The Week Ahead - October 21, 2013



And so the federal government is again open. While this is definitely a good thing, it is not as if manna suddenly came down from the heavens. The start-up process will be slow and uneven. Contractors can’t expect business as usual for some time. There will certainly be business to conduct, but there will be many priorities that compete for scare time. First, there is a major stockpile of work that has backed up in many agencies that must be addressed. Remember that the shutdown occurred the day after the end of the federal buying season. That means that there is plenty of work to process to get FY’13 business through the system. Similarly, some actions that were taken by “essential” workers may have to be undone by those who are more familiar with specific operations than their supervisors. Worker morale will also be an issue, one that federal HR managers believe will have a definite impact on productivity. Keep in mind, too, that the government only has funds to spend till January 15th. While serious budget negotiations are intended to start immediately, we may find ourselves at another impasse then. Stay tuned.



The recently-passed budget deal did not undo the automatic spending cuts of sequestration for FY’14. Unless Congress acts by the end of its current session (early January) to change course, federal workers and contractors would again face cuts in spending levels. The cuts would not come into play until January and the President would again have to issue a formal order pursuant to current law. If the sequestration were to go into effect, all most all of the cuts would be felt in the Department of Defense, according to an article last week from Bloomberg Government. This is because appropriated dollar levels fund DOD programs at a higher level than their civilian counterparts, so that there would be little to sequester outside of DOD, but billions to sequester inside that agency. Congress watchers are somewhat optimistic that a new budget regimen can be agreed to that will, at least, do away with sequestration as we now know it. It is too early to know what that might look like, but contractors and their federal clients should keep close watch on developments here. Both groups need to know how to plan for life after January 15th.



Teaming and partnering can be good strategies to increase your firm’s government business. Not everyone who comes down the street, however, may be a good fit for your company. Due diligence is imperative to ensure that you don’t end up with a teammate that leaves you at the altar of performance or tarnishes your good reputation with their own problems. This is especially important in a tight market where people are aggressively seeking ways to expand their business. This can make your company susceptible to a polished pitch from a firm that sounds good, but may have more than a few fleas. Do a background check. Does this firm have a good – or any – reputation among your peers? Are they or any of their executives on the Excluded Parties List, a government list which is open to all to look at. You worked hard to establish your relationships and reputation in the federal market. Teaming with a firm that has only a fleeting interest in following the rules can end up costing you more than any business it brings you. This is true both in terms of any legal fees you might incur if this teammate gets you in trouble, and in terms of your being able to capture future business now that your reputation has taken a hit. As we approach Halloween, now is a good time to look under the mask of a potential business partner to make sure there really isn’t a ghost or goblin hiding underneath.



Allen Federal wishes a Happy Birthday to our unofficial CFO and avid “Week Ahead” reader. Yes, I am cooking tonight.



Announcing Federal Publications Seminars CONTRACT COMPLIANCE WEEK - October 21-25, 2013 - L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, Washington, DC. Join Fed Pubs, Larry Allen, and other star instructors for one week of comprehensive coverage of government contract compliance issues from the basics through advanced subjects, and featuring basic and advanced courses in Multiple Award Schedule Contracting. Choose one or more of 10 course offerings that work best for you.

  • Accounting Compliance for Government Contractors
  • Advanced Issues in Multiple Award Schedule Contracting
  • Basics of Multiple Award Schedule Contracting
  • DCAA Contractor Business Systems and Internal Controls
  • Government Contract Compliance
  • Internal Controls Compliance Leading Practices
  • Introduction to Government Construction Contracting
  • New Developments in Contract Compliance and Fraud Enforcement
  • The Mandatory Disclosure Requirements
  • Wage and Hour Compliance

October 21-22 Basics of Multiple Award Schedule Contracting A basic-level course covering key elements of multiple award schedule contracting and recent developments affecting the practice. October 23-24 Advanced Issues in Multiple Award Schedule Contracting Course covers the primary areas of Schedule Contracting, with a special focus on compliance, audits, and risk avoidance. 1. To learn more about Contract Compliance Week, visit 2. To download a conference brochure, visit To register, visit or call 1.888.494.3696