Jackson Kelly PLLC

Government Contracts Monitor

New Year's Resolutions, 2018

January 3, 2018

Reassess Your Size Status, Update Your DSBS and SAM Listings, Check Your Past Performance Ratings, and Update Your Employment Policies, Handbooks and Postings

Happy New Year! The start of a new year is the time for New Year’s Resolutions.  Here are several we strongly urge you to follow-through on early in 2018.

    1.    Reassess Your (and Any Subcontractors’) Small Business Size Status: Most companies operate on a calendar year for tax reporting purposes. For such companies the start of a new tax year, and the end of the prior year, means a change and forward adjustment of the three-year period used to calculate the company’s average annual receipts (AAR) for size determination purposes. (See our prior blog article on this topic here). Thus, effective January 1, 2018, companies that have been calculating their size based upon 2014-2016 receipts are required, for the first time, to start using 2015-2017 receipts. Obviously, and depending upon the company’s receipts last year (tax year 2017) vs. 2014, this change alone could alter a company’s size status eligibility. Moreover, there have been significant changes in size standards over the past several years as a result of (i) SBA’s ongoing industry-by-industry review and increases to many size standards, and (ii) SBA’s June 2014 Interim Final Rule increasing all monetary-based size standards to offset inflation over the prior five years (previously discussed here). A size status review thus is important, not only to ensure that future size certifications are correct, but also to consider whether your company might now be eligible for procurements as to which you previously were too large. Please note that this review needs to consider each individual NAICS Code under which your company is listed or considering bidding. While especially important for small businesses, a size status review also is important for large businesses with respect to any current or proposed small business teaming partners or subcontractors.

    2.    Review and Update Your Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) Listing: The start of a new year is also a good time, if you are a small business, to review, and update as necessary, your company’s listing in SBA’s DSBS. This is a primary source for government agencies, and you need to ensure that your listing is accurate, up-to-date and fully reflects any new information that might help you get new work. In addition to ensuring accuracy as to your current address, phone numbers, and size and any socioeconomic status representations, be sure to update your listing to include any new performance history, and new professional and industry certifications, and make sure that your keywords are comprehensive, so as to make it easy for contracting specialists to find you. You might also want to check the listings of your key competitors to see how your listing stacks up, and whether other changes might enhance your competitive status.

    3.    Review and Update Your SAM Listing: Once you have completed your size status reassessment, you need to review and update your listings on the Government’s System for Acquisition Management (SAM), at www.SAM.gov. This is necessary both (1) to ensure the current accuracy of the listed information, and (2) if you are a small business, to maintain and continue your company’s small business status. Please remember that information on SAM is deemed to be a representation and certification by you as to the current accuracy of the posted information.   Both the company and you individually can be held liable for any inaccurate information. Moreover, at least annual updating is required, or a small business will lose and be unable to claim small business size status until updated. On a related note, if your business address has changed, be sure to update your Dun & Bradstreet DUNS number listing, and follow-up to ensure that the changes are passed through to, and show up on, SAM and DSBS.

    4.    Review and Ensure the Accuracy and Currency of Your Past Performance Information: The start of a new year also is a good time to review the accuracy and currency of your past performance information in the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS), Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS) and elsewhere, so that you can initiate efforts to correct and update this information, if needed, in advance of future procurements where such information might be key to your competitive standing and award eligibility. Once a procurement comes down to the critical evaluation and award stages, it is usually too late to impact performance ratings. This is particularly true as to missing past performance evaluations, which take time to be prepared and go through the comment and review process. If you have performed well under one or more contracts during contract performance years that ended in the past year, you should ensure that CPARS evaluations have been performed and entered, documenting your good performance, so that you can claim, and agencies can give you, credit in any new procurement. Acting now also will ensure that you have an opportunity to reply to and explain any negative comments.

    5.    Update Your Employment Policies, Handbooks, Postings and Subcontract Flow-Downs: It is also good at the start of each year to review and update your ethics and compliance programs, as well as your employment policies, handbooks, postings and subcontract flow-down clauses. While the past year was slower in terms of new Executive Orders and implementing Department of Labor and FAR regulations, there still have been some important changes, including the repeal of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces and Paycheck Transparency regulations (discussed here), the phase-in of Paid Sick Leave (discussed here, here and here), the new Cybersecurity safeguarding and reporting requirements (discussed here), and the increased $10.35 minimum wage effective January 1, 2018 (82 Fed. Reg. 43408; 9/15/17), just to name a few.There certainly are many other good resolutions you should consider, including keeping current on new developments. 2018 is going to be very busy, as Congress addresses the pending debt ceiling and FY18 & new FY19 budget issues, and the Trump Administration resolves the tensions between the President’s regulatory reduction goals and the need to implement new statutory changes, including those in the recently-executed National Defense Authorization Act for 2018 (NDAA-18). However, taking the five actions listed above will position you well to move forward and succeed in 2018.

Hopewell Darneille is responsible for the contents of this Article.
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