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Why One Village Member Alone Cannot Optimally Execute a Federal Contract

I have heard many companies and organizations say that a particular Project Manager or Technical Lead can effectively execute a Federal Contract. Although the term “flawlessly” was not used, it was implied. Similarly, a client recently said that I can solve all of their contractual issues. While this is flattering, one person or Department cannot run a contract optimally without the other village members, aka the Business Development team, Technical Team, Human Resources (HR) Team, and Accounting Team.

First and foremost, there would not be a contract without a strong Business Development (BD) team. Obtaining intelligence, and determining which efforts are worth pursuing is the starting point. If a company needs a subcontractor to bid the work, relationships need to be developed and fostered. Of course, without a strong technical team and solution, there is nothing to sell. That said to have a strong business you must have an excellent BD team to successfully capture a contract or business opportunity.

Upon award, the Technical Team will be interfacing with the Government most often. If the Technical Team struggles immensely, the Government is going to be dissatisfied; and executing the contract will be a long, uphill battle. On the flip side, if the Government loves the Technical Team, depending on the type of contract and scope, there may be ways to grow or add-on to the contract. Without the Technical Team and their expertise, there is no work to perform. Future work may also be likely when a robust technical team is in place.

The HR Team is critical for numerous reasons. New employees need to be oriented. HR needs to ensure that employees understand the company rules and labor laws. Correctly classifying employees into the appropriate job title, exempt/non-exempt status, and fulfilling reporting requirements are other parts of the job. If there is an open position, the HR Team will need to recruit, which entails finding the person who meets the education and experience qualifications and is within the salary range.

The Accounting Team plays a vital function in your business. They need to ensure the company is GAAP and DCAA Compliant (if required) by following accounting procedures (e.g. recording and accruing income, assets, and expenses correctly), and calculate indirect rates. These tasks are in addition to processing payroll, Accounts Receivables (invoices to the Government) and Accounts Payables (payments to subs, consultants, and Other Direct Costs).

I view the Contract and the Contracts Team as unit that interconnects all other departments in the business. The Contracts Team along with the other Teams make up the Village. The Contracts Department is the Town Hall of the Village. Yes, I admit my bias. However, every Department is necessary in order to optimally execute and without any one of them, there would be plenty of issues. Here are a few examples of how the different Teams are interconnected.

  •  The Contracts Team reviews and negotiates the Teaming Agreement which links them to BD. The Contracts Team may assist in posing RFP questions to the Contracting Officer, review RFP amendments and ensure that the Proposal Requirements are adhered to. The Contracts Team may answer basic questions such as: Does the company qualify as a small business under the NAICS code? What is the percentage of work that the prime needs to perform? How is percentage of work calculated? However, in the end, it’s the BD people who “sell” the company’s products and services.
  • As for the Technical Team, the Contracts Team may help them outline the scope of the work; deliverable dates and instructions; determine whether there is adequate funding to proceed with work, whether travel or other direct costs (ODCs) will be reimbursed. As well as ensuring reporting requirements are met. However, the Technical Team is the revenue source.
  • The Contracts Team may assist the HR Team with the education and qualification requirements for positions, what the contract labor rate is and, therefore, what the company can afford. Other questions and issues –Are there any special contract reporting requirements (e.g. Veterans)? In the end though companies rely on HR to know the labor laws and protect the company.
  • To me, Accounting and Contracts go hand in hand. The Contracts Team may assist with: specific invoice requirements (e.g. where it should be e-mailed or uploaded in order to be paid); and how are the Contract Line Item Numbers (CLINs) set up within a contract for billing and tracking purposes? When does the Contracts Team need to notify the Contracting Officer that more funding is necessary? Of course, the Accounting Team is generally in charge of the Company’s Finances including the decisions. One may argue the Accounting Team has the most power.

Because of the interconnectedness, all Teams are equally important in different ways– even if the contract and Contracts Team is front and center. Contact Streamline for help in getting your team to work in harmony.

This blog is for informational purposes only. None of the content is, or will be deemed to constitute legal opinions or legal advice.

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