I have always worried that I just pile on sometimes. There are always hot topics in government contracting, politics (yikes!), and compliance. Some stick around a little longer than it seems may be necessary (are we still talking about and holding seminars on the Business Systems Rule that was released last year)? Some are gone in the blink of an eye (remember TARP?). No matter what, there are some that persist and mystify from generation to generation. Today’s post is a “greatest hits” of the topics that are ongoing…
One persistent question is how contractors can continually be held to a higher standard than the government holds itself on the matter of financial responsibility and capability. In order to be able to do work on government contracts, there is a form that exists (SF 1407 or 1408) to test ratios and overall financial health of the prospective and existing contractor. In the meantime, (and I won’t belabor the point) there is ongoing debate and discussion about sequestration and the government’s inability to come up with a reasonable budget. Perhaps everyone needs to realize that no one is happy about it on either “side” and that it is a politics problem that has to be fixed… now. $1.2 trillion over 10 years shouldn’t be hard to at least take a stab at. I know it is a crystal ball exercise, but in the end it doesn’t really matter what we SAY we are going to do. What matters is what we end up doing.
I will of course mention the Business Systems Rule that doesn’t seem to get any easier or better as time goes on. I mentioned back in March that there were 5 things you needed to know, but I still (just 2 days ago) received an invitation to an event to talk about it, debate it, and figure out the best ways to go about handling it. I admit that I am no longer on the implementation side, but the fundamental principles of the rule still seem to suggest Business 101, Accounting 101, and – oh yeah – GC 101.
I also like to talk about small businesses. I have been in a few. One was borderline criminal. One was effective at winning contracts, but ineffective at keeping them. The other did everything by the book, but manipulated the system. Small businesses are in a driving seat a lot of times because they are “the answer to economic recovery” and have the benefit of set-asides and “preferential treatment” in the proposal wars. What I can’t seem to figure out are the moving numbers and size standards. No worries, there’s an “app” for that.
Last, but certainly not least is oversight. The government continues to hammer home “accountability”, “transparency”, and “oversight.” However, it never seems like the numbers come out the same. In an election year, this is even more readily apparent. You can’t avoid the commercials that spin the numbers left or right. You can’t get away from the out-of-context statements. In the end, I always tend to turn to GAO, DCAA, IG, and some dot-com sites that aren’t “news” sources. As Scully and Mulder used to say – “the truth is out there.”
How about you? What have been your greatest hits from the past year or so?