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Managed services for contract management support are essential for both startups and prime contractors engaging in government contracts. These services integrate compliant contract management, project cost accounting, and automated billing systems
Why Managed Services for Contract Management Support
It doesn't matter if your business is a start-up or a prime contractor, doing business with the federal government requires bidding and winning contracts. While different government contract types can be awarded, they all follow a similar lifecycle. Once a contract is awarded, the contractor must perform a series of tasks required to administer, manage and closeout the contract. This requires having in place processes and systems to track critical information, such as, period of performance, awarded and funded amounts, contract line items, contract deliverables, labor categories and billing rates. This information will be used to establish one or more projects to manage the work that needs to be performed as well as to accurately bill for work performed.
AtWork Supports Your Complete Contract Lifecycle
Our system integrates compliant contract management, project cost accounting and an
automated billing system. Find out how fast you can take your operations to the next level.
automated billing system. Find out how fast you can take your operations to the next level.
Contractors must build the processes and systems to manage the entire contract management lifecycle. Your contract management system must enable you to establish repeatable processes and systems and be supported by an experienced team with knowledge of government contracting. This can be challenging if you are a start-up who has just won your first contract, or you are a prime that looking to mature your capabilities required to compete for more complex contracts.
In this blog, we discuss the government contract lifecycle and experience needed to support managing government contracts. We describe the typical contract lifecycle, summarize the key tasks that need to be performed, as well as the contract administration and management experience required. Growing, training, and developing a contract management team takes time, money, and a significant amount of hard work. Utilizing managed services supported by a DCAA compliant ERP system can provide significant benefits.
What Is a Typical Government Contract lifecycle?
The contractor execution lifecycle refers to the stages involved in the execution and management of a government contract by the contractor. While the specific terminology and processes may vary depending on the contract and the government agency, here is a general outline of the typical contractor execution lifecycle for a government contract:
Contract Onboarding: Once the contract is awarded, the contractor goes through a contract onboarding process. This involves familiarizing themselves with the contract terms and requirements, establishing internal processes and procedures to meet those requirements, and setting up the necessary infrastructure, systems, and resources for contract execution.
Project Planning: The contractor develops a detailed project plan that outlines how they will accomplish the contract objectives and deliverables. This includes defining project scope, establishing milestones and timelines, allocating resources, and developing a communication plan. The project plan serves as a roadmap for successful contract execution.
Mobilization and Resource Allocation: The contractor mobilizes their team and allocates resources as per the project plan. This involves assigning tasks and responsibilities, organizing the project team, and ensuring that the necessary personnel, equipment, and materials are available to start the work.
Project Execution: This is the stage where the contractor carries out the work as specified in the contract. The contractor performs the tasks, provides the goods or services, and meets the performance requirements outlined in the contract. The project team implements the project plan, tracks progress, manages risks and issues, and ensures that the work is performed efficiently and effectively.
Contract Performance Monitoring: The contractor closely monitors and manages contract performance throughout the execution phase. They track key performance indicators, ensure compliance with contract requirements, and address any deviations or performance issues promptly. Regular reporting and communication with the government agency may be required to provide updates on progress and performance.
Contract Administration: The contractor engages in contract administration activities to fulfill administrative obligations. This includes submitting progress reports, invoices, and other required documentation to the government agency, as well as responding to any government requests or inquiries related to contract performance. The contractor may also need to manage contract modifications, handle change requests, and maintain accurate records and documentation.
Quality Assurance and Control: The contractor implements quality assurance and control processes to ensure that deliverables meet the specified quality standards and contractual requirements. They perform inspections, conduct tests, and monitor the quality of the work throughout the project lifecycle.
Performance Evaluation: At certain milestones or at the end of the contract, the contractor may undergo performance evaluations conducted by the government agency. These evaluations assess the contractor's performance against the contract requirements and may impact future contract opportunities.
Contract Closeout: When the work is completed or at the end of the contract period, the contractor engages in the contract closeout process. This involves finalizing and reconciling any outstanding contractual matters, submitting final reports, ensuring all deliverables are provided, and settling any remaining financial obligations. Contract closeout may also involve lessons learned activities to capture insights and improve future performance.
It's important to note that the contract lifecycle may be influenced by the specific requirements and regulations of the government agency and the nature of the contract. Contractors should also be aware of any specific compliance, reporting, and documentation requirements associated with government contracts. In a related blog, Contract Management Software For Government Contractors we define the detailed requirements that should be provided when selecting a DCAA compliant contract management system.
What Contract Administration Skills Are Required to Support Government Contracts?
To support government contracts, there are several contract administration skills that are important to have. Here are some key skills and abilities:
Knowledge of Government Regulations: Familiarity with government-specific regulations and procurement processes is essential. This includes understanding the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and any agency-specific regulations, such as the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) for defense contracts.
Contract Interpretation: The ability to thoroughly read, understand, and interpret contract terms and conditions is crucial. You should be able to identify contract requirements, deliverables, performance metrics, and any special provisions unique to government contracts.
Compliance Management: Government contracts often come with specific compliance requirements, such as reporting, documentation, and audit procedures. Being able to manage and ensure compliance with these requirements is important to maintain contract eligibility and avoid penalties.
Negotiation Skills: Contract administrators may be involved in negotiations during the contract formation and modification phases. Negotiation skills are necessary to secure favorable terms, resolve conflicts, and handle changes in scope, schedule, or pricing.
Financial and Budget Management: Understanding financial aspects is important to track costs, manage budgets, and ensure accurate invoicing and payment processes. This includes monitoring funding levels, cost accounting, and adhering to government cost principles and regulations.
Recordkeeping and Documentation: Maintaining accurate records and documentation is critical for government contracts. You should have strong organizational skills to manage contract files, correspondence, modifications, and other contract-related documents.
Communication and Relationship Management: Effective communication skills are essential to interact with government officials, contractors, and stakeholders. You will need to communicate contract requirements, resolve disputes, and provide regular updates on contract performance.
Problem Solving and Decision Making: Contract administrators often encounter complex issues and unexpected challenges. The ability to analyze problems, propose solutions, and make sound decisions is important to ensure contract compliance and successful outcomes.
Risk Management: Assessing and managing risks associated with government contracts is crucial. You should be able to identify potential risks, develop risk mitigation strategies, and implement measures to minimize the impact of risks on contract performance.
Ethical Conduct: Government contracts require high ethical standards and adherence to strict rules and regulations. Contract administrators should demonstrate integrity, honesty, and transparency in all aspects of their work.
These skills provide a solid foundation for supporting government contracts, but it's worth noting that specific requirements may vary depending on the agency, contract type, and complexity of the projects involved.
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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