SAM it Up!

The System for Award Management (SAM) has implemented a new process. Beginning last week, entities registering for financial assistance may submit common federal government-wide representations and certifications (reps and certs). Anyone completing their annual registration or renewing will be required to review financial assistance reps and certs before their registration can be activated. This, in turn, will make SAM.gov the federal repository for this information. (GSA.gov)

Registration in SAM.gov is requiredIn order to be awarded a federal contract. Contractors update SAM.gov annually; federal government auditors utilize SAM to determine whether contract award recipients are compliant with award requirements. Once reps and certs are completed, doing business with the federal government is much easier and more streamlined (ibid)

Need help completing your reps and certs? Give us a call! 301-913-5000.

 

Game Planning, Not a Game

Federal News Network surveyed 100 or so government contractors during the final week of the shutdown about current contracted projects and expectations once the shutdown ended.

Not surprisingly, 71 percent said projects would be delayed and 40 percent believe it would take more than four weeks to get up to speed. Respondents also thought high costs would accrue during the re-start. Comments included the following:

  • Significant costs associated with re-start include rescheduled travel, reworked program plans, and employee hiring
  • Security clearance waits
  • Awaiting payment of invoices submitted before the shutdown
  • Permanent loss of employees to commercial firms due in part to fear of future shutdowns. (Federal News Network February 2019)

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requested that agencies move swiftly to pay contractors along with federal employees. However, agencies themselves are experiencing payment backlog, as several of the government’s invoice processing agencies had large portions of their own workforces furloughed. Before they returned, contractors’ unpaid invoices had been stacking up, awaiting formal acceptance and payment since 22 December 2018. (ibid)

We are hopeful that Congress passes legislation to make contractors ‘whole’ once future shutdowns ends, but we’re not holding our breath. Prudent contractors should plan for fiscal management upon another shutdown, possibly as early as 15 February.

Questions about your payments? We can try to help at 301-913-5000.

Shutdown Shakeup

Nearly 10,000 companies currently hold contracts with the federal government, at an average value per week of a whopping $200 million! (Washington Post January 16, 2019)

While larger companies’ deep pockets and ability to reassign employees provide some cover, smaller companies affected by economies of scale find themselves in a more vulnerable situation. If four of your ten employees work on government contracts that aren’t paying, you may not have the bandwidth to reassign them, leading to lay offs. Even if you can reassign those employees, their work completed for the contract after the shutdown may not be recoverable.

To give you an idea of government contractor work: product purchasing accounts for 20 percent of government spending, and 80 percent is for services, i.e. contractor work. Government agencies use contractors to supplement the federal workforce, which allows them to scale for demand. Contractors keep bathrooms clean, empty the trash in government buildings, compile data for and perform research so that that informed decisions are made, and provide security. Most of this comes to an abrupt halt when the government is closed. (ibid)

Even with federal contracts not officially suspended, a company can become mired in shutdown-related complications. For instance, government background checks stop, Federal Register notices aren’t published,  federal employees can’t approve completed contracted work or make payments, issue an export license, or approve new contract workers. Contract employees who work alongside government employees can’t go to work even if they want to if the building is shuttered. (ibid)

We know this is a tough time for our clients, and we’re here to help in any way possible. Give us a call at 301-913-5000.

Shutdown is Long, Still Going Strong

Is there an end in sight? Will the Dems and Trump come to an agreement soon? Will you get paid? Will you receive back pay for the time the government doors are shut? These are the questions government workers, contractors, and subcontractors are asking.

Here’s what we know:

• Private companies that serve civilian agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the EPA have been told to stop work on specific contracts. (No word as to what happens next.) (Washington Post January 6, 2019)

• The government is offering guidance to contractors on an agency-by-agency basis and contractors are starting to receive “stop work order” notices from those agencies that no longer have funds. (Department of Defense and intelligence agencies are, for the most part, unaffected.) (ibid)

• FEMA has posted a “blanket” stop work order. This likely will not affect deep pockets of larger companies working on FEMA contracts, but will undoubtedly negatively impact smaller businesses. Government workers will get back pay, government contractors will not. (Washington Post, January 6, 2019)

As feared, the smaller the business the greater the impact.

Have questions about your contracts with the government and what you should be doing? Give us a call at 301-913-5000.

 

Bid that Bid … Still!

Government shutdown or no, contractors should still submit bids by their due date!

According to Alan Chvotkin (EVP and general counsel for the Professional Services Council), “these are among the thousand day-to-day issues that arise during an actual lapse in funding. The general guidance I provide our members is: Until told otherwise, the deadline is the deadline, even if the government offices are closed.” (Aron Boyd, Nextgov December 28, 2018)

Submitting bids electronically is relatively easy. A bigger issue arises with bids requiring physical submission: what to do? You are your own best advocate in this situation. Chvotkin suggests that it’s “best to attempt delivery and document — with photos and time stamps of the effort and confirm the attempt with an electronic message to the designated official.” (ibid)

Due diligence on the contractors part goes a long way. Keep an eye out for updates and extensions. Do not assume a bid deadline will be extended. The best rule of thumb is to make no assumption and assume the original due date is the due date!

Give us a call and we will help you work through your bid submission, at 301-913-5000.