Rose Report: Issue 3

A Chat with Jeanne McMillen

story4-imageJeanne McMillen is a partner at Rose Financial Services and leader of the government contracting group.

When did you arrive at RFS?

I joined Rose Financial Services in 2004. I was looking for a part time position, as I had two young children at home, but immediately loved what I was doing. Pretty soon, I was at a full time schedule. I just found myself drawn to the work, the people, and the mission.

I became a partner in 2007. It’s been a lot of hard work and a balancing act at times, but it’s exhilarating and rewarding. I have a great passion for what we’re doing.

How did you initially become an expert in government contracting?

My first job was with a large environmental engineering firm, which did a lot of work for the federal government. I spent 12 years there and was involved with government operations from the beginning. In the 1990s, the firm moved its corporate government accounting group from Los Angeles to Washington, and I was part of the team that was responsible for building the Washington based group.

I was fortunate to be involved in nearly every aspect of the contracts process: from billing and accounts receivable to interacting with the project managers who ran the contracts to making sure our accounting system was providing all the necessary information. Now that I work with our government contractor clients at RFS, I rely and build upon my prior experience all the time.

What types of services do you provide your Government Contractor clients at RFS?

We have all types of clients with varying needs. We work with large companies—$500 million plus in revenues—that are primarily commercial companies, but have opened up or spun off subsidiaries to concentrate on government work. Those can be very challenging projects. We have to institute government contracting best practices and keep the government unit separate, while maintaining the parent-subsidiary relationship.

Our medium-sized clients, in the $20 million to $50 million range, must deal with a lot of different requirements that they were exempt from or weren’t subjected to when they were smaller, such as formal audits and various submissions required by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). We make sure that their systems are adequate—that their accounting software, processes and procedures are up to date and working properly, and that they understand and meet the requirements.

Finally, we work a lot with smaller clients who are new to government contracting. I spend time helping to educate them. I read through their contracts with them, and explain what all the requirements mean.

What kind of relationship do you have with the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA)?

Many times we are the interface with DCAA for our clients. This can be a very valuable service, especially when a client isn’t exactly sure why the DCAA is asking for something or what its objectives might be. The client might try to answer the DCAA’s questions as best they can, but end up opening up the audit to unrelated issues and creating “unintended consequences” as a result of the miscommunication. By comparison, when an experienced individual is the DCAA’s contact, questions can be answered and resolved in a more precise and efficient manner.

What’s the best part of your job?

The best parts are that I love what I’m doing and the people I work with. Also, the greatest challenges yield the greatest rewards. That’s the premise we’re operating under here. The most challenging projects, the ones that push you to new limits, often have the greatest rewards. I love being able to really make a difference for our clients and help them grow their businesses.

What else should we know about you?

I love the beach, and cooking, when I have time. I love spending time with my 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son. I’m a fourth generation Washingtonian with strong roots to the area. I live in the city where I grew up. My children go to the same schools that I went to and that their grandparents attended.