New SAM Registration Rules Effective Oct. 26, 2018The Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration recently issued a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to “update the instructions for registration” in the System for Award Management (SAM) and “clarify the timing of registration” in SAM. More specifically, the final rule, which corrects “inconsistencies in current FAR language,” “requires all offerors (except as provided at FAR 4.1102) to be registered in SAM at the time of submission of an offer or quotation, consistent with the requirements of FAR clause 52.204-8.”

The final rule has an effective date of October 26, 2018.

Please do not hesitate to contact Aron Beezley if you have any questions about the final rule or any other related issues.

While many federal contractors operate on a fiscal year that coincides with the calendar year, the federal government’s fiscal year is the 12-month period beginning on October 1 and ending on September 30 of the following year. Understanding the federal government’s fiscal year—and, in particular, the effects of the government’s fiscal year cycle on its spending and planning tendencies—is essential for all federal contractors.

Spending

A 2010 study by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government found that, by “pooling data from 2004 through 2009,” one can see “a clear spike in spending at the end of the [government’s fiscal] year with 16.5 percent of all spending occurring in the last month of the [government’s fiscal] year and 8.7 percent occurring in the last week [of the government’s fiscal] year.” Understanding this spending pattern is critical for federal contractors, as it allows them to predict, with some degree of certainty, when the federal government will award certain contracts on which they—or their competitors—have bid.

Further, understanding this pattern of spending helps federal contractors to be better prepared in the event of a bid protest—whether by the contractor itself, or by a competitor challenging an award to the contractor. In this regard, the following chart from a recent report by RAND Corporation shows that the number of bid protest filings at the Government Accountability Office peaks in October as a result of increased government spending at the end of the government’s fiscal year:

Important Fiscal Year-End (and Beginning) Considerations for Government Contractors

Planning

In addition to having a better understanding of the federal government’s spending tendencies and the consequences thereof, understanding the government’s fiscal year cycle can give federal contractors an advantage on the planning front. Specifically, understanding that most federal agencies begin significant acquisition planning early in the fiscal year allows contractors to be proactive—rather than reactive—when it comes to pursuing contracting opportunities (e.g., identifying upcoming solicitations, identifying potential teaming partners, preparing proposals, etc.). Additionally, understanding that most federal agencies begin significant acquisition planning early in the fiscal year can also allow contractors to be proactive in terms of shaping the government’s requirements (e.g., educating the government about specific goods/services, participating in market research, responding to government requests for information, providing input on procurement planning, etc.). Indeed, proactive and smart measures by federal contractors at the beginning of the government’s fiscal year can, and often do, mean the difference between winning and losing a contract at the end of the government’s fiscal year.

If you have any questions about the topics discussed in this article or about any related issues, please do not hesitate to contact Aron Beezley.

Important Small Business Eligibility Rules Go into Effect on May 25, 2018The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently issued a very important, but under-the-radar, “technical correction” to its regulations pertaining to recertification of a federal contractor’s status for Multiple Award Contracts. In particular, the SBA is amending its regulations to provide that where a “concern grows to be other than small” or no longer qualifies for a given socio-economic status (e.g., HUBZone, woman-owned, economically-disadvantaged woman-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, etc.) as a result of a novation, merger/sale/acquisition, or “negative status determination,” the company is ineligible to compete for set-aside task orders under the company’s Multiple Award Contracts. Importantly, this new rule applies regardless of whether or not “the contracting officer requests a new [status] certification in connection with a specific order.”

Previously, the SBA’s rules in this area were widely interpreted to mean that where a “concern grows to be other than small” or no longer qualifies for a given socio-economic status as a result of a novation, merger/sale/acquisition, or “negative status determination,” the company was eligible to compete for set-aside task orders under the company’s Multiple Award Contracts, unless “the contracting officer requests a new [status] certification in connection with a specific order.” See Analytic Strategies, Inc., SBA No. VET-268 (Jan. 29, 2018).

The SBA’s “technical correction” to its regulations becomes effective on May 25, 2018. If you have any questions about the SBA’s new rules, or any other related issues, please do not hesitate to contact Aron Beezley.