How Working with Nonprofits is Beneficial for Design Engineers (or Professional Services Firms)

   It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” - Napoleon Hill

Choosing any professional for a job is never easy. Most people don't know exactly what design engineers do, and they certainly don't know how to judge how competent they are.

But your potential clients might one day need the services of an A/E firm (don't leave out professional services firms) and wonder how they'll be able to choose the best one. While experience and skill in the industry are understandably important, not being deliberate enough in this selection process can have serious ramifications.

Maybe a business chooses an A/E firm based on a recommendation, but there's no innovation or creativity. Or a selected design engineer lacks dedication to the project, leaving the client wishing they could ditch the contract for someone else.

     How can a potential client see into the heart and mind of a design engineer professional whose work is done largely behind the scenes?

These are difficult scenarios, but not uncommon. How can a potential client see into the heart and mind of a design engineer professional whose work is done largely behind the scenes?

While past projects are one way to accomplish this, so is the right kind of work with nonprofits.

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10 Traits of a FAR Compliant Accounting System

10-Traits-of-a-FAR-Compliant-Accounting-SystemA FAR compliant accounting system is a common prerequisite for becoming a pre-qualified consultant for a state transportation department. 

Your accounting system must, among other functions, properly segregate direct and indirect costs in accordance with the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) of Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 31 for you to work government contracts.

If you do not have a FAR compliant accounting system, you could fail to get or keep pre-qualified consultant status and perhaps miss opportunities to bid on transportation contracts all together.

A FAR compliant accounting system does the following, according to the the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' AASHTO Uniform Audit and Accounting Guide and the Defense Contract Audit Agency's DCAA Pamphlet 7641.90. AASHTO cites DCAAP 7641.90 as a guide for transportation departments and consultants.

  1. Segregates direct costs and indirect costs
  2. Accumulates direct costs by contract
  3. Allocates indirect costs to intermediate and final cost objectives (contracts) based on “a logical and consistent method”
  4. Reconciles the job-cost ledger and other books of account with the general ledger, and is controlled by the general ledger
  5. Tracks employee time by work activity
  6. Charges direct and indirect labor costs to the appropriate contracts
  7. Produces interim reports of charges to contracts, at least monthly
  8. Excludes unallowable costs
  9. Identifies costs by line item and units, if required by contract
  10. Segregates pre-production costs and production costs

The DCAA offers additional guidance in a presentation on accounting system requirements for government contractors, as well as an accounting system requirements checklist for government contractors.

Please contact us here  or call (904) 731-9222 if you have additional questions, or if you would like to see if you have a FAR compliant accounting system.

Hunter & Associates
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Hunter & Associates
At Hunter & Associates, P.A., we are driven by the belief that within each of us is the power to achieve greatness. This belief is not just for us, but for our clients as well. In fact, our client roster includes a great many small businesses with aspirations for greatness. We have even been recognized as an award-winning firm for client diversity.
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