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Budget: Preparing for FY19

As GovCons grind through the rest of the year, it is hard to think about 2019.  We’re a little worn out from proposal season and if you are lucky, new contract awards.  We’ve been recruiting hard in a difficult market, transitioning from incumbents, and getting new starts off the ground.  Depending on which agency you work with, you’ve had an upswing in work or you’ve spent most of the year trying to help your clients scrape together budget and “do more with less.” (Is anyone else sick of hearing this?!)  Some may be putting the finishing touches on their OASIS bid or hunting a few of the large elephants out there (JEDI subs, CMS PEO, etc.). Not sure about you, but we’re ready to start the holiday party networking scene and drink and eat away our cares.

While that may be tempting, now is the time to plan for FY19.  Corporate budgeting season should be well underway.  What are your goals for next year and what are your priorities?  What can you divert investment to and what do you hold off on?  We all have our wish lists of things we’d spend money on, but what has the best ROI for your company?  In our capitalist hearts, money drives all things…which is why the budget is so important.

If you have the attitude that the budget is just an exercise for accounting folks or it is just a spreadsheet drill, you are missing the point and the opportunity to align your company under a set of consistent goals.

Best practice has budgeting from both top-down and bottom-up approaches.  CEOs – what are your goals for next year?  Some folks think too small, while others pull a random number out of their ass and demand that BD/Capture/Ops get them there.  Some take a % increase off of the current year.  There is nothing worse than sitting in budget meeting after budget meeting listening to what the “stretch” goals should be.  Unrealistic and completely unattainable goals will demotivate a sales team faster than anything.  That being said, a goal shouldn’t be easy street either.  Take a cold hard look at your pipeline report.  Look at your customer’s budget. Do the environmental scan.  Don’t make up a number in a bubble.

From a bottom-up approach, take a good look at actual run rates, utilizations, and project budgets.  Review indirect costs for efficiencies.  What did you waste money on this year?  What led to no ROI?  Now’s the time to cut it or reevaluate for next year.  Ripe off the Band-Aid and make tough decisions.

Finally, tie the budget directly to your corporate goals.  Tie performance evaluations to goals and budget.  Then effectively communicate the goals and any changes to everyone so there is an understanding of where the company is going, company priorities and how each individual can contribute to those goals.

Or, if you would rather stick your head in the sand, a la the ostrich, there are always holiday parties to attend. Let us know how that works out.

 

BOOST can show you how to go back to the basics – pay your people and get paid. From there we can set up a monthly financial review meeting to analyze all financial aspects of your business. BOOST reviews your system with stakeholders and documents operational procedures. We help provide a structure and organize effective accounting systems that scale with your growing business. Let’s get you on the right path for FY19, today! [email protected]

March Madness in Federal Government

So much for our brackets (okay, Va Tech was a long shot, but what the heck UVA?), we’re extending our musings on a few bouts of madness that we’ve observed this year within the government.

  • Budget – Everything about it is broken. Everything. The Continuing Resolutions. The riders for pet projects. The need to “use or lose” all the funding. The complete lack of accountability for your actions. I must believe that most agencies would agree. Yet, where is the call for actual, real reform? We beat our chests every time we get close to a government shutdown, but otherwise, there is no discussion on making real changes to the process. Industry can provide suggestions, but this is fundamentally government responsibility impacting all Americans. Fix this aspect of government and there is a waterfall impact that positively impacts the economy. Come up with a better budgeting process.

 

  • RFPs – While absolutely no one enjoys writing an RFP, nor responding to one, having a clearly articulated RFP with transparency regarding your agency’s needs is critical. With clarity, the industry can provide their best solution at their best price in response.  Imagine the source selection team reading qualified, thoughtful solutions. The government wins. Spend time pre-RFP to talk to the industry and tailor your RFP to meet your needs. It’s not illegal…it’s encouraged!

 

  • Same Old Contractors, Same Old Solutions – I completely understand that we all have our favorites, but ask yourself, has your favorite really helped your agency move the ball or are they just checking time? Instead of going to your old standby or short list, how about giving a new player a chance? How often have you sole-sourced something as a check in the box without really looking to see if there are other players in the industry who can meet the need? Have you looked beyond the three same contractors who respond to your RFP? Outreach is not hard and it serves the agency to have fresh blood in the mix. Expand your network and reach.

 

  • Responsibility. We get that as for-profit contractors, we are often viewed as beltway bandits.  In reality, many are small businesses trying to make a difference. Holding up contract mods with funding or approving invoices in the billing system has a direct impact on our business.  What seems like a mundane task is one of the most important for a small GovCons. We operate on thin margins and don’t have the cash to float months of payroll. Process the paperwork in a timely fashion.

As a government official, you have a lot of responsibility – not only to your agency but to the taxpayer. Taking the above into consideration benefits all of us in the ecosystem.

They say madness gets worse before it gets better, but how much worse are we willing to stomach? If each of us does our part to make the RFP process, solution options and budget shortfalls our responsibility, maybe, just maybe there will be a slice of pie for all of us! We all have our own bouts of madness and we’ve been happy to shine a light on ours. Where do you find madness in GovCon and more importantly, what do you propose we do to find a solution?