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Category Archives: Government Sales

Government Sales


New SAM.Gov Rule: Highest-level Owner – Immediate Owner

If you’ve updated your SAM.gov registration recently, you may have seen a new ownership page.  A final rule recently amended the Federal Acquisition Regulations to require all SAM registrants, if owned by another entity, to identify that entity by name, CAGE code, and type of ownership.  This SAM.gov rule will provide government insight into 1) Federal spending patterns across corporations, 2) Traceability in tracking performance issues across corporations, 3) Contractor personnel outside the United States, and 4) Supply chain traceability and integrity efforts.  As the final rule noted, “Increased transparency and accuracy of procurement data broaden the Government’s ability to implement fraud detection technologies restricting opportunities for mitigating occurrences of fraud, waste, and abuse of taxpayer dollars.”

Ownership is defined as a “Highest-level Owner” and “Immediate Owner”.  Ownership is defined as an Entity having ownership or control.  And an “Entity” is defined as an Individual, Partnership, Corporation, Joint Venturer, or an Agent.  To help respond correctly to this new requirement, we’ve outlined the ownership definitions below.

Highest-level Owner:  No entity owns or exercises control of the highest level owner.  A highest level owner owns or controls an immediate owner of an entity, or owns or controls one or more entities that control an immediate owner of those specific entities.

Immediate Owner:  An immediate owner has at most one highest-level owner.   An immediate owner is an entity, other than the offeror, that has direct control of the entity.

Indicators of control can be as follows:

•              Ownership or Interlocking Management

•              Identity of Interests among Family Members

•              Shared Facilities and Equipment

•              Common Use of Employees

If you have an owner that fits within the above definitions, they will be required to obtain a DUNS number (from Dun & Bradstreet) and a CAGE Code (from SAM.gov or DLA), and you will need to enter their information within your SAM registration.  If you have an international owner, they will need to acquire a NCAGE code.  The deadline for this new requirement will be November 1st, 2014.

It is extremely important that your SAM.gov data is accurate, and you don’t make a false misrepresentation and risk corporate exposure for fraud.  Should you have any questions, please contact Winvale for assistance.

OS2 Contract Extension is Denied by GSA

OS2-Contract-ExtensionAfter much deliberation and controversy surrounding the Office Supplies 2 (OS2) contract extension, the General Services Administration (GSA) has decided that it will not extend OS2 contracts. Previously, the GSA found that itself in the forefront of several protests from vendors due to a possible extension. The OS2 contract extension was slated to extend through November and would allow for current vendors to continue their business with government agencies. The main source of the protests came from Coast-to-Coast (CTC) Computer products, which stated that the extension would establish an alliance that would cause hundreds of vendors to lose opportunities to work with the government.

The protests from CTC asked that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) immediately shutdown the OS2 contract extension and that the GSA conduct an assessment on the impact for small businesses.
The following weeks continued with more vendors protesting the OS2 contract extension and House lawmakers becoming involved and requesting impact studies from GAO.

Results arrived as the GSA announced after conducting a thorough review that all Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) extensions of OS2 were to end. In addition, all agencies are now required to seek out alternative options until OS2 is properly implemented. The GSA proposed several alternatives such as GSA Schedule 75 and GSA Global Supply through GSA Advantage!  Unfortunately, OS2 had allowed for millions of dollars in government savings and the full implementation of OS3 may prove difficult now. GAO recently faced more bid protests for OS3 that were prior to the GSA awarding contracts under OS3, indicating that more post-award protests were expected which will impede OS3’s arrival.

Stay tuned as the following weeks should be interesting for the Office Supply generation vendors and consider consulting with experts in this matter to plan for the best route toward OS3.

Using QuickBooks to Accurately Report GSA Industrial Funding Fee

industrial funding feeAre you a government contractor using QuickBooks?  Do you struggle with tracking GSA’s Industrial Funding Fee (IFF)?  QuickBooks is not set up to track GSA’s IFF.  However, features within the system can assist in making this task painless.

Let’s first define what GSA’s IFF is.  GSA’s Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) is a fee paid by government contractors to the GSA to cover GSA’s cost of operating the Federal Supply Schedules program.  The fee equals .75% of your total GSA sales (government sales made through a GSA Schedule Contract) and it is paid every quarter to GSA. There are two processes that can be used to accurately report the IFF to GSA.

The first method is to create a report, but building reports within QuickBooks can be difficult.  Once the report is developed, reporting the IFF can take a few minutes.  First, we will look at the method that works for a government contractor reporting on an accrual method under the GSA Schedule Contract.  This method is straightforward but requires updating the report every time a new contract is awarded.  Go to Reports→ Sales by customers’ → Customize Reports → Filters → Name → Select Multiple Names and then select the names of the customers you need to report the IFF on.  Finally, you will want to memorize the report and update it with new customers when new contracts are awarded.

The second method is not as difficult and has worked very well for my company, Winvale, a reseller of IT solutions to federal, state and local governments.  We report our IFF on the cash receipts basis (you are allowed to use this methodunder the accrual method of reporting).  We useour Profit and Loss statement, change it to a cash basis by quarter and export this report to Excel.  Once the report is exported to Excel, we take advantage of the pivot table function and create pivot tables by name and SIN category and we are done!

These reports will work for many of the government contracts but not all.  If you are dealing with a cost reimbursable contract, DCAA requires your accounting system to be compliant with their guidelines found on their website during the pre-award stage of the contract.  While QuickBooks alone is not DCAA compliant, together with integrated time capture and reporting tools, it can be DCAA compliant. Intuit does not offer any products to make QuickBooks DCAA compliant. However, there are some third party tools and resources available on the internet that can be researched and explored to determine best appropriate tool to make QuickBooks DCAA compliant.

If you are diligent and put in the necessary effort, you may find that your QuickBooks can be adapted for all types of government contracts.

 

 

GSA Schedule 70 HITSS II Acquisition for IT Contractors

HITSS IIIf you’re a GSA Schedule 70 Contract holder, the following HITSS II presolicitation notice on FedBizOpps.gov may be of interest to you. Request for Proposals (RFPs) will be issued in August 2014 with contract awards beginning in November 2014.

HITSS II Solicitation Number: SAQMMA14-HITSS-II

The acquisition strategy for Hybrid Information Technology Services for State (HITSS II) is to award multiple Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) to GSA Schedule 70 holders, who are small and disadvantaged businesses. The BPAs will have a one-year base term with four one-year options. The acquisition will have two tracks. In Track 1 (T1), one BPA will be awarded to an SBA 8(a) contractor and in Track Two (T2), multiple awards will be made to other small and disadvantaged contractors using the order of priority below.

The following priority sequence will be followed for the HITSS II acquisition (T2):

  1. HUBZone Small Businesses
  2. Service Disabled Small Businesses
  3. Woman-owned and Economically Disadvantaged Woman-owned Small Businesses
  4. Other Small Businesses

The phases of HITSS II acquisition are outlined as:

  • PRESOLICITATION PHASE: Present- May 31, 2014
  • INDUSTRY AWARENESS & DOWN-SELECT PHASE: June 1, 2014 – July 31, 2014
  • SOLICITATION & EVALUATION PHASE: August 1, 2014 – October 31, 2014
  • CONTRACT AWARD PHASE: November 1, 2014 – November 30, 2014

Is a GSA Schedule Worth It?

Are you wondering , is a GSA Schedule worth it? Tom Sharpe, who is helping the agency double its market share in two years, would say YES!

Tom Sharpe

Tom Sharpe answers, “Is a GSA Schedule Worth it?”

The article discusses a new platform that the General Services Administration (GSA) is rolling out to allow procurement officers to compare many contracting vehicles, STARS, DOD EMALL, GSA Schedules, etc, which GSA Commissioner Tom Sharpe believes will encourage procurement officers to use GSA schedules to procure more of the goods and services that they need, because GSA schedules will offer the most competitive pricing.This is how the GSA would double it’s market share, by being the best option for procurement.

I think a lot of companies, particularly small businesses, wonder if acquiring and maintaining a GSA schedule to sell to the Federal government is worth the time and effort, hence the question, “Is a GSA Schedule worth it?” If Tom Sharpe is correct and GSA begins to fulfill the lions share of procurement needs than YES having a GSA schedule would be worth the investment of time, money and resources.

Read more in Federal Times’ article: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20140521/ACQ/305210016/1001

Deeper DOD Pricing Analysis Now Necessary for GSA Orders

sales1GSA Schedule Contracts are a great acquisition vehicle for many reasons and its ability to speed acquisition is touted by many as its greatest feature. The Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) program streamlines procurement for government agencies and private industries because the GSA has already determined pricing on supplies and services to be fair and reasonable. Agencies simply need to follow procurement procedures outlined under FAR 8.4 which simplify a best value award.

Agencies interested in identifying the best procedures outlined in FAR 8.4 should first consider reading the applicability and ordering procedures for Federal Supply Schedules. These two sections are crucial to the procurement process because they determine whether the agency fulfills the correct requirements for further business with their industry of choice.

Late last month, the DOD issued a new deviation to FAR 8.4 which requires DOD contracting officers to make a deeper DOD pricing analysis now through their own fair and reasonable price determination on any FSS order using the analysis techniques outlined under FAR 15.404-1. The change shouldn’t be a surprise given the current budgetary environment and cost cutting measures currently in place throughout the government.

DOD contractors utilizing the FSS program should make note of the change and consider how they are differentiating themselves when responding to DOD opportunities. If this new rule has affected you, please feel free to share it with the group.

To learn more about the change, please visit: https://interact.gsa.gov/blog/determination-fair-and-reasonable-prices-when-using-federal-supply-schedule-contracts

GSA eBuy – Underutilized RFQ Tool with Limited Competition

gsa-ebuyI’m sure this has been mentioned before, but can certainly be repeated: GSA eBuy only has on average 3.1 responses per opportunity, according to a webinar held by GSA last week. I encourage all GSA contractors to go in and view the RFPs/RFQs and RFIs posted under the SINs you are awarded under. The competition is limited and the Contracting Officer is required in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to review and evaluate each response submitted.

GSA eBuy is an excellent tool for GSA contractors attempting to take a significant leap into the marketplace because it allows agencies and GSA Schedule holders to conduct business through an online platform. Agencies use GSA eBuy as a resource to reach businesses that would otherwise be difficult to locate. Agencies would submit an RFP and GSA contractors can use the tool to submit their bids in attempt to win the contract. GSA eBuy has been known to save time and money from both sides, but also greatly increase the sales potential for the businesses that are involved in the program. The competition is also a lot smaller as it was recently reported by the GSA  that there is an average of 3.1 responses per opportunity.

Businesses should also that note that only GSA contractors who have uploaded their existing pricelist to GSA Advantage! will have access to eBuy.  This means awarded contractors should move quickly in getting their pricelist posted!

 

Are Merchant Services Fees Allowable on a GSA Task Order Invoice?

Minimum Sales Requirement Dollar SIgnThe short answer is yes! Many organizations we work with believe they are required to absorb merchant services fees associated with payment made via Government credit card. While this used to be the case, as of January 2013, surcharges and convenience fees are allowable. The development is a positive one for GSA vendors however it’s been our experience that contractors continue to go forth with “business as usual”. How come? As one GSA SmartPay representative I spoke with recently put it, “the Government always has the ability to take its business elsewhere” – given the natural aversion to paying surcharges that may amount to 3% to 4% of the total purchase fee when they have not had to pay them in the past. This seems reasonable considering the convenience of the purchase which makes GSA SmartPay an attractive option for GSA Schedule holders.  It should also be noted that contractors can save more on their processing fees by ensuring their that they have reached level-3 compliance with the GSA.Something to think about the next time you’re invoicing the government!

As a GSA contractor, it is important to understand how the GSA SmartPay charge card works. A great blog on the program can be found here. 

Finally, as a note, the changes described above went into effect via Smart Bulletin 17 posted on the Smartpay website.

Good News for Small Business Subcontracting in 2014!

woman owned businessIn the coming year we can expect to see an emphasis on small business subcontracting in the federal sector. This is due to updates in the regulations on how large prime contractors meet their small business subcontracting goals, and the Small Business Administration’s completion of a multi-year process to revise standards for small businesses.

Changes to Come for Small Business Subcontracting

Some of the main changes for small business subcontracting were implemented through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The change comes from a small part of the 1608 section which reflects some of the benefits from the Small Business Act (SBA). The  new additions in 1608 are arranged to continue further participation from businesses in highly-underutilized business zones (HUBZones) as well as disadvantaged, veteran-owned, and women owned businesses.

The most encouraging factor from the new additions states that “companies winning a prime contract exceeding certain thresholds must submit to a contracting officer through small business subcontracting plans.” Small businesses from not only one tier, but all subs will be able to recognized as a result and become more attractive to prime contractors and potentially conduct more business.

Read more in the Washington Business Journal full article.

RFQ for Domestic Delivery Service Third Generation (DDS3)

DDS3 Domestic DeliveryThe General Services Administration (GSA) released an RFQ earlier this month for the third generation of its domestic delivery service program (DDS3), building on the success of the first and second generation of the program. The service is part of the agency’s Federal Strategic Sourcing plan to save federal agencies money, and has already saved the federal government $50 million in shipping costs in 2013.

DDS3 was designed as part of the latest Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) as continued efforts for GSA to save taxpayer dollars and provide the best services to the federal government. DDS3 will continue provide benefits as more savings are expected to continue during the span of the contract. Customers will feel more relieved as DDS3 will  provide a clearer path for improving business development endeavors. As customers involved in DDS2 can recall, the GSA attempted to provide more efficient services. The main focus  in DDS3 is “going green” as the GSA is attempting to work with delivery companies that partake in fuel efficient practices and environment friendly activities for their deliveries. This green initiative is being implemented as an aspiration for the agencies to reduce their “greenhouse gas footprints.” Shipping will be greatly improved as the shipping industry is continuously evolving and offering leading methods for deliveries.

Read more about DDS3 through this blog from the GSA.

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