If you’re a small business that offers professional contracting services to government agencies, you know how important DCAA compliance is. For starters, you have to follow all of the prescribed processes and procedures. On top of that, you need to create the audit trail to validate that you’ve done things the way you're supposed to. With a DCAA approved accounting system from BigTime, you’ll have the wherewithal to accurately track and bill time. With Big Time as your DCAA approved accounting software, you have the peace of mind of knowing that your system is keeping you on the right side of the regulations.

What is DCAA compliant accounting system? It means that you have documented all your policies and procedures, and that you can show that these processes are being rigorously followed. The DCAA audit manual specifies in detail how costs need to be allocated, and it’s different for government agencies from what’s required in most accounting systems. If there’s a DCAA audit, you’ll have to show that you’ve allocated all costs according to the requirements.

The complexity of the DCAA standard can be overwhelming for the small business owner who wants to focus on their business expertise and not on the time reporting. That’s where BigTime comes in. We integrate time tracking, expense tracking, billing, and invoicing. We integrate with QuickBooks and Sage Intacct to make your tracking and reporting seamless. Our system contains the safeguards to ensure that timesheets are not filled out in advance and that any approval or modification of the timesheet is done by an authorized manager and properly documented. Our customizable reports detail all the entries, log notes and signatures. They assure both you and the DCAA that your time tracking and reporting are up to snuff.

DCAA Approved Accounting System Requirements

There are a number of DCAA timekeeping requirements that your accounting system has to meet. One of the most important is documentation. Not only must you have a document that details all the timekeeping steps, but all your employees need to have access to it. That’s everyone, not just those working on the government project. Furthermore, they all must receive annual time-tracking training.

DCAA compliant accounting software supports daily timekeeping. Timesheets can’t be weekly or submitted in advance. Every hour, including vacation, holidays, and sick days, must be accounted for, as well as time spent working on non-government projects. All the codes and the job names have to be set up, and the eligible employees assigned to them.

All submitted time must be approved by the authorized supervisor. Any timesheet changes must be made by the employee and approved by the supervisor. Documents must be securely stored for either two and three years, depending on the document.

BigTime’s system enforces all these requirements when you use its automated system for DCAA compliance. These also include rules concerning employee passwords and the frequency with which they need to be changed. There’s a requirement for an integrated audit trail. There must be an approval workflow that ensures time is approved by the correct supervisor and that any changes to timesheets are properly documented.

DCAA Approved Accounting System QuickBooks

Is QuickBooks a government approved accounting system? Out of the box, no, it isn’t. For example, the QuickBooks job cost ledger includes only direct costs, not the indirect costs required by DCAA. To become a DCAA approved accounting system, QuickBooks needs to export its data to an external engine that can do what QuickBooks can’t.

BigTime integrates with QuickBooks for government contractors to meet DCAA requirements. QuickBooks users have raved about some of the advantages this provides. The BigTime integration eliminates the need for any redundant data entry. When you’re setting up BigTime, you can import all the QuickBooks data to get you started. You can export your labor and expense codes from QuickBooks and link the codes between the systems. You can bill clients either through QuickBooks or BigTime.

So, is QuickBooks DCAA compliant? If you’re using it today as a standalone, it’s not. However, if you integrate it with BigTime, it will not only meet your DCAA requirements but will offer extra features that could improve your productivity. The workflow and other functionality may enable you to bring a new level of flexibility and control to your business.

DCAA Compliance Checklist

DCAA compliance requires a lot to keep track of, even for businesses that have been doing government work for a while. For the organization that is new to federal contracting, it can be overwhelming. You need some sort of government contractor business systems compliance guide to ensure you’re in line with everything you need to do. With the right kind of software, you can be confident you’ve covered all your bases, you have the needed DCAA audit trail, and can generate any DCAA audit report that might be called for.

With BigTime, you can focus on your consulting business and let our software ensure that you’ve checked all the boxes. There are a number of questions you should ask BigTime, or any DCAA accounting software provider, about how their system keeps you on the straight and narrow.

For example, do they enforce the entry of all the required timesheet fields? Do they make the workflow and approval process easy? Do they meet the unique requirements of DCAA budget tracking such as labor category and contract line item number tracking? Do they inform you when budgets are meeting a risk threshold? Do they provide mobile and cloud-based access? Do they support properly documented changes to past timesheets? How well do they integrate with your accounting system?

DCAA Audit System Accounting Checklist

The word “audit” can strike fear into even the most even-tempered and above-board business owner. That’s doubly true when the auditing party is the government and the agency you’re consulting for has called in the DCAA. There are several audit types where the DCAA will assess your business to ensure it’s meeting all the DCAA compliance requirements.

One is an accounting system review. This typically takes place both before and after your company has been awarded a government contract. This looks to see that your accounting system does what it must. For example, it’s able to segregate direct and indirect costs and allocates indirect costs across cost objectives. Because BigTime has DCAA compliant time tracking software and a DCAA approved billing system, this is not a problem for BigTime clients.

Another audit type is the real-time labor evaluation. Often, this is an unannounced audit to ensure your people are working on what you and they say they are. Employees are chosen at random to discuss timesheet procedures. If you have trained everyone to use BigTime and have consistently kept your timesheets up-to-date, this audit should not present problems.

Is Sage DCAA Compliant?

Many small businesses have adopted Sage Intacct as their do-it-all accounting system. Sage claims to aid businesses in maintaining DCAA compliance. While Sage offers some advantages over using QuickBooks for government accounting, an integration of Sage Intacct with BigTime offers some workflow support and other functionality that you can’t get from Sage Intacct alone.

You can control the level of integration of Sage with BigTime to have each of the systems do what you want it to do at the project and/or the client level. You can import as much or as little data from BigTime to Sage, or from Sage to BigTime as you want to.

In any case, you avoid double entry on items such as time, invoices, and expenses. Time sheets can be entered and submitted and posted directly into Sage. It’s an integration that satisfies both DCAA requirements and the internal needs of your own accounting functionality.

BigTime is an official Sage Intacct application. BigTime’s interoperational capabilities don’t stop with Sage and QuickBooks. We also integrate with Lacerte, Salesforce, Slack, Google Apps, HubSpot, and more.

DCAA Compliant Timekeeping Software

For any small business that does government consulting, DCAA compliant timekeeping software gives you advantages that are hard to pass up. Think of all the items on a DCAA compliant timekeeping checklist, and you’ll see all the ways in which a system such as BigTime can make your life easier.

Here are just a few of the ways in which BigTime ensures your timekeeping meets DCAA requirements:

  • It prompts you to add notes wherever you’re going to need them for your audit trail. 
  • It ensures that timekeeping is timely: not entered in advance and not entered later than it needs to be. It allows you to use whatever timekeeping submission period your business wants.
  • It locks out timesheets when the period is up. You can enter time not only through a web browser but also on the BigTime mobile app.

BigTime’s reporting is highly customizable. The audit reports are in one location and can be filtered just about any way you want them. They can include all the log notes and all the authorized signatures.

One of the true starring features of BigTime is the workflow support. It makes sure every step on a DCAA compliance checklist is fulfilled. It ensures that the proper people are entering time and approving time, and it has the functionality to reject improper timesheets and to assure you that they’re properly corrected and documented.