The Department of Defense, Office of Small Business Programs offers a DCAA (Defense Contract Audit Agency) Resource Guide for Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Programs.
This guide is available for download by following this link.
The purpose of these programs is to strengthen the role of innovative small business concerns in Federally-funded research or research and development. Specific program purposes are to (i) stimulate technological innovation (ii) use small business to meed Federal research and development needs, (iii) foster and encourage participation by socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses and by women-owned small businesses, in technological innovation, and (iv) increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development, thereby increasing competition, productivity and economic growth.
The SBIR program is divided into three phases, I, II, and III. Under Phase I, there is very little Government oversight on how funds are spent. Awards are made competitively but once awarded, the recipients are given a pot of funds to see what they can do. If successful, contractors might be able to move on to Phase II (usually limited to $1 million and two years performance). Phase II contracts are very much like typical cost-reimbursable Government contracts and this is where SBIR contractors suddenly become aware of DCAA, the need for "adequate" accounting systems, provisional billing rates, and annual incurred cost submissions. Most are not equipped or prepared for the audit onslaught.
This is where the aforementioned DCAA Resource Guide may be helpful. Although most of the information in the guide is found on DCAA's website and there are numerous links to content on that website, the guide organizes and presents the information in a way that is useful to small businesses just getting started in Government contracting.
Topics include, preaward accounting system surveys, price proposals, incurred cost proposals, small business seminars (powerpoint slides), checklists, tools, and many other links.
By the way, DCAA maintains a small business focal point. You can call them at 571-448-2008 or email: DCAA-OAL-SmallBusinessFocalPoint@dcaa.mil. Based on anecdotal feedback, your mileage may vary when using this resource.