Thursday, June 3, 2010

Streamlining the Billing Process - Part I

The blog posts for today and tomorrow come courtesy of Jean Carr. Jean Carr graduated from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and worked many years for the Defense Contract Audit Agency in the San Francisco Bay Area in a variety of audit and administrative positions before retiring in 2009. Among her many duties and responsibilities was to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and propriety of billings (public vouchers) submitted to the Government through WAWF (Wide Area Work Flow) for payment. Many contractors not exercising due care with their billings have had unforgettable encounters with Ms. Carr. Jean now consults with Bay Area contractors endeavoring to improve their billing processes and internal controls. She can be reached through us at 866-849-4887, Extension 1.

And now, here's Jean:

The biggest mistake for a contractor is to believe that whatever they send to DCAA is correct and will be understood and paid. Most DCAA voucher processors could care less if a contractor gets paid or not, much less get paid timely. It's not their responsiblity. If the processor has no personal interest in your company, you’re low on the “totem-pole.” Get to know your processor and develop a positive relationship with him/her. Flattery couldn’t hurt. Why? Because your processor will be more forthcoming with information that (although grudgingly given) you need to get your Public Vouchers processed. Further, if you have a good relationship, the processor will often warn you of impeding payment disaster (i.e., no receipt of billing requests, adjustment voucher received, contract period of performance is almost over or funding limit is imminent.)

Don't expect voucher processors to understand as much as you do. Most voucher processors in DCAA's Western Region are clerical personnel and don’t know what “Fringe” is; even though they get fringe benefits in their paychecks. And base? They think it’s like a BIG standup violin that men play in Jazz trios.

Tomorrow, Jean will continue with her list of the ten most common mistakes that contractors make when submitting payment requests.

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