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Essentials of Doing Business with the Federal Government 2024

September 4 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

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The U.S. Government is a customer like no other. It has interests, and therefore needs, that differ from those of traditional commercial customers. Winning U.S. Government contracts is different. The compliance environment is different. The contract administration process is critically different. Even a contractor’s compliance with generally accepted accounting principles might not be enough to satisfy this demanding customer. To be successful in Government contracting, contractor employees must be familiar with the processes that control how Government contracting is conducted, as well as the risks they pose. Join PCI’s expert instructor Tim Sullivan as he explores these fundamental concepts of Government contracting.

Session 1: September 4 – The Government as a Customer

In the first segment of PCI’s essentials series, we will discuss what it means to have the U.S. Government as a customer. Why should it be any different than selling to a large American corporation? Because the U.S. Government is a sovereign power, and sovereigns have different interests and rights than we do as individuals or as commercial entities. Knowing these important differences can have a huge impact on your success—if not your ability to survive–as a Government contractor. Join us as our expert instructor Tim Sullivan explains many of the unusual aspects of doing business with Uncle Sam. If you are new to Government contracting, this is a must-see program!

Session 2: September 11 – Statutes & Regulations that Guide the Contracting Process

One of the most daunting aspects of selling to the U.S. Government is dealing with the complexities of the statutes and regulations that govern the contracting process. This can be especially challenging for companies that are either brand new to the business or have some sales to Uncle Sam but focus primarily on the commercial sector. In this session of the essentials series, Tim Sullivan will break down this daunting aspect of Government contracting and will highlight the areas that should be of most concern to contractors. Tim will also provide a useful guide to working with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, something that should serve you well going forward.

Session 3: September 18 – Procurement Integrity

Anyone who keeps up on the news knows that the world of Government contracting is not immune to scandals. Despite all of the statutes and regulations designed to prevent wrongdoing, some people just can’t avoid flying too close to the sun, and that includes both contractor and Government employees. The session of PCI’s Essentials series, will focus on procurement integrity. Join PCI’s Tim Sullivan as he explains the laws and regulations that are designed to guarantee the integrity of the procurement process and what contractors can do to minimize their exposure to these embarrassing and, sometimes, career-ending, situations.

Session 4: September 25 – Conflicts of Interest

Recognizing and addressing potential conflicts of interest—before they blow up– may be one of the most valuable skills a Government contractor possesses. It can help avoid expensive and sometimes embarrassing protests and it should do wonders to enhance a contractor’s reputation with its Government customers. This session of PCI’s Essentials series will focus on this very sensitive area. Our expert instructor, Tim Sullivan, will discuss the major issues that concern both the Government and contracting community alike, how those issues manifest themselves, and how they can be mitigated. This will be a practical discussion of a very important topic, so you don’t want to miss it!

Session 5: October 2 – Changes & Requests for Equitable Adjustments

The “Changes” clause is one of the most unusual features of a U.S. Government contract. In all but one important situation, it gives Uncle Sam the unilateral ability to change certain aspects of the deal, and it takes a savvy contractor to understand how to address the situation. In this session of the essentials series, Tim Sullivan will explain how the Changes clause works, how to recognize and address “constructive changes,” and understanding the differences between a “request for equitable adjustment” and a “claim.” This will be a nuts-and-bolts discussion of one of the most important clauses in Government contracting, so make sure to join us on the Ides of March!

Session 6: October 9 – Terminations

The concept of terminations in Government contracting is a source of great misunderstanding and confusion.  This is particularly true of Terminations for the Convenience of the Government, one of the most distinctive aspects of doing business with Uncle Sam.  Join our expert Tim Sullivan as he explains the termination powers that are available to the Government and what rights contractors have in each case.  We know that you might have other concerns, but we promise this program will not be too taxing!

Session 7: October 16 – Administering CMMC/FISMA/NIST Requirements

As the world of cybersecurity continues to evolve at lightning speed, the U.S. Government has ramped up efforts to stay ahead of threats from worldwide adversaries.  Given the interconnections with industry and academia, the USG has to rely on contractors and subcontractors to effectively manage their own security systems and risks to protect U.S. information.  In order to ensure effective compliance, these cyber requirements are now mandatory in many government contracts and grants.  Through the FAR and DFARS,  government contractors and their subcontractors are subject to different compliance regimes, each requiring layers and levels of IT security.  This session will focus on contract compliance for Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): NIST 800-171 and Federal Information Systems Act (FISMA), as implemented by NIST 800-53.

Session 8: October 23 – Subcontracting

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Government contracting process is the role that subcontracting and subcontractors play in the overall picture.   While on the surface the fact that a company is a subcontractor would seem to relegate it to second-tier status, the truth is that subcontractors can play a major role in helping a prime contractor win the stiff competition that precedes the award of a Federal prime contract, and the subcontractor’s performance may also be critical to the successful performance of the prime contract.    PCI’s Tim Sullivan will discuss a few of the things that make the subcontracting process so challenging—for both primes and subs.  Why do companies subcontract?  What’s a teaming agreement?   Do all of the prime’s clauses flow down to the sub?  How does a sub handle claims for problems that are actually caused by the Government?  Join us for this stimulating and important discussion.

Session 9: October 30 – Timekeeping Issues

For the majority of contractors, labor costs are typically the their highest costs and as a result, they are a particular area of focus for government auditors. Join FORVIS on May 10 as they discuss a wide range of timekeeping topics such as total time accounting, laws and acts that influence timekeeping, timekeeping roles and responsibilities, labor accounting, non-compliance factors and remediation techniques, DCAA floor checks, and the impact of COVID-19 and work-from-home.

Session 10: November 6 – Accounting Requirements

Many contractor claims are either supported by cost data or based on actual cost incurred, therefore, government auditors are hyper-focused on contractor accounting practices and accounting systems where those costs are accumulated and allocated.  It is vital to understand the FAR and CAS as they relate to accounting requirements in order to be eligible for certain contract awards and to support accurate claims.  Join FORVIS on May 24 as we explore the applicable accounting regulations, current regulatory environment, how to prepare for an accounting system audit, cost allowability, allocability, and much more.

Session 11: November 13 – How Things Can Go Wrong

It has been said that the only thing worse than not having any Government contracts is having one.   As cynical as that seems, there is no denying that the U.S. Government is a tough and demanding customer, and that doing business with the Government is a far cry from doing business in the commercial sector.  That is why you will not want to miss the final episode of PCI’s Essentials series, “How Things Can Go Wrong.”  Join PCI’s Tim Sullivan as he discusses ten different things that can lead to problems under a Government contract, and how those problems can either be avoided or addressed.  This will be a practical and thoughtful discussion that will stimulate a lot of healthy discussion within your own organization.  Please join us for this important program.

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John Plinke