Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Obtaining Copies of Contract Audit Reports

The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) and other contract auditors including private firms performing contract audits on behalf of (and at a great cost to) the Government, do not routinely provide copies of their audit reports to the contractors they are auditing. Instead, these audit agencies and audit firms refer the contractors (the auditees) to the contracting officer who has the authority to decide whether to release the report or to withhold it.

The contracting officer's decision to hold or release an audit report depends upon the purpose of the audit report. If the subject of the audit is a pricing proposal, the Government considers the information to be part of its negotiation position and will not disclose it until after negotiations are concluded . If the audit is one that contains recommended corrective actions, the contracting officer will, of course, want to release the report so that contractors can respond and fix whatever internal control deficiency was identified. If the audit relates to investigative support (a relatively rare occurrence), the contracting officer may never release the audit report to the contractor.

Most audit reports pertaining to contracting contain a statement to the effect that the agency/organization has no objection to the release of the audit report to the authorized representatives of the company. That phrase conveys the decision on whether to release the report to the addressee, usually the contracting officer or requester of the audit services.

Contractors should always attempt to obtain copies of audit reports. Even reports that have served their usefulness, such as reports on pricing proposals, are useful for understanding weaknesses in estimating techniques and improving future bids.

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