GSA picks Ernst and Young to phase out the DUNS number

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The government is moving to a new provider to validate and track its business with contractors and other parties.

The General Services Administration awarded a $41.75 million contract to Ernst and Young LLP for up to five years of entity validation services for the federal award process through GSA’s System for Award Management (SAM).

“Securing this five-year contract means that the federal government will have a safe, secure, and unified method for validating entities, while also simplifying the process for those who seek awards,” GSA Office of Systems Management Assistant Commissioner Judith Zawatsky said in a statement. “This award greatly improves the government’s ability to manage data and is an important step forward to competitively procuring entity validation services on behalf of the entire government award community.”

Ernst and Young will replace incumbent Dun & Bradstreet, which has provided the government entity validation through its Data Universal Numbering System, or DUNS number, for more than two decades. As GSA transitions to EY ‘s services, “the government will receive continued service from Dun & Bradstreet to maintain award reporting and data integrity,” the agency said in a release.

Now, instead of the DUNS number, GSA, through Ernst and Young, will use a government-owned unique entity identifier called the SAM Managed Identifier (SAMMI) within SAM and GSA’s Integrated Award Environment. This eliminates issues with vendor lock-in associated with the government relying on a private company’s proprietary identifier.

GSA has been exploring new options for entity validation for more than two years.  It issued a request for proposals late last year.

Watchdogs have championed the move away from the DUNS number system because of its proprietary nature.

D&B said in 2017 it hoped to continue its work with the federal government. “Dun & Bradstreet believes that our government partners will continue to find value in what we deliver to support the federal government across a multitude of missions.”

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The Wish Project – Volunteer Initiative

Many Hands Make an Impact TemplateCapital Edge Team member Marie with partners continued the Many Hands Make an ImpactProgram supporting The Wish Project.  In their day of service, they served families in need by preparing and distributing goods that included assembling backpacks and sorting donated clothing and shoes in March 2019.

The Merrimack Valley communities have some of the highest poverty rates in the state, according to the National Low Income Coalition Out of Reach 2013, Massachusetts ranks sixth as the most expensive state for renters.

Even for a two income family, obtaining household goods is a daunting task under these conditions, for an at-risk family struggling with a loss of a job, family tragedy or recovering from homelessness it becomes almost impossible.

The Wish Project is a critical resource for furniture, household goods and baby needs serving these families in need. In any given week, there are as many as 100 families with children, sleeping on the floor in largely unfurnished apartments in our own community.   Without The Wish Project, families have very few affordable options. Household furnishings for a family is a burden that too often families can not carry.  So they simply go without.  With support from The Wish Project, they are able to manage their expenses, reducing the likelihood of becoming homeless again.

Learn more about Bits Bags  and remember Deadline for items  is 4/6/19 Basic Items for Toddler Success – Bags with educational and developmental toys for young children

Learn more on how to support The Wish Program – visit them online 

Capital Edge Continues Sponsorship of the National Contract Management Association’s Boston Chapter March Workshop

Capital Edge Continues Commitment to Educating Contract Management Professionals through Sponsorship of 58th Annual NCMA Boston Chapter Workshop

McLean, VA – March 5, 2019 – Capital Edge Consulting, Inc., a global consulting firm that specializes in helping federal government contractors solve complex business problems, is pleased to announce company sponsorship and session training for the 58th Annual March Workshop hosted by National Contract Management Association’s (NCMA) Boston Chapter at Bentley University in Waltham, MA on March 13, 2019.

The March Workshop is the Boston Chapter’s signature event on which NCMA National has modeled its annual World Congress conference. Attendance includes 400 professionals and covers a spectrum of courses taught by Government and industry experts with beginner, intermediate, and advanced level courses. Industry-focused courses as well as special topics and soft skills seminars are also featured. Each March Workshop is highlighted by a keynote speaker and this year features Julie A. Planchet, Vice President & General Manager of Field and Safety Instruments at Thermo Fisher Scientific. The keynote is followed by a mid-day luncheon and networking hour at the end to allow contracting professionals time with to connect with fellow NCMA members.

Capital Edge team members Chad Braley, Marie Salamone, and Sean O’Connor will be presenters at the workshop presenting “Navigating the Indirect Cost Rate Maze”, covering the wide array of challenges contractors face when developing indirect cost rates for the organization. Competitive, compliant rates structures help to ensure winning cost proposals. Our team will examine indirect rate composition, allocability, allowability, and compliance throughout the contract life cycle, including forward pricing rate proposals for bidding purposes, provisional rate requests for invoicing, and final indirect cost rate proposals.

NCMA is the world’s leading professional resource for those in the field of contract management. The Boston chapter is an experienced and motivated group of almost six hundred contract management professionals dedicated to the educational advancement and professional growth of both government and commercial contracts and procurement personnel in the greater Boston area.

“This event is a great opportunity for Capital Edge to continue our support for educating of contract management professionals and our Boston area clients,” says Chad Braley, Founder and Managing Partner of Capital Edge, “Our continued sponsorship supports NCMA’s ability to continue providing professional opportunities to Boston-area members of the acquisition community.”

For more information about the 58th Annual March Workshop, visit www.ncmaboston.org.

About Capital Edge Consulting, Inc.

Capital Edge consultants combine their unique backgrounds and experience in consulting, public accounting, industry, DCAA, and DCMA to provide clients with unmatched government contracting expertise. This breadth and depth of specialized experience enables Capital Edge to provide the exact services and level of expertise federal government contractors need to succeed. Capital Edge has worked with government contractors ranging in size from startup to Fortune 100 companies in industries such as manufacturing, nuclear energy, professional services, biotech/pharmaceuticals, defense, and software.

To learn more about Capital Edge Consulting, Inc., visit capitaledgeconsulting.com

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NNEMA Food Pantry – Volunteer Initiative

Many Hands Make an Impact TemplateCapital Edge continued the Many Hands Make an Impact Program  supporting NNEMAP Food Pantry

Team members Samantha, Michelle, Ray and Lana supported NNEMAP Food Pantry, serving neighbors on the near north side of Columbus, Ohio in a team activity on February 27th, 2019.

As a member agency of the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, NNEMAP’s primary focus is to provide individuals and families with a three-day supply of food up to two times each month. Neighbors provide pantry representatives with proof of address and photo identification in order to receive benefits. In addition to food distribution, NNEMAP serves as an access point for ancillary services, including SNAP (Food Stamp) eligibility screening provided by the Mid-Ohio Food Bank; Benefit Bank services including Medicaid and utility assistance eligibility; and various medical services offered by Columbus Public Health, The Breathing Association and Mount Carmel.

 

Learn more  on how to support NNEMAP Food Pantry – visit them online 

 

Hill AFB’s FARSite to go away on October 1, 2019

Big news in the hashtaggovcon world: Hill AFB’s FARSite to go away on October 1, 2019.

It’s been accessed online more than 2.3 billion times since its launch in mid-1996.  But on Sept. 30th of this year, it will be retired.

The “it” is the popular and functional FARSite search engine, maintained by Hill Air Force Base near Ogden, Utah, and it is going to be “transitioned” into the FAR search site at Acquisition.gov effective Oct. 1, 2019.

This news was recently released on the FARSite in a tersely-written two-sentence announcement: “FARSite.hill.af.mil is being actively transitioned to Acquistion.gov.  FARSite will be available in the current location through 30 Sep 2019.”

Unofficial But Useful

While the FARSite is widely used by acquisition officials in both government and industry sectors, it never was regarded as the “official” site for the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and agency FAR supplements.  Instead, it was regarded as the authoritative source for the Air Force FAR Supplement (AFFARS) only.  The FAR search engine at Acquisition.gov, maintained by the General Services Administration (GSA), holds the title of the “official” FAR website.

Despite its unofficial status, FARSite has been popular because of its functionality.  For instance, FARSite provides the ability to search both the FAR and any agency’s FAR supplement simultaneously.  This contemporaneous searching functionality enables users to see search results from two or more sources displayed side-by-side, a feature especially useful when researching the application of a specific FAR provision or clause in a particular agency’s solicitation or contract.

The Unknowns

It is not known at this time whether the simultaneous search capability will be integrated into Acquisition.gov.  There is no information about the transition on the Acquisition.gov website.  Currently, Acquisition.gov only allows for searching of the FAR and the GSAM — the General Services Acquisition Regulation.  The site provides a list of each of the other FAR supplements, hyperlinked to individual agency websites.  Some of these links lead to general agency websites where further searching is necessary, and where the links lead directly to an agency’s FAR supplement, the information is presented in non-uniform formats (e.g., HTML and PDF).

For many years, the FARSite published monthly usage reports.  In the last month, these data were published — July 2017 — over 12 million hits were recorded, comprised of over 3 million individual page views by 53,000 unique visitors.  Military branches made up the bulk of the users in that month but, notably, visitors from GSA and Lockheed Martin appear on the Top 25 users list.

The status of another useful feature of the FARSite is unknown in the transition to Acquisition.gov, namely the integration of Class Deviations to the FAR.  Currently, the text on the FARSite includes a display of DoD Class Deviations where they are applicable to a particular provision or clause.  No such cross-reference appears at Acquisition.gov.

The fate of the FARSite has been in question for more than a year.  On Jan. 3, 2018, the webmaster for FARSite retired.  At that time, the following message was posted: “For now FARSite will continue as you see it. However, due to new AF policies, FARSite’s location will eventually change which introduces unknows that could impact the site in the future. If you have any issues, concerns or opinions as to the sites direction contact USAF SAF/AQC.”   Faced with many questions following that announcement, a new message was posted on Mar. 1, 2018: “The FARSite team remains committed to updating the site and providing accurate, current, and complete postings of the FAR and its many supplements. If you have any questions feel free to contact the FARSite Webmaster at Hill.Farsite@us.af.mil.”

Despite that statement last year, it appears that the plug will be pulled on the FARSite this year at midnight, Sept. 30th.

Source article online from   The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech

GAO Release: Recommendation to monitor and ensure contractor business system reviews are conducted in a timely fashion.

CONTRACTOR BUSINESS SYSTEMS: DOD Needs Better Information to Monitor and Assess Review Process

GAO-19-212: Published: Feb 7, 2019. Publicly Released: Feb 7, 2019.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the “congressional watchdog,” GAO examines how taxpayer dollars are spent and provides Congress and federal agencies with objective, reliable information to help the government save money and work more efficiently.

We have written a few times recently on the matter of government contractor business systems.  The government’s (DCAA and DCMA) review of the six contractor business systems is expected to rise significantly in the near term based on information we have received from the DCAA and DCMA.  This GAO report released today adds further reality to this renewed focus on contractor business system reviews.

Contractors are encouraged to take the time and make the investment now to perform proper due diligence to ready themselves for these government reviews.

Fast Facts

The Department of Defense uses data from contractors’ business systems—e.g., accounting or purchasing systems—to guard against fraud, waste, and abuse in DOD contracts. For example, reviewing data from a contractor’s accounting system can help keep the contractor from overcharging.

DOD must review contractors’ business systems to ensure that the data from them can be used. We’ve previously found that it was years behind on some of these reviews.

DOD has an ambitious plan to catch up on these reviews in 3 years but has no way to measure its progress. We recommended that DOD monitor and assess whether it’s completing these reviews as planned.

GAO Findings

Since 2011, the Department of Defense (DOD) has implemented several changes to its processes for reviewing contractor business systems—which include systems such as accounting, estimating, and purchasing. Among other changes, DOD clarified the roles and responsibilities of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA)—the two agencies that are responsible for conducting the reviews; clarified timeframes for business system reviews and established criteria for business systems; and withheld payments from contractors that were found to have significant deficiencies in their business systems.

DOD does not have a mechanism to monitor and ensure that these reviews are being conducted in a timely manner. For its part, DCAA has conducted few business system audits since 2013, as it focused its efforts on other types of audits. DCAA plans to significantly increase the number of business system audits over the next 4 years, but its success in doing so depends on its ability to shift resources from other audits; to use public accounting firms to conduct other, non-business system audits; and DCAA staff’s ability to execute new audit plans in a timely manner.

GAO Chart Businss System Audit

DCMA relies on the three offices responsible for conducting DCMA-led reviews to manage the reviews, but DCMA does not formally monitor whether these reviews are being conducted consistent with policy nor does it monitor DCAA’s efforts to complete the audits for which it is responsible. DCMA is ultimately responsible for approving a contractor’s business systems. DCMA currently lacks a mechanism based on relevant and reliable information, such as the number of reviews that are outstanding and the resources available to conduct such reviews, to ensure reviews are being completed in a timely fashion. Such information could help inform more strategic oversight on whether the current review process is achieving its intended results, or whether additional changes to the timing of or criteria for conducting reviews are needed.

Why GAO Did This Study

Contractor business systems produce critical data that contracting officers use to help negotiate and manage defense contracts. These systems and their related internal controls act as important safeguards against fraud, waste, and abuse of federal funding. Federal and defense acquisition regulations and DOD policies require that DOD take steps to review the adequacy of certain business systems, but GAO and other oversight entities have raised questions about the sufficiency and consistency of DOD’s review process.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 contained a provision for GAO to evaluate how DOD implemented legislation intended to improve its business system review process. Among other things, this report examines (1) the changes DOD made to its review process and (2) the extent to which DOD is ensuring timely business system reviews.

GAO analyzed DOD acquisition regulations, policies, and procedures for conducting contractor business system reviews and analyzed data on reviews conducted between fiscal years 2013 and 2018.

Read more on this 

 

DCAA Audits of Government Contractor Business Systems

DCAA Audits of Government Contractor Business Systems – Key Risk Mitigation Strategies to Promote an Adequacy Determination

Craig Stetson, Partner | Capital Edge Consulting, Inc.

The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) recently indicated as a 2019 agency initiative a significant increase in their 2019 audit efforts around contractor business systems. The DCAA’s renewed focus on performing contractor business system audits, is largely the result of the DCAA’s recent reduction in its prior and long-standing backlog of incurred cost proposal audits. The DCAA is responsible for oversight of three of the six contractor business systems, including accounting, estimating, and material management and accounting. Under this 2019 initiative, the accounting system will be the primary focus with a planned audit activity of nearly 1,000 audits. Estimating and material management and accounting system audits also are planned to increase significantly from the 2018 activity, however, nothing near the planned accounting system amount noted prior.

Download your copy of Key Risk Mitigation Strategies to Promote an Adequacy Determination below:

 

Loudoun Hunger Relief – Volunteer Initiative

Capital Edge opened the Many Hands Make an Impact Program with an initiative supporting Loudoun Hunger Relief.

Team members Bob, Karen, and Jennifer supported Loudoun Hunger Relief and packed bags of perishable and non-perishable food for 200+ families at a pop-up market on January 24, 2019.  This market is open to support people impacted by the partial government shutdown as well as others in need the local community.

Additional pop up markets are planned for the duration of the shutdown.

For 26 years, Loudoun Hunger Relief (LHR) has served as Loudoun County’s primary emergency food pantry, providing food assistance to the hungry and food insecure. Their ultimate goal is to ensure that no one in Loudoun County goes hungry. Several Capital Edge team members worked with community volunteers to pack bags of perishable and non-perishable food for 200+ families at a pop-up market to support people impacted by the partial government shutdown as well as others in need the local community.

Learn more  on how to support Loudoun Hunger Relief – visit them online 

 

The 809 Panel January 2019 Report Released

The 809 Panel released yesterday their final report

Volume 3 of the Final Report represents the culmination of more than 2 years of collective brainstorming, engagement, and intense research about how to change defense acquisition from an outdated, industrial bureaucracy to a more streamlined, agile system able to evolve in sync with the speed of technology innovation.

Our Thoughts

A lot of good recommendations in Section 6 – Streamlining and Improving Compliance. Top of the list is revision to the current 18 DFARS Accounting System adequacy criteria. The proposed revision would eliminate the 18 subjective criteria and replace with 7 new objective criteria. Section 6 also includes a DoD Professional Practice Guide with several important auditing standards and concepts that would align the government contract auditing process more with traditional financial statement auditing methods and generally accepting auditing standards industry practices.

Read the Reports here:

Volume 3 Report – Part 1

Volume 3 Report – Part 2

Volume 3 Summarized Recommendations

Business Systems Compliance for 2019

Business Systems Compliance Update for 2019 – the DCAA indicated recently a current initiative to significantly increase their audit efforts in 2019 of contractor business systems (accounting, estimating and MMAS).

2018 Reports showed the following data for Business Systems Audits:

  • Accounting Systems: 447
  • MMAS: 7
  • Estimating: 11

2019 Planned Business Systems Audits:

  • Accounting Systems: 995
  • MMAS: 19
  • Estimating: 40

Connect with our experts to learn more about due diligence, self-assessments and gap analyses to ready for these potential audits.