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Fed Talks: A Baker Tilly Podcast
The Fed Talks Podcast is a series of audio episodes featuring current issues in government contracting, offering thoughtful, bite-sized insights with rotating guests from inside and outside Baker Tilly.
Dec 13, 2021
Our recent episode of the Fed Talks podcast discusses the recent changes to the Department of Defense's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification: CMMC 2.0. On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss the recent changes to the Department of Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) with subject matter specialist Matt Gilbert. Questions addressed include: -What is CMMC 2.0 and what are some of the key features of this new model? -How does the removal of the process requirement affect contractors? -What should contractors do today as they await additional guidance on CMMC 2.0?
Sep 20, 2021
Incurred cost proposals... but why?
On our second installment of our Fed Talks miniseries: But why?, we discuss the purpose of incurred cost proposals (ICPs) with Baker Tilly subject matter specialist Drew Lewis. Questions addressed include: • What is an ICP and when are contractors required to prepare them? • How can contractors ensure that submitting an ICP is as simple as possible? • What types of changes are expected to be made to the ICP process?
Sep 7, 2021
Sink or swim: a legal perspective on the coming wave of SCRM initiatives (featuring Alex Canizares)
Our most recent episode of the Fed Talks podcast discusses new policy directives related to supply chain risk management. On this episode of Fed Talks, we explore how new policy directives related to supply chain risk management (SCRM) are challenging federal contractors to adapt their legal strategies, with special guest Alex Canizares from Perkins Coie, and Baker Tilly subject matter specialists, Jeff Clayton and Leo Alvarez. Questions addressed include: • What is the nexus between SCRM and DoD’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification framework? • What are effective approaches to managing disputes and/or False Claims Act risks as it relates to SCRM or cyber related attestations? • How will the Biden Cybersecurity Executive Order impact federal contractors?
Aug 16, 2021
The cost of CMMC compliance
Our most recent episode of the Fed Talks podcast discusses the costs of varying levels of cybersecurity maturity model certification. We play a game of “headline or clickbait” with subject matter specialists Matt Gilbert and Joe McCaffrey to discuss the costs of varying levels of cybersecurity maturity model certification (CMMC) compliance. Questions addressed include: • Are the DoD’s estimated CMMC cost figures reasonable? • How should contractors treat and allocate the costs associated with CMMC? • Will CMMC costs incurred prior to winning a contract requiring CMMC be questioned? • What can contractors do to minimize the costs associated with CMMC?
Aug 2, 2021
A much-needed reset: rethinking third party risk
On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss the growing importance of supply chain risk management (SCRM) in federal procurement with Baker Tilly subject matter specialists, Jeff Clayton and Leo Alvarez. Questions addressed include: • What is SCRM and why now? • How is SCRM affecting federal acquisitions? • How is the use of all-source intelligence platforms (“supply chain illumination”) changing risk governance?
Jul 12, 2021
Today's top 10 - costs for termination settlement proposals
On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss the top 10 costs contractors are forgetting to include in their termination settlement proposals with Baker Tilly partner Noah Leiden and special guest John Prairie, a partner at Wiley Rein LLP. Questions addressed include: * What are government terminations and when do they occur? * Why are government terminations a timely topic in 2021? * What are the types of costs that government contractors often forget to include in their termination settlement proposals?
Jun 21, 2021
Understanding test automation
On our recent episode of the Fed Talks podcast we discuss the importance of test automation for government contractors. On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss test automation with Baker Tilly principal Kevin Brandt. Questions addressed include: * What is test automation and why is it important? * What are examples of how test automation is used and what are the potential benefits? * Are there concerns companies have about using test automation?
Jun 7, 2021
Business systems... but why?
Government contracting specialist Drew Lewis joins our most recent episode of the Fed Talks podcast to discuss the purpose of contractor business systems. On the inaugural installment of our new Fed Talks miniseries, "But why?," we discuss the purpose of contractor business systems with Baker Tilly subject matter specialist Drew Lewis. Questions addressed include: * What are contractor business systems and why are they emphasized today? * How relevant and useful are business system rules and why are contractors required to comply with them? * Are there other tools the government can use besides business systems to ensure federal funds are being spent appropriately?
May 16, 2021
So, you want to be a government contractor?
So, you want to be a government contractor? On this episode of Fed Talks, we play a game of ‘Fact or Fiction’ with subject matter specialists Matt Danner and Rachelle Jackson to comment on common concerns companies have when considering contracting with the Federal Government. Questions addressed include: -Does the government require advance approval for contractors for their subcontract arrangements? -Will working with the government mean making sweeping changes to a company’s accounting system? -Is there opportunity for reasonable profit in government contracting?
May 2, 2021
Service Contract Act: the impact of COVID-19
On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss the impact of COVID-19 on Service Contract Act (SCA) contractors with Baker Tilly’s Jennifer Flickinger and subject matter specialist Rachelle Jackson. Questions addressed include: -How has COVID-19 affected contractors with SCA contracts? -How have the health and welfare (H&W) component costs of employee compensation changed due to COVID-19? -What steps should contractors take to be successful in this new environment?
Apr 19, 2021
Zero Trust thirty: reflections on cybersecurity
On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss all things cybersecurity in the government contracting industry with subject matter specialist Dr. Sabari Gupta. Questions addressed include: -What are the biggest similarities and differences in managing cybersecurity for a company versus the federal government? -What is the ‘Zero Trust’ model of information security and why is establishing user identity a critical component for an effective Zero Trust model? -How can companies balance good security practices with the cost and complexity it takes to implement them?
Mar 29, 2021
Fed Talks Season 2
Have you heard of Baker Tilly’s podcast, Fed Talks? Fed Talks is a series of bite-size audio episodes, featuring guests across the government contracting industry, as they provide unique perspectives on current issues. Season two of Fed Talks will highlight trending topics in the same conversational nature, but with enhancements to make the episodes even more entertaining.
Mar 29, 2021
CMMC for Non-Traditional Contractors
On the first episode of Fed Talks season two, we play a game of ‘What’s the Word’ with subject matter expert Mike Cullen to better understand how CMMC will affect non-traditional government contractors. Questions addressed include: * How concerned should non-traditional government contractors be about CMMC? * What level of certification should non-traditional government contractors seek? * What are some of the complexities surrounding Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)?
Sep 14, 2020
11. Service Contract Act: Before You Bid
On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss the top five things contractors need to know when putting together a proposal for a Service Contract Act (SCA) contract with Baker Tilly subject matter experts Jennifer Flickinger & Rachelle Jackson. Questions addressed include: 1. What is the Service Contract Act? 2. How does the contract type affect both a contractor’s focus during a proposal and ability to secure future funding? 3. How can contractors ensure they are complying with SCA throughout the life of the contract?
Aug 24, 2020
10. CMMC: Will Perfection be the Enemy of Procurement?
On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss industry critiques of CMMC’s binary certification process with Baker Tilly subject matter expert Matt Gilbert. Questions addressed include: Why are some industry experts saying that CMMC lacks agility? In what ways can the CMMC assessment process be more flexible without undermining its purpose? How can contractors prepare themselves to succeed within CMMC’s current design?
Aug 3, 2020
Beers with Brent #4: Double IPA: Independent Public Accountants and India Pale Ales (featuring Nicole Owren-Wiest)
On the fourth installment of our Fed Talks miniseries edition: Beers with Brent, we discuss Independent Public Accountants (IPAs) with Baker Tilly partner Brent Calhoon and special guest Nicole Owren-Wiest, a partner at Crowell & Moring LLP. Questions addressed include: What are IPAs and how are they utilized in the government contractor space? How have government contractors reacted to the use of IPAs? How do we expect IPAs to be utilized more going forward?
Jul 15, 2020
9. An Update on Commercial Item Determinations
On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss recent happenings in the commercial item space with Baker Tilly subject matter experts Jeffrey Clayton and Steven Brewer. Questions addressed include: What are commercial item determinations and why are they important for government contractors? What are some key takeaways from the Defense Contract Management Agency Commercial Item Group’s recent Request for Information? What are some best practices for contractors working to put documentation together for commercial item determinations?
Jun 22, 2020
Beers w/ Brent #3: Does CAS Make Sense (featuring Nicole Owren-Wiest)
On the third installment of our Fed Talks miniseries edition: Beers with Brent, we discuss the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) with Baker Tilly partner Brent Calhoon and special guest Nicole Owren-Wiest, a partner at Crowell & Moring LLP. Questions addressed include: What was the background and theory behind CAS? Does CAS successfully establish the original mission of the CAS Board? What can contractors do to ensure success when they make cost accounting practice changes?
Jun 8, 2020
8. Accounting Systems: The Destination, not the Journey
On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss accounting system audits and how accounting systems can be a strategic differentiator for government contractors, with Baker Tilly subject matter experts Jennifer Flickinger & Jack Coviello. Questions addressed include: 1. What actually is an accounting system audit and what are the different variations? 2. What recent developments in the industry have led to a renewed importance for system approvals? 3. How does the size and maturity of a contractor affect accounting system design and the ability to receive approval?
May 11, 2020
7. Administrative Agreements and Independent Monitors
On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss how contractors or recipients of assistance awards (grantees) can assess their organizational risks and improve internal controls when faced with the imposition of an Administrative Agreement. Baker Tilly subject matter experts Patrick Fitzgerald and Delaney Gordon dig into this topic, and further discuss how organizations can get out in front of the government’s concerns to address issues early and efficiently. Questions addressed include: What is an administrative agreement and when does the government impose this type of independent oversight? How does a contractor or grantee know when an Administrative Agreement is being contemplated and what can the contractor do to lessen the impact of the Agreement on its operations? What are the best mitigation strategies that contractors and grantees can implement to avoid administrative agreements altogether?
Apr 27, 2020
6. Changes to GSA’s Order-Level Materials (featuring Steve Sizemore)
On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Single Schedule Initiative, and specifically the role of Order-Level Materials (OLM). Listen in for advice from GSA subject-matter expert Steve Sizemore and Baker Tilly team member Leo Alvarez. Questions addressed include: 1. What is OLM and how does it compliment the Single Schedule Initiative’s goal of simplification? 2. How do contractors sell items through the OLM Special Item Number (SIN)? 3. How does OLM affect the process of fair and reasonable price determination?
Apr 6, 2020
Special Edition - COVID-19’s Impact on Contractors
On this unique episode of Fed Talks, we discuss the rapidly-evolving impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and what government contractors are doing to deal with it successfully. Questions addressed include: What are some parallels that exist between pandemic response and business activities during this challenging time? What does it mean to be reasonable or prudent in the midst of a rapidly evolving situation? What might be some lasting impacts of COVID-19 to the government contracting community? Please find our helpful triage plan we reference as a resource here: https://www.bakertilly.com/insights/covid-19-pandemic-operational--financial-triage-plan
Mar 30, 2020
5. CMMC: A Primer and What We Know So Far
On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss the Department of Defense’s new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) with subject matter specialist David Ross, a principal leading Baker Tilly’s Cybersecurity and Privacy Practice. Questions addressed include: What is CMMC and what is the government’s overall goal in introducing this new standard? What are the different levels of CMMC and which level should contractors look to achieve within the framework? What do we know right now about CMMC, and what is yet to be determined before CMMC is rolled out?
Mar 16, 2020
Beers with Brent #2: Risk Aversion over a Double India Pale Ale
On the second installment of our Fed Talks miniseries edition: Beers with Brent, we discuss government risk aversion with Baker Tilly partner Brent Calhoon. Questions addressed include: Do we sense an atmosphere of risk aversion, and does that affect the relationship between the government and their contractors? What is the distinction between conservatism and risk aversion? What are some of the positive steps being taken by the government to show their trust in contractors, and what can contractors do to support? This Week’s Beer: Minor Indiscretion
Mar 2, 2020
4. Government Property: The Forgotten Business System
On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss government property, one of the six core DFARS business systems with two experts: Tom Ruckdaschel of DCMA and DPAP acclaim and Alex Mikhelson, a manager with Baker Tilly’s Government Contractor Advisory Services practice. Questions addressed include: What is government property and why is it important? Why has government property seen increased attention lately, and how is this impacting government contractors? What can contractors do to proactively prepare for increased scrutiny of their government property systems and identify and address deficiencies?
Feb 10, 2020
Beers with Brent #1: An IPA + Perception of Contractors
On the inaugural installment of our Fed Talks miniseries edition: Beers with Brent, we discuss the government’s perception of contractors with Baker Tilly partner Brent Calhoon. Questions addressed include: How do contractors respond to an often-negative public perception? What is the perception vs. reality when it comes to contractor profits? How do the goals of contractors trying to run a business conflict with a government tasked with being stewards of the taxpayer? This Week’s Beer: Chameleon IPA
Jan 27, 2020
3. Category Management
On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss the impact of the Federal Government’s category management approach to procurement with Baker Tilly team members Leo Alvarez and Michael Ryan. Questions addressed include: How has category management impacted Federal acquisitions, including impacts of GSA Schedule consolidation? What are “Best in Class” Contract Vehicles? What key opportunities should contractors pay attention to in 2020 and beyond?
Dec 18, 2019
2. Policies and Procedures
On this episode of Fed Talks, we discuss the need and approach to documenting policies and procedures for government contractors with Baker Tilly team members Joseph McCaffrey and John Hindman. Questions addressed include: How many policies does a government contractor need; How do business systems influence the organization of policy; How does a contractor choose areas to cover in their policies and procedures?
Nov 8, 2019
1. Updating Commercial Sales Practices
On our inaugural episode of Fed Talks, we discuss the process of updating contractors’ GSA Commercial Sales Practices (CSP) disclosures with Baker Tilly team members Jeff Clayton and Samantha Fry. Topics discussed include: What is a CSP and when should contractors update them; Situations when a Contracting Officer will not allow a CSP update; Migration of stand-alone professional service contracts to the Consolidated Schedule; Associated risks, including pre & post award audits, price adjustments, and the potential for False Claims Act liability.