Reassess Your Size Status, Update Your DSBS and SAM Listings, Check Your Past Performance Ratings, and Update Your Employment Policies, Handbooks and Postings
Happy New Year! The start of a new year is a time for New Year’s Resolutions. Here are several we strongly urge you to follow-through on early in 2017.
1. Reassess Your (and Any Subcontractors’) Small Business Size Status: Most companies operate on a calendar year for tax reporting purposes. For such companies the start of a new tax year, and the end of the prior year, means a change and forward adjustment of the three-year period used to calculate the company’s average annual receipts (AAR) for size determination purposes. (See our prior blog article on this topic here). Thus, effective January 1, 2017, companies that have been calculating their size based upon 2013-2015 receipts are required, for the first time, to start using 2014-2016 receipts. Obviously, and depending upon the company’s receipts last year (tax year 2016) vs. 2013, this change alone could alter a company’s size status eligibility. Moreover, there have been significant changes in size standards over the past several years as a result of (i) SBA’s ongoing industry-by-industry review and increases to many size standards, and (ii) SBA’s June 2014 Interim Final Rule increasing all monetary-based size standards to offset inflation over the prior five years (previously discussed here). A size status review thus is particularly important this year, not only to ensure that future size certifications are correct, but also to consider whether your company might now be eligible for procurements as to which you previously were too large. Please note that this review needs to consider each individual NAICS Code under which your company is listed or considering bidding. While especially important for small businesses, a size status review also is important for large businesses with respect to any current or proposed small business teaming partners or subcontractors.
2. Review and Update Your Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) Listing: The start of a new year is also a good time, if you are a small business, to review, and update as necessary, your company’s listing in SBA’s DSBS. This is a primary source for government agencies, and you need to ensure that your listing is accurate, up-to-date and fully reflects any new information that might help you get new work. In addition to ensuring accuracy as to your current address, phone numbers and size and any socioeconomic status representations, be sure to update your listing to include any new performance history, and new professional and industry certifications, and make sure that your keywords are comprehensive, so as to make it easy for contracting specialists to find you. You might also want to check the listings of your key competitors to see how your listing stacks up, and whether other changes might enhance your competitive status.
3. Review and Update Your SAM Listing: Once you have completed your size status reassessment, you need to review and update your listings on the Government’s System for Acquisition Management (SAM), at www.SAM.gov. This is necessary both (1) to ensure the current accuracy of the listed information, and (2) if you are a small business, to maintain and continue your company’s small business status. Please remember that information on SAM is deemed to be a representation and certification by you as to the current accuracy of the posted information. Both the company and you individually can be held liable for any inaccurate information. Moreover, at least annual updating is required, or a small business will lose and be unable to claim small business size status until updated. On a related note, if your business address has changed, be sure to update your Dun & Bradstreet DUNS number listing, and follow-up to ensure that the changes are passed through to, and show up on, SAM and DSBS.
4. Review and Ensure the Accuracy and Currency of Your Past Performance Information: The start of a new year also is a good time to review the accuracy and currency of your past performance information in the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS), Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS) and elsewhere, so that you can initiate efforts to correct and update this information, if needed, in advance of future procurements where such information might be key to your competitive standing and award eligibility. Once a procurement comes down to the critical evaluation and award stages, it is usually too late to impact performance ratings. This is particularly true as to missing past performance evaluations, which take time to be prepared and go through the comment and review process. If you have performed well under one or more contracts during contract performance years that ended in the past year, you should ensure that CPARS evaluations have been performed and entered, documenting your good performance, so that you can claim, and agencies can give you, credit in any new procurement. Acting now also will ensure that you have an opportunity to reply to and explain any negative comments.
5. Update Your Employment Policies, Handbooks, Postings and Subcontract Flow-Downs: While it is always good at the start of each year to review your ethics and compliance programs, it is particularly important this year that you update your employment policies, handbooks, postings and subcontract flow-down clauses, in view of the virtual flood of new Executive Orders and implementing Department of Labor and FAR regulations over the past year as President Obama pushed to implement changes prior to leaving office. These changes include the increased $10.20 minimum wage effective January 1, 2017 (discussed here), Paycheck Transparency (discussed here), Paid Sick Leave (discussed here, here and here), new Cybersecurity safeguarding and reporting requirements (discussed here), SBA’s Limitations on Subcontracting (discussed here), Mentor/Protégé and Joint Venture changes, and the phase-in of GSA’s new Transactional Data Reporting (discussed here), just to name a few. Implementation of (1) DOL’s new overtime rules, and (2) the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces regulations, are presently stayed by Court Orders, pending further legal proceedings and decisions by the incoming Trump Administration, but warrant watching.
There certainly are many other good resolutions you should consider, including keeping current on new developments. 2017 is going to be very busy, as the new Trump Administration seizes the reins and sets a new course, likely including reversal of many of President Obama’s initiatives, particularly in the labor and employment area. However, taking the five actions listed above will position you well to move forward and succeed in 2017.
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