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Integrated Contract Management Systems help government contractors streamline contract management, accounting, and billing by eliminating manual processes and providing integrated features for the entire contract lifecycle. Selecting contract management software for government contracts requires compliance, integration, customization, user-friendliness, document management, reporting, and security features.
Integrated Contract Management System
Many government contractors implement standalone tools for contract management, accounting, and billing. The problem with standalone systems is they were designed for very specific functions and therefore lack the integrated features to support the entire contract lifecycle. Standalone systems force contractors to put in place manual processes supported by spreadsheets needed to track information contract metrics, such as funding, period of performance, labor category billing rates, and billing totals etc., but don't provide critical information needed to effectively manage the contract because they don't track the key profit/loss metrics. The benefit of integrated contract lifecycle management software is that it provides the accounting, contract administration and billing data needed to eliminate manual processes.
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What key requirements when selecting contract management software for government contractors?
When selecting contract management software for use in government contracting, there are several key requirements that should be considered to ensure compliance with government regulations and efficient management of contracts. Some of these requirements include:
Compliance with Government Regulations: The contract management software should comply with all relevant government regulations and policies, such as the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS). The software should be able to automatically generate compliance reports and provide alerts to help ensure compliance with these regulations.
Integration with Other Systems: The contract management software should be able to integrate with other systems used by the contractor, such as accounting, billing, procurement, and HR systems. This will help ensure accurate and efficient management of contracts.
Customization: The software should be customizable to meet the unique needs of the contractor, such as the ability to create custom workflows, forms, and templates. This will help ensure that the contractor can manage contracts in a way that is most effective and efficient for their specific needs.
User-Friendly: The software should be user-friendly and easy to use, with a clear interface that allows for easy navigation and data entry. This will help ensure that employees are able to effectively use the software, reducing errors and increasing productivity.
Document Management: The software should have robust document management capabilities, including version control, automatic document linking, and the ability to store and manage all relevant contract documents in one central location.
Reporting and Analytics: The software should be able to generate reports and analytics on contract performance and other relevant metrics. This will help the contractor identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions.
Security: The software should have robust security features to protect sensitive contract information and ensure that the contractor is in compliance with cybersecurity requirements.
By selecting contract management software that meets these key requirements, government contractors can effectively manage their contracts and ensure compliance with government regulations, ultimately helping them to succeed in the highly competitive government contracting industry.
What are the advantages of integrated contract lifecycle management software?
Contract lifecycle management tools are required to support the administration of a government contract after award. The contract management system must track all the data needed to generate accurate and timely status reports and invoices. In a related blog, Integrated Contract Lifecycle Management Software for Managing Government Grants and Contracts we describe what's required to setup and track government contracts. The accounting and billing system must handle the funding and billing correctly and comply with government reporting requirements. A government contractor's project management system must provide detailed job cost reports while supporting the entire project lifecycle including estimating, planning, executing (operating), and reporting.
During the contract lifecycle the government may issue many modifications that must be reviewed, and the contract data may need to be updated to support accurate reporting and billing. An integrated system allows contract documents to be uploaded and associated directly with the contract. Role-based access should allow file access to be restricted.
Learn More about Contract Lifecycles: Integrated Contract Lifecycle Management Software for Managing Government Grants and Contracts
What are the requirements for a contract lifecycle management solution?
An integrated contract lifecycle management system should provide end-2-end processes to manage the entire contract lifecycle. As illustrated in the diagram below, an integrated system supports every aspect of the lifecycle from contract award to closeout.
An integrated contract lifecycle management system provides the tools for automating the tracking of the contract master data needed to accurately generate the contract cost reports as well as automating the generation of the customer invoices. An integrated system should help you track your actual contract costs and post the cost to the project and general ledger needed to generate the customer invoices and financial reports. At a high level to manage the entire contract lifecycle the system should support:
- Reviewing contract functional, technical, and cost requirements.
- Preparing contract setup brief for the contract admin team.
- Entering contract master data including PoP, options, ceiling & fundings, CLINs, & billing plan.
- Submitting contract master data for approval, review, and revise as necessary.
- After approval, setup necessary projects and submit projects for approval.
- Submitting, approving and processing timesheets, expense reports & vendor invoices.
- Computing fully burdened costs and updating the project ledger and general ledger (GL).
- Generating customer invoices and preparing supporting invoice documents.
- Generating contract job cost status reports as required.
- Generating financial reports using processed contract data in the GL.
- Upon completion or if terminated, close out the contract.
- Generating true-up and retain invoices
Learn More about Contract Lifecycle Management: Contract Lifecycle Management for Solution for Government Contractors
What integration should be provided to the billing system?
Successfully managing government grants and contracts requires you to do many tasks well! Billing your customers timely and accurately should be at the top of the list. Government contractors struggle with billing. Billing a cost-reimbursable contract correctly can be a difficult task. Often contractors implement billing systems that rely on offline processes that introduce errors and can significantly impact cash flow. The billing function is the major indicator as to whether you have a complete and properly designed DCAA Compliant ERP system. If you do, you will be able to bill your government customer easily and accurately for your supplies and services regardless of the contract type or billing requirements. If you do not, you will be going offline to manually prepare your invoices and supporting detail which drives up your indirect costs, increases your chances for errors and even worse, submitting erroneous invoices. There are many requirements to consider when automating the billing process for grants and contracts. Doing this requires an integrated contract lifecycle management, project cost accounting and billing system to be used to automate the entire billing process.
AtWork Systems designed OneLynk to enable GovCon's to navigate through the challenges of growing a GovCon business by providing a DCAA compliant ERP system to deliver exceptional performance. While a government contractor is maturing in the government market, as either a prime or subcontractor, OneLynk is there to instill the processes and systems needed to help achieve government compliance. AtWork Systems offers fractional subject matter experts - across functions like accounting, HR, financial, contract and project management - to help startups step out on the right foot or to help more mature firms transform ad hoc or inadequate processes into higher levels of performance. The combination of AtWork Systems' OneLynk and associated professional services is available as a comprehensive, secure, and affordable means of gaining the competitive advantage.
Learn More About AtWork Systems
AtWork Systems is an Arlington, Virginia based managed services and software development company. Its principals have decades of experience doing business with and working for federal, state, and local government. They developed OneLynk as a configurable and scalable SaaS platform that digitizes and optimizes processes while providing just in time business intelligence for decision making. OneLynk contains a suite of easily configurable web applications for automating and monitoring business transactions, including: human capital management, accounting, timekeeping, expense management, procurement, contracts and project management, payroll services and more. Discover the latest ERP System for Government Contractors at www.atworksys.com.
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