Category Archives: Business

CONGRESS PASSES FIRST APPROPRIATIONS BILLS, MORE COULD FOLLOW

The Department of Veterans Affairs, Military Construction functions, and the Legislative Branch may all start Fiscal Year 2019 with full appropriations if President Trump signs a “mini-bus” appropriations bill passed by Congress late last week.  The measure, which also includes energy and water project funding, is the first of what may be three spending bills that Congress Read more

THREE THINGS TO DO OVER THE LAST TWO WEEKS

With two weeks left in the FY’18 Fiscal Year your company needs to shift from being a marathon runner to a sprinter in order to close business.  Here are three things to focus on now:  1.  Call, Meet, E-mail Your Prospects:  If your prospective customer hasn’t called you, you Read more

SENATORS WARN AGAINST YEAR-END BUYING FRENZY – BUT ARE COMPLICIT IN DRIVING IT

Chief Financial Officers at the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Treasury and other large agencies received letters recently from members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee warning against “potentially wasteful” year-end spending as FY’18 draws to a close.   Whether or not that letter may chill September buying activity remains to be seen.  If the Senate, however, doesn’t want to have so much spending loaded at the end of the year perhaps they can  work with their House colleagues to pass appropriations bills earlier than half-way into the fiscal year.  Congress has played a large role in setting the stage for such actions because it can’t get its part of the job done on time.  Now, however, everyone has to live with spending a full year’s worth of appropriations in six months.  Contractors would be wise to help their customers show why spending on specific procurements isn’t wasteful, merely because it happens late in the year.  We’ve always maintained that calling on CFO representatives is a sound business practice and this is one example why.  If you haven’t developed a relationship with agency CFO’s, funds for expected projects could be withheld, in this instance just to show Congressional overseers that they got the memo.   Congress may be poised to actually pass significant appropriations for FY’19 on time.  Till then, make sure you can help your customer justify FY’18 spending.

CONTRACTORS MUST REMAIN VIGILANT TO ENSURE SECURE SUPPLY CHAINS

Do you really know who controls your suppliers, teammates, or subcontractors?  Just because the firm is headquartered in Tyson’s Corner doesn’t mean they’re local.  Federal agencies and contractors already know that they incur daily attempted intrusions into their IT networks.  Sometimes, though, the threat can come from another angle:  an otherwise legitimate looking business that is, in reality, a Trojan Horse.  Giving an un-verified company access to sensitive files or classified information can cause even more damage to national security than a random IT hack.  At a time when DOD, in particular, is paying increased attention to supply chain integrity, contractors must take proper steps to vet any new supplier, teammate or sub-contractor.  It’s not just your own vetting, either.  Contractors must also be prepared to ask questions about companies a customer agency has either hired, or are contemplating hiring, to work side-by-side with them.  While federal agencies can be held accountable for breaches or intelligence incursions, it is vital to remember that it is often a contractor left holding the bag.  The finger of blame is pointed disproportionately at contractors.   The start of a new fiscal year is a good time to review vetting and oversight procedures.  Make sure that your supply chains are secure and that partners are who you think they are.