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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Overhead Rate Audits Explained

overhead-rate-audits-explained


What is a FAR overhead rate?

Technically known as a firm's "indirect cost rate," the more familiarly known "overhead rate" is the percentage of general expenses that consultants can bill to contracting government agencies. More specifically, it is the ratio of allowable indirect costs to total allocable direct labor costs.

What does a FAR overhead rate include?

Overhead is the sum of a firm’s indirect costs. A firm’s FAR overhead rate is the ratio of indirect costs to direct labor costs, based upon provisions in the Federal Acquisition Regulation and Cost Accounting Standards.

Why do I need it audited?

Government agencies base reimbursements to firms on their audited FAR overhead rates.

What are the requirements for receiving reimbursement from a government agency?

A/E firms must prove that costs are allowable, reasonable and allocable, per the provisions for contracts with commercial organizations detailed in FAR 31.2. 

What are management's responsibilities in an overhead rate audit?

Management "bears the sole responsibility for identifying, segregating, and removing unallowable costs from all billings to Government contracts," according to the AASHTO Uniform Audit & Accounting Guide to government transportation contracts.

Where can I get more information?

The AASHTO Uniform Audit & Accounting Guide (2012 Edition) prepared by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials is the leading source of information related to indirect cost rate schedules and overhead audits.

You are also welcome to contact us by phone or email.

 

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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