When you are in the business of federal government contracts, DCAA compliance is non-negotiable. DCAA stands for the Defense Contract Audit Agency. QuickBooks provides an accounting package that is well suited for small to mid-sized businesses, but often, the question arises; Is QuickBooks a DCAA Approved Accounting System?. QuickBooks offers two options and several different versions depending on your unique business requirements. QuickBooks offers both a desktop solution and an online tool, and either can be set up to be DCAA/Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Compliant, especially with our DCAA compliance checklist. The keys are Job Costing and Labor Distribution.
Potential government contractors who wish to bid on certain types of contracts should know that although the contracts vary, there is a difference between direct costs and indirect costs.
- A direct cost is a cost that can be tied directly to the production of goods or services. A direct cost may be variable. An example of a direct cost is labor cost or manufacturing supplies.
- Indirect cost allocations include overhead expenses such as rent and insurances and general expenses like accounting department costs. Indirect costs are harder to pin down and harder to allocate to a specific project or item. Using a timesheet tracking application in conjunction with an accounting package like Quickbooks, you can better control the indirect cost allocations, particularly for general and administrative expenses, to the correct cost objective.
- One type of DCAA contract is called a cost reimbursable contract, where the direct cost and a percentage of the indirect costs are paid. This type of contract requires the accounting system approval under FAR subpart 16.3.
What is QuickBooks? And Is QuickBooks a DCAA Approved Accounting System?
QuickBooks is an accounting software solution that allows for integration across multiple platforms to make payroll quick and easy. They have two main products that make their service worthwhile.
This interface of web-based time tracking software and payroll makes QuickBooks Desktop an ideal tool for DCAA Compliance. We base this on our experience with hundreds of clients over several decades. Furthermore, the QuickBooks Desktop integrated payroll module permits the charging of time directly to the General Ledger. This includes Customer, Job, and Service Items, which are immensely beneficial.
QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based solution that is not, at the outset, designed to meet the FAR and DCAA requirements and has some limitations. The good news is that there are ways to make the QuickBooks Online system meet all the government’s requirements without too much effort.
What is DCAA Compliant Accounting Software?
DCAA-compliant accounting software is software that meets DCAA requirements. Your chosen accounting package – in this case, QuickBooks is set up to meet the requirements. Timekeeping and the allocation of costs are of particular importance. Consequently, QuickBooks Time Tracking software integration is an essential aspect of DCAA compliance.
Refer to DCAA compliance explained for more information.
Any accounting package set up to meet compliance requirements will be subject to strict internal controls to ensure financial integrity. One of these internal controls should be an internal accounting system audit regularly. There should also be regular checks on a monthly basis to see that all the income and expenditures balance.
The Benefits of Being DCAA Compliant for Small Businesses
If you are DCAA compliant, you may be one step closer to securing funding from the federal government programs SBIR and STTR. These programs gear towards supporting innovation and technology in small businesses. Integrating Hour Timesheet’s DCAA-compliant timesheet with QuickBooks will be invaluable in pursuing this kind of opportunity.
Is QuickBooks DCAA Compliant?
Yes, QuickBooks can be set up to be DCAA compliant, but it doesn’t automatically meet DCAA standards and requires additional configuration to be compliant. Certain elements of the software do meet the standards, including the ability to properly segregate direct costs from indirect costs. This can be accomplished by using the software’s reporting features to separate costs by project as well as items versus expenses. When searching for DCAA-compliant accounting software, QuickBooks also operates under general ledger control, which is required under the standards. Another example of how the platform conforms with DCAA standards is its support of separating preproduction costs in a number of ways.
On the other hand, as a DCAA-compliant accounting system, QuickBooks as it is distributed falls short in a number of ways. For instance, it does not automatically calculate indirect rates per your company’s rate structure. It also fails to offer time tracking capabilities required to identify employees’ work according to intermediate or final cost objectives. Satisfying these and other requirements calls for expert configuration of the platform as well as integration with time tracking software that provides additional functionality. These are areas in which Hour Timesheet’s solutions can be of exceptional benefit to your enterprise. We provide you with the expertise necessary to make the most of your QuickBooks setup and ensure you are making QuickBooks DCAA compliant.
There are three areas to consider:
- Chart of Accounts establishment
- Flow of transactions
- Cost and Computations
It’s important to note that one should always bear Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in mind when analyzing your accounting system.
Even if you understand all the regulations, it is still best to refer to the DCAA compliance checklist. Where possible, seek professional assistance! Be ready to implement policies and procedures that need to be applied consistently across your business.
Keys to Compliance
- Employee time tracking posted daily with required explanations for edits and record locking.
- Printable timesheet reports.
- Policies & Procedures oriented toward FAR Compliance Criteria found in DCAA’s SF-1408 pre-award audit checklist.
- Consistently applied labor dollar distribution accommodating uncompensated OT for salary exempt personnel.
- Indirect Cost Pools and the ability to compute and forecast Indirect Rates applied to Direct Costs under Cost Reimbursable Awards.
- Progress billing + Cumulative dollar values reported against award ceilings tied to cost proposals.
- Identification and segregation of Unallowable Costs as defined per FAR 31.205.
This isn’t a comprehensive list, but it gives a good idea of what to expect. One of the best ways to help navigate QuickBooks DCAA compliance with timekeeping and accounting systems is to partner with a company that has a demonstrated knowledge of government contracts. It can also be helpful to review multiple services and look for important features in DCAA compliant time tracking systems.
What Happens if You Fail a DCAA Audit?
You may lose your contract or face a suspension of payment. Be assiduously aware of remaining compliant. Floor checks are routine, and timekeeping records are an essential part of your compliance. A floor check is the DCAA’s way of verifying your employees.
One way to help ensure you pass your DCAA audit is to get any requested information to your auditors quickly. This can speed up your audit, and help ensure the DCAA auditor has all the information they need. In order to do this, it’s best practice to keep excellent records and track every process and transaction. Hour Timesheet allows businesses to keep these kinds of records, in a convenient, cloud-based place.
Is QuickBooks a DCAA Approved Accounting System? Let Hour Timesheet help!
Hour Timesheet isn’t just a timekeeping software provider for government contracts looking to pass a DCAA audit. We also partner with dozens of CPA firms and consultants who can assist you with the entire life cycle of getting a DCAA-approved accounting system. Call Us Today! We can introduce you to our extensive list of experienced partners and answer the million dollar question…Is QuickBooks a DCAA Approved Accounting System?