When you receive a Phase II SBIR, STTR, RO1, ARPA-E, BARDA or BAA grant or contract, you need to comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 31, and specifically FAR 52.216-7.
After more than 30 years of specializing in government award accounting, we know the mistakes government grantees and contractors make, and how to prevent them. This 10-part blog series, “Top 10 Mistakes Government Awardees Make,” is designed to help you avoid trouble and protect your business.
When you submitted your proposal to your federal funding agency, you either proposed an indirect cost rate or used a safe rate if you proposed to NIH or NSF. When you received your grant, that provisional (aka budgeted) indirect cost rate was embedded into your award.
You have the funding, you are doing the work, incurring expenses and drawing down from the payment system.
It’s critical to understand that your provisional (budgeted) fringe and F&A rate will not be the same as your actual indirect rate.
TRACKING YOUR ACTUAL FRINGE AND F&A INDIRECT COST RATES
Because you have a cost-reimbursable federal grant or contract, you must comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 31. Compliance mandates that you maintain an acceptable accounting system for your government award.
Tracking your actual indirect rates on a monthly basis is part of a FAR-compliant accounting system.
It’s critical for your CFO to not only properly track your indirect cost rates, but to know how to identify when you are experiencing normal, “seasonal” indirect rate fluctuations and when you may be structurally deviating from your financial plan.
By seasonal indirect rate fluctuations, we mean a specific timing-only events that create indirect cost rate spiking or dipping, for example:
A structural change is more significant/permanent. Some examples are:
If a structural change is taking place, management must decide if active grants and contracts can be re-budgeted, and what the potential cost impact is on recently completed contracts and grants – and the customer(s) needs to be alerted and approve these changes
Obviously, all grant and contract awards, as well as commercial projects must bear their proportional share of any variance between the provisional and final actual indirect rates, which can run into the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Before you consider billing your government customer for those funds, you must consider the potential political ramifications of billing your funding agency vs. absorbing the financial hit.
Talk to an expert.
If you’re concerned about your actual indirect rate and whether it’s tracking properly, do not wait until the end of the year to address it. There are a multitude of ways to help you avoid trouble and expense, and we are well-versed in all of them.
Contact Us to schedule a time to speak to one of our government funding experts, and we will follow up within 48 hours!
Learn more about our FAR-compliant accounting system, JamesonWorx and all it offers. Start with this blog and get more details in this one.
To learn more about FAR-compliant job cost reports, including indirect rate tracking, read this blog.
Not all government contracts and grants are the same. Your funding agency, type of award, and funding stage require unique accounting requirements. Provide your information below to schedule a time to speak with one of our government funding experts!
Writing A Government Funding Proposal
Received A Pre-Award Notification
Received A Funding Award
National Institute of Health / HHS
Department of Defense (DOD)
National Science Foundation
Department of Energy (DoE)
SBIR/STTR Phase I
SBIR/STTR Phase II
R01, U01, Carb-X, HEAL or Pioneer Grant
EERE or ARPA-E Award
One of our government funding experts will contact you within 48 hours to schedule a phone call.