Rose Report: Issue 20

DCAA Compliant Accounting System: Finding the Right Software

DCAA compliant accounting systemOne of the most important elements of success in government contracting is ensuring that your company’s accounting system is DCAA compliant. What does that mean? When the DCAA performs a pre-award survey, its mission is to verify that a contractor has an accounting system in place that can accommodate the complexities of a cost reimbursable type contract. Since the contractor may never have had a cost-reimbursable type project before, it doesn’t need to show that the system is already operating; just that it’s designed to handle such work.

The DCAA auditor will use a standardized checklist—which is available on the dcaa.mil site—in order to verify that a contractor’s policies and procedures are compliant. Using this checklist as a guide, the auditor may ask the staff to do such tasks as produce project reports, show the steps that they follow when recording time worked on a given project, or see a live demonstration of the accounting system.

Several software solutions are available to government contractors that can help take the guesswork out of creating and maintaining a compliant accounting system. Although functionality varies widely from product to product, in general government contractors should look for a software solution that has a contract administration module; can produce job and billing reports; offers support for incurred cost submissions; and assists in indirect rate calculation. The type of product you choose will depend on the size of your company and the complexity and number of contracts you hold—or plan to pursue.

The most recognized government compliance software provider is Deltek, which offers a suite of products for different sized companies with various needs. One of their most popular products, Deltek GCS Premier, helps small and mid-sized companies manage their corporate finances and project accounting. It generally meets the needs of government contractors with revenue under $100 million. Larger contractors that require a more sophisticated product and higher level of customizability should look into Deltek Costpoint. A scalable software solution, Deltek Costpoint is suitable for contractors with revenue over $100 million.

For smaller companies, there is a cost-effective solution called eFAACT that integrates with QuickBooks software to generate reports according to government and contract specific rules. “It’s the best GovCon tool that I’ve seen for the price,” says Rose Financial Services partner Jeanne McMillen.

Regardless of the software solution you choose, it’s important to acknowledge that technology has its limitations and that there will always be a human element to ensuring DCAA compliance. Contract administration is often overlooked; it’s crucial that a company set up software appropriately so that it captures information in accordance with the terms of the contract.