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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Preparing for an FDOT Reimbursement Rate Audit - Management's Responsibilities

fdot-reimbursement-rate-audit.jpg

Engineering firms must provide annual reimbursement rate audit reports to the Florida Department of Transportation to bid on contracts larger than $500,000. 

FDOT Reimbursement Rate Audit Guidelines contain specific Departmental requirements in addition to the general guidelines contained in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Uniform Audit and Accounting Guide.

Preparing the information that auditors will need in advance could help you complete your audit more efficiently.

Auditors’ processes will include:

  • Verifying that your Schedule of Indirect Cost complies with financial requirements and was prepared in accordance with accounting practices prescribed by Part 31 of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FARs) and certain other federal and state regulations;
  • Testing and documenting your company's internal control over financial reporting; and
  • Determining the proper allocation of costs between a Home Office and Field Office(s).

Management’s responsibilities include the following, according to the AASHTO Uniform Audit & Accounting Guide:

  • Identifying, segregating, and removing unallowable costs from all billings to government contracts;
  • Training accounting staff, including payables clerks and staff members responsible for preparing project billings, in the FAR Subpart 31.2 cost principles so that unallowable cost items can be identified, segregated, and disallowed as transactions occur; 
  • Performing your own analysis of high-risk accounts or line items and making appropriate adjustments to the indirect cost rate schedule;
  • Performing a preliminary review to assess whether internal controls are working effectively and whether all unallowable costs have been removed from the final, submitted indirect cost rate;
  • Preparing narratives describing the internal controls reviewed, and any associated schedules showing the results of the preliminary review, and sharing these documents with the independent auditor and/or State DOT auditor; and
  • Sharing documents related to the testing of labor or direct costs with the independent auditor and/or State DOT auditor.

Your audit report is due within six months of the end of the fiscal year it addresses. Additional information is available in the FDOT’s Reimbursement Rate Audit Guidelines.

 

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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