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Category Archives: GSA Schedule Help

GSA Schedule Help


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 Issues Mandatory GSA Schedule Modification

GSA Schedule ModificationGSA announced Mass GSA Schedule Modification number A382 relating to manufacturer part numbers on Authorized Federal Supply Schedule Price Lists.  This Mass Modification is mandatory for both product and service providers.

Read more below and call Winvale for GSA Schedule Support at 202-296-5505 or email sales@winvale.com.

On, June 17, 2014, GSA will be sending out a Mass Mod for Manufacturer Part Number.  The purpose of this modification is to reinforce the requirements of clause I-FSS-600 Contract Price Lists (Oct 2013) and clause 552.238-71, Submission and Distribution of Authorized FSS Schedule Price Lists.

Per these clauses, the price list must be complete and include ALL and services, prices, and terms and conditions that were accepted by the Government at award and the complete price list must be uploaded to GSA Advantage including the Manufacturer Part Number.

In this modification GSA is reinforcing (explicitly stating) that All Government accepted products, fix-price services (i.e. training course), and/or ancillary products that have been awarded must be included in the price list, and that the product descriptive data must include the Manufacturer Part Number.  The complete price list must be uploaded to GSA Advantage per clause 552.238-71, Submission and Distribution of Authorized FSS Schedule Price Lists.

The Manufacturer Part Number is a critical part of the descriptive product data included in the price list.  Note the following points:

A Manufacturers Part Number is considered to be: a unique number or code created by the manufacturer of a specific product, and  assigned as a means of standardized  product identification. Do not alter the Manufacturers Part Numbers.  There should be  no additions, deletions, or other discrepancies between the  Manufacturers Part Number as submitted to the vendor by the manufacturer, and as presented by the contract holder to GSA.  For example, do NOT add your own prefixes or suffixes to the manufacturer part numbers. Submissions will be made via SIP, or EDI with all current data validation requirements in effect. All responses AND all product data must be received within 90 days of the date of issue of this modification. Failure to comply with the terms of this modification may result in cancellation of your contract.

Upon receipt of the Mass mod, please go to https://vsc.gsa.gov/ and accept the modification.  Then you must access SIP or EDI and upload all your products, fix-price services (i.e training courses), and ancillary products to your to GSA with all required descriptive data including Manufacturers Part Numbers.  Please be aware that declining this modification may result in the termination of your contract.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1: Is this mass modification mandatory?

A: Yes.  This mod is mandatory to ensure GSA is capturing all the  Manufacturer Part Numbers and all other descriptive data for all Products award on the GSA MAS contract, including Ancillary Products  fixed-price services (i.e. training course).

2: I have a service only contract, and have no fixed-price services or ancillary products. How do I respond?

A: Although the reinforcement is not applicable to your contract.  Select Yes to acknowledge the requirement.

 3: Do I need to submit all my products?

A: Yes.  Any product, ancillary product, or fixed-price service that  you have listed on your MAS contract should be submitted; along with its corresponding product data.

 4: Does this rule apply to previous submissions?

A: Yes.  Industry partners should take this opportunity to revisit previous submissions and correct or refine any missing or altered manufacturer part numbers.

 5: What should I do if I do not have (or can not obtain) the Manufacturers Part Number?

A: Industry partners should make a best effort to obtain accurate product information.

 6: Why is GSA asking for Manufacturer Part Numbers?

A: GSA is focusing on bolstering data driven offerings in order to improve the acquisition experience for customers, acquisition officials, and industry partners alike.  Expanded data repositories pave the way for streamlined, value-added functionality that will minimize effort while maximizing returns.

GSA Virtual Industry Day for Professional Services

GSA Virtual Industry DayThe General Services Administration’s (GSA) Management Services Center (MSC) is conducting a two hour GSA Virtual Industry Day on June 9th, 2014 to bring GSA Contractors and Industry Partners up to date on potential changes to the Multiple Award Schedules Program. The event will be centered around six of the 42 GSA Schedules: MOBIS, PES, ENVIRONMENTAL, LANGUAGE, LOGWORLD, CONSOLIDATED but also FABS and AIMS.

For more information and to attend the GSA Virtual Industry Day, register with this form:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Ya42AwOKAS4oxRSBqmzpG6OUdEVRtzGoUw8N_hAEsxc/viewform?c=0&w=1&usp=mail_form_link

GSA Virtual Industry Day Agenda:

  • Welcome/Intro – Gerri Watson
  • Category Management – Tiffany Hixson
  • OASIS Unrestricted and OASIS Small Business – Brad Powers
  • No Sale/Low Sale Cancellation Policy – Trish Ludlow
  • Migrations to the Consolidated Schedule 00CORP – Kim McFall
  • Agency expectations to replies to RFI/RFQs – Geri Haworth/Maureen Duckworth
  • Lack of Contractor Responses to RFI/RFQs on eBuy. And Why?
  • Marketing and Business Development – Andy Randles
  • Wrap up – Gerri Watson

SAM.gov Cautions Contractors on OpenSSL Heartbleed Vulnerability

SAMAs a result of the newly discovered security bug, Heartbleed, the Department of Homeland Security is working with other agencies to investigate the potential impacts. The security flaw could allow hackers access to sensitive online information, such as usernames and passwords. The recent panic has also driven the System for Award Management (SAM) to send out emails urging contractors to change their Marketing Partner Identification Number (MPIN). The MPIN is a nine character password that is mandatory for each SAM.gov registration.

To update your MPIN, please follow the instructions below:

1. Go to the SAM Homepage: www.SAM.gov.
2. Enter your user ID and password and click the “Log In” button.
3. Select “Register/Update Entity” from the left navigation menu.
4. Select “Complete Registrations” if your registration is active; “Incomplete Registrations” if you are in the process of updating it; or “Inactive Registrations” if your registration has expired.
5. Select your entity’s name from the list or search for it by DUNS number.
6. Select the “Update” button.
7. If you are only updating your MPIN, select “All sections applicable to the registration besides the Purpose of Registration” from the drop down list.
8. Review each page, selecting “Save and Continue” at the bottom until you reach the Business Information page. Here you will see your MPIN, which can be changed by clicking in the MPIN field and updating the value. Select “Save and Continue” to complete.
9. On the IRS consent page, delete and re-enter the taxpayer name so that MPIN field unlocks. When the MPIN field unlocks, enter the updated MPIN information and click “Save and Continue.”
10. Continue through the registration reviewing each page to make sure nothing else needs updated.
11. Please be sure to select “SUBMIT” at the very end of the registration.
12. Your registration update will go to the IRS for Taxpayer Identification Number validation. If you updated other information, it may go to the CAGE Code system as well for validation.
13. When your update becomes active in SAM.gov, you will receive a confirmation e-mail.

New AbilityOne Requirement for GSA Schedule 51V Contractors

Ability OneIt appears that GSA is rolling out a new AbilityOne requirement for GSA Schedule 51V contractors on select SINs. The Facilities Maintenance & Hardware Acquisition Center “chatter” website outlines the new requirement (http://gsa.gov/portal/content/122007). The language reads:

“ABILITYONE – Contractors with products awarded under Special Item Numbers (SINs) 105-001, 105-002, 341-800, 600-001, 612-209, 613-001, 834-100, 834-500, 834-600, 834-700, and 834-900 are now required to be an authorized AbilityOne distributor by the Committee for Purchase from People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled. As such, documentation must immediately be provided to your PCO confirming your company has been approved as an authorized distributor for AbilityOne. You must also define the process the company will be utilizing to meet the AbilityOne Exclusivity Requirement for blocking orders of commercial products that are identified as being identical to or “Essentially the Same” (ETS) as AbilityOne offered products.

If you have any questions, please contact your Contracting Officer immediately.”

This is an important change for 51V contractors. Previously, these organizations were only required to exclude products determined to be essentially the same (ETS) as those found on the AbilityOne program and identify a system in place to ensure compliance. Now they will need to be recognized as an authorized AbilityOne distributor. Information on this can be found here: http://www.abilityone.gov/distributors/potential.html

AbilityOne Program is a Federal initiative to help people who are blind or have other significant disabilities find employment by working within a national network of over 600 Nonprofit Agencies that sell products and services to the U.S. government.

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!

 

New Amendment to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)

FARA new amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) will greatly impact the way service providers track both theirs and subcontractor hours. The ruling comes from the Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) act that mandates agencies annually submit an inventory of activities performed by service contractors to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The new rule requires that prime contracts submit their hours worked.

This new amendment requires contractors with fixed-priced definite-delivery contracts to track and report hours worked on their service contracts. Prime contractors will not only be responsible for their own internal hours, but for reporting the hours worked by their first-tier subcontractors as well. First –tier subcontracts are those awarded directly by the prime contractor for the purpose of acquiring supplies or services (including construction) for performance of a prime contract. This does not include the supplier agreements with vendors, such as long-term arrangements for materials or supplies that benefit multiple contracts and/or the costs of which are normally applied to a Contractor’s general and administrative expenses or indirect costs.

The new rule will be implemented in the following phases with regards to fixed-priced definite-delivery contract values:

  • $2.5 million in Fiscal Year 2014.
  • $1 million in Fiscal Year 2015.
  • $500,000 from Fiscal Year 2016 onwards.

While cost-reimbursement, time-and-materials, and labor-hour contracts already track and report hours, the determining dollar threshold has been lowered to the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT), which is currently $150,000

In regards to IDIQs, FSS contracts, GWACs, and multi-agency contracts, the reporting requirements will be determined based on the expected dollar amount and type of orders issued under the contracts. For any existing indefinite-delivery will be modified bilaterally within six months of January 30, 2014 so long as the contract performance period extend past October 1, 2013; and there is $2.5 million or more obligated.

This rule change applies to both solicitations and contracts issued on or after January 30, 2014. The DoD is exempt from this requirement as the DFAR already stipulates this reporting requirement. Reports will be due annually by October 31, for services performed during the preceding Government fiscal year (October 1-September 30).

The new amendment can be found under FAR clauses 52-204-14 and 52-204-15.

What is the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF)?

Industrial funding FeeFor contractors offering products and/or services to the government through the General Services Administration’s (GSA) and Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Multiple Award Schedule program, keeping up with Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) payments is a critical component of GSA contract compliance and contract maintenance. Government agencies prefer to procure through the MAS program and incur the IFF because of the resulting benefits, particularly compared to the cost of the customer staff time needed to award a new procurement. By selling through GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule and paying the IFF, GSA & VA contractors will have easier payment options, hassle-free volume purchase prices, flexible purchasing options, and no order limitations among  additional benefits.

The Industrial Funding Fee is a fee to cover GSA’s cost of operating the Federal Supply Schedules (FSS) program. This fee is a fixed percentage of reported sales under GSA &VA Schedule contracts that is paid quarterly by contractors. The IFF on Schedule 599 for Special Item Number (SIN) 599-2 is $1.50 per transaction. The IFF for all other SINs and Schedules is 0.75% of sales. The IFF is included in the price that government agencies pay the contractor when they purchase items from a MAS contract. Quarterly IFF reporting and payments are due by the 30th day of January, April, July, and October. Contractors must still report sales for each quarter even if no sales occur by entering “zero” (0) in the sales report. To avoid overpayment, it is important that the contractors only report sales for products or services on their Awarded GSA Pricelist to avoid overpayment of the IFF and ensure accuracy. Contractors can only send the IFF payment after sales have been reported. Once sales are reported, the IFF payment can be made by check, electronic funds transfer, or credit card. For more information on how to make an IFF payment online in the 72A Quarterly Reporting System, visit the instructions page.

As the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2014 (FY2014) is wrapping up and the year’s first Industrial Funding Fee payment is due January 30th, MAS contractors should be preparing to report their first quarter sales and make the necessary IFF payment to remain in compliance with their contract. Making quarterly IFF payments is only one factor in GSA contract compliance. To learn more about IFF compliance, you may want to consult with MAS contracting professionals and verify that your firm is not overpaying or underpaying this required fee.
GSA contractors can mail their IFF Payments to the mailing address listed below,

Industrial Funding Fee Mailing Address

General Services Administration
ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE BRANCH (6BCDR)
P.O. Box 979017
St. Louis, MO 63197-9017

Staying Compliant with GSA

GSA Compliant ChecklistMany GSA contractors believe that simply securing a GSA Schedule contract is the answer to quick profits. However, this could not be further from reality. Attaining a GSA Schedule is an important step, but only the first step to profitability in the government sector for commercial businesses. The government’s selection process plays a big role in the contracting process. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of GSA contractors to properly market their products and/or services to the government and remain compliant with the requirements of the General Services Administration (GSA).

One of the main issues with selling to government agencies is remaining compliant. GSA has multiple scrutinizing compliance requirements that can easily result in hefty penalties, fines, and worst of all, a loss of business if contractors do not abide by them. These requirements are extensive and can easily be violated; As a result, many contractors have found remaining compliant to be one of the most challenging long term issues for GSA contractors.

For example, a common GSA compliance issue is simply not following the terms and conditions for the GSA Schedule program. The terms and conditions vary depending on your commercial business, and involve many topics such as minimum order threshold, delivery costs and schedule, labor qualifications, and subcontracting restrictions. These common issues are often not accurately represented and GSA contractors do not properly teach and discuss the difference to their employees.

Businesses can reduce these errors by conducting corporate wide training on GSA pricing. GSA Contractors should also distribute any self-audit proposals and invoices along with any additional materials for reference. Understanding the key differences in the terms and conditions and how they apply to your business is also crucial for your company’s success.

Due to the numerous amounts of GSA contracts and increases in competition, the GSA has recently been shrinking the number of active GSA contracts by cracking down on compliance errors. Many GSA contractors are concerned about the penalties and are trying to avoid the horror of compliance repercussions.

Although contract Terms and Conditions is one of the biggest compliance issues in GSA contracting, there are many other common compliance risks that GSA contractors must beware of. In response to the building anxiety and growing concerns, a complimentary webinar was hosted this past Halloween to address these compliance issues and provide solutions to avoiding penalization from the GSA.

You can watch the full webinar, “The Top 10 Compliance Risks for GSA Schedule Contractors” and see other past webinars on our YouTube Channel.

Evaluating Small Businesses in the Federal Marketplace

Evaluating Small BusinessesA critical function of the Small Business Administration (SBA) is determining whether or not a business is actually small when a relevant party claims otherwise. Relevant parties in this case include contract offerors, contracting officers, SBA government contracting area offices, competitors, and other government officials. If a relevant party suspects that the proposed awardee is not a small business under the SBA’s requirements, that party can file a “size protest” with the responsible contracting officer. The contracting officer is required to forward the protest to SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, which then has 10 days to make a decision. This sector of the SBA serves to maintain the integrity, efficiency and impartiality of the Federal marketplace for small businesses. These efforts of the SBA assure that small businesses have attractive opportunities within the Federal market.

The Federal government sets aside certain contract bid opportunities exclusively for small businesses. Many government agencies require that a percentage of procurements be set aside for small businesses. The SBA works with Federal agencies to award at least 23% of all prime government contract dollars to small businesses. The SBA also helps Federal agencies meet specific statutory goals for small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and small businesses that are located in historically underutilized business zones.

Small businesses that wish to take advantage of these opportunities in the Federal market must obtain proper certifications that also document special capabilities or statuses to help companies compete in the Federal marketplace. The certification of your company as a small business takes place during the registration process within the System for Award Management (SAM) database.

In SAM, you must self certify your company as a small business and specify any special statuses. When certifying your company as a small business you must meet the Federal government’s definition of a small business. To determine if your company meets the small business size requirements based on your NAICS code please refer to the Table of Small Business Size Standards Matched to North American Industry Classification System Codes. Agencies can search for your business in the SAM database based on several factors, including capabilities, size, location, experience and ownership.

To improve the competitiveness of your small business within the Federal market, register your company in the SAM database. If you would like to further the competitiveness of your small business within the Federal marketplace, becoming a GSA Schedule holder will provide your firm with additional benefits.

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