man concentrating best practices

How to Protect Your Company: Best Practices

Today I am including questions that I am frequently asked along with the answers.

Q:  Is there risk in beginning work on a contract that has an error or information missing?
A:  Yes, because beginning work constitutes acceptance of the contract. The safest response is to wait until all corrections are made before starting work. However, that’s not always practical. The second-best response is to e-mail the Contracting Officer (CO) the errors/omissions and state something to the effect of…”XXX Company is beginning work on Contract # XXX with the understanding that there will be a correction to the contract. (Explain what needs to be corrected.) We are focused on meeting the needs of (insert Agency name) and are focused on delivering the highest caliber services (add scope and contract specifics).” I suggest a similar email if your company has not had time to review the contract thoroughly. Remember to follow up accordingly. Please note that you may include the COR or COTR, but it must be received by the CO for it to have any legal relevance.

Q:  What suggestions do you have in terms of enforcing and/or specifying who has what signature authority (NDAs, TAs, contract modifications, subcontracts, etc.)?
A:  Develop a Delegation of Authority Matrix. Note that your company may offer this document to the Government and Subcontractors.

Q:  When does the clock start ticking for contract record retention?
A:  It begins after the final invoice is submitted (with the “FINAL” notation) and payment is made.

Q:  What is the best way to establish electronic systems [for contracts]?
A:  Follow this five-step process:

    1. Establish written procedures.
    2. Establish effective indexing system.
    3. Maintain paper copy for one year.
    4. Coordinate with IT Department.
    5. Have a plan for disaster recovery.

Q:  When it’s time to close-out a contract, aside from the documentation that the Government requires, is there anything else you recommend?
A:  Yes, ask the CO for an exit interview. This serves dual purposes. 1) this is a way to verify he/she felt that your company met or exceeded expectations. 2) this can allow your company another opportunity to sell itself.

If you have a question regarding Federal Government Contracts, feel free to contact Streamline.