certain T&M and fixed price) will require the business to have (and maintain) a DCAA compliant accounting system (which also means a compliant timekeeping system).
Many contractors will be required to complete the SF1408 pre-award audit checklist when they are first notified of the award, and this is the government’s way of assessing the company’s current accounting and timekeeping systems.
A link to the Government’s SF1408 can be found here:
Further, a complete explanation of the SF1408 can be found here:
This just covers the pre-award audit, however. When it comes to actually setting up and maintaining a DCAA compliant accounting system, there is quite a bit more involved than simply filling out a two page checklist and sending it to the program officer.
Here is a great resource on the process and cost of setting up a compliant system:
Great article, and thank you WIFCON and NIH for posting it!
*I should also note that while many NIH grants may not require a fully DCAA compliant system, phase II SBIR’s and many other contracts and grants coming out of HHS and most other agencies will require some form of a job cost accounting system, as well as a DCAA compliant timekeeping system. I’d recommend checking out Hour, Tsheets, or SpringAhead timekeeping systems.