Articles in Category: Current Events

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Current Events Articles
Articles outlining current events at the federal level that impact small business government acquisition. The articles in this category provide background, discussion, and recommendations for entrpreneurs and small business owners. 

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SAME JETC - One of the Top Conferences We've Ever Attended

on Friday, 05 June 2015. Posted in Current Events

SAME JETC 2015

Congratulations to the Society of American Military Engineers

RSM Federal had the privilege of presenting a session and sitting on a panel at the National SAME JETC conference in Houston in May. As a company that attends and speaks at dozens of events every year, our team noticed right away that the SAME JETC conference was Federal Access Programgoing to be special. The registration process was extremely easy and the SAME staff was very responsive to all of our questions and inquiries. Being speakers, we often have special needs or requests at each venue. SAME anticipated all of our needs and was very proactive making sure we had everything we needed in order to have a flawless session.

Our team commented several times that this was probably the best managed event we have ever attended. The venue they chose was great and easy to get to and navigate. All of the sessions were relatively close to each other and easy to find. The exhibitors were great and relatively close to the sessions. And the food... It was AMAZING every day. We often cringe at event food, but I must say that our entire team was blown away with the quality of breakfast and lunches. Last but certainly not least, the setup for breakfast, lunch, and breaks were extremely conducive for getting a quick snack/refill, networking, and catching up on work.

One of the most important factors for our team was also how we were treated by the SAME team. Everyone was over-the-top courteous and everyone we encountered thanked us for being there. For some of us, this was our first SAME event and yet we were treated like old friends by everyone we met. Kudos to the SAME team for coordinating the best managed event of the year.

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Michael LeJeune is a Senior Consultant and the Federal Access Program Manager at RSM Federal, a federal consulting and business-acceleration strategy firm that helps businesses in accelerating the education and processes necessary to winning government contracts. For more information, videos, and contact information, please visit www.rsmfederal.com

What To Expect In 2015

on Wednesday, 03 December 2014. Posted in Current Events

If you sell to the government, there are extensive changes taking place that may impact your corporate strategy.

Mid-Term Elections
The mid-term elections have created a more complicated environment than ever before. Congress is now in a lame-duck session and changes to committees will not take place until January when the Republicans take over the Senate. It is anticipated that Senator John McCain (AZ) will chair the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senator Thad Cochran (MS) will chair the Senate Appropriations Committee. The shift in leadership has broad implications and a general shift in the tone on Defense issues. This includes a harder line on Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

House Approves National Defense Authorization Act
Earlier this week, both the House and the Senate agreed to a version of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This is the policy bill that sets guidelines for operating policy within DoD. Additionally, the House plan for funding the federal government in FY2015 is an omnibus bill that will fund the government through September 2015 - except for Homeland Security due to the immigration dispute. The Senate is anticipated to support the House's plan in January.

Other provisions that came out of conference include additional requirements for increased competition, continuing to limit and decrease sole-source contracts. The House has also taken military base closures off the agenda for F Y2015 but DoD is expected to fight this in an attempt to decrease their spending.

The Good News
There is actually quite a bit of good news in the above updates. Unlike last year, it looks like a federal budget will be passed for FY2015 and a government shutdown is not anticipated. This is good news for small and mid-tier companies. Additionally, with a Republican House and Senate, the harder line on terrorism and hotspots in the middle east will likely facilitate increased spending above the funding outlined in the National Defense Authorization Act. A pending budget, a more Defense friendly Congress, and taking base closures off the agenda, I anticipate a more advantageous environment for defense contractors in FY2015.

The Not So Good News
You should also be aware of several other items. First, if you are not familiar with the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI), I recommend you keep your eyes on it because the government plans to use it to cut $40 billion a year. FSSI is a GSA program that has been sold to Congress, the Pentagon, and the White House as a means to achieve greater discounts and best practices. However, FSSI is decimating small businesses for the industries it touches. Today, FSSI includes print management, wireless, office supplies, janitorial, and maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) supplies. To give you an example, before strategic sourcing was applied to office supplies, there were hundreds of companies with GSA Schedules. These companies, many small businesses, had to compete to be on the FSSI contract. For the hundreds of companies that didn't make it onto the FSSI contract, their GSA Schedules are no longer valid and these companies have left the government space. They've started talking about moving information technology (IT-70) onto FSSI but I don't see that happening for several years, if at all.

You should also continue to expect increased focus on Low Price Technically Acceptable (LTPA) contracts in FY2015. Yes, this is unfortunate as quality and the nuances of delivery are being minimized.

New GSA Schedule - Professional Services Schedule (PSS)
Finally, GSA is executing a major shift in the GSA Schedule program. But first, I want to reiterate what you have heard me say a dozen times: "You don't necessarily need a schedule to sell to the government. It depends on what you sell and how you sell it." For our clients and members who have a schedule or are planning to obtain a schedule, in March 2015, GSA is releasing a new schedule called the Professional Services Schedule (PSS). It will replace the Consolidated Schedule (00CORP) and the following schedules will be discontinued and migrated to the new Professional Services Schedule: MOBIS (874), PES (871), FABS (520), AIMS (541), LOGWORLD (874V), Environmental (899) and Language (738II). If you're planning to submit a schedule application on any of these, I recommend you wait until March 2015 to see how the program launches.

Government Accountability Office Finds Problems With 8(a) Subcontracting
Finally, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report in September 2014 that outlines the need for regulatory change for monitoring 8(a) subcontracting. Be federal regulation, when an 8(a) company primes a contract, personnel costs for subcontractors can not exceed 50 percent of the total work under service contracts. However, the GAO found that some contracting officers are not monitoring this requirement. Anticipate increased scrutiny on not only 8(a) acquisitions but all small business acquisitions in 2015.

As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.

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Joshua Frank is a Principal of RSM Federal, a federal consulting and business-acceleration strategy firm that helps businesses in accelerating the education and processes necessary to winning government contracts. For more information, videos, and contact information, please visit www.rsmfederal.com

SBA Set to Increase Small Business Size Standards

on Wednesday, 09 July 2014. Posted in Current Events

RSM Federal has just confirmed with the SBA that they are adjusting the small business size standards on July 14, 2014.  Here's what you need to know right away.

Q: How does this affect YOU?
A: Approximately 43,800 businesses that missed the small business standards last year, will now be eligible to be certified as a small business under this new standard.

Q: What industries are affected by the decision?
A: Construction, financial, wholesale trade, retail trade, electric power, civil engineering, agricultural, Mining, Arts & entertainment, information, admin & support, Waste management & remediation services, real estate, educational services, health care & social assistance, transportation & warehousing, professional, technical, and scientific, SBIR & STTR programs, and many more.

Q: Is this based on employee size or revenue (receipts)?
A: The short answer is both. Depending on your industry, the SBA has chosen to increase this in both employee size and revenue (receipts). You will need to check with the SBA for your specific industry.

Q: How does this help YOU win more business?
A: By increasing the size standards, your company may now qualify to compete for contracts, SBIR or STTR programs, or SBA loans. This opens new opportunities for your company and allows you to compete in areas that were until now, off limits. It also allows for companies who were approaching the old limits and nearing the end of their small business status to continue to compete for contracts in these industries.

Q: Where can I learn more about this?
A: To view the full article from the SBA, check out: http://www.sba.gov/content/what%27s-new-with-size-standards. To view a detailed breakdown of the new size standards, visit: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=SBA-2014-0009-0001 

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Michael LeJeune is a Senior Consultant with RSM Federal, a federal consulting and business-acceleration strategy firm that helps businesses in accelerating the education and processes necessary to winning government contracts. For more information, videos, and contact information on RSM Federal, please visit www.rsmfederal.com

 

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