While reading an article on the recently published SBA Small Business Size and Status Integrity Final Rule, it occurred to me there might be concern in the part of the small business owners. Yes, the SBA is requiring stricter practices for small business owners to maintain their status but if you follow some simple best practices, you should be ahead of the game.
Annual update in SAM is required to maintain “small” designation. OF COURSE! This is basic housekeeping. In order to stay active in SAM, businesses must update annually. The change is an extension of that policy. The goal is to have businesses who want to stay involved in government contracting keep their information current including size standards. Keep your profile updated and you shouldn’t have any issue with this part of the ruling.
Native PTAC recommends businesses monitor their registrations a bit more frequently than once a year. Businesses should keep a thorough list of registrations, any registration connected to federal, state, local or tribal government contracting, certifications, licensing, etc. Initially, this may be a daunting list, but once established, it will be easy to maintain. Use the list to do a review and update every 6 months, keeping track of when the last update was, current log in information and potential future passwords. Situations change and it is inconvenient and time consuming when businesses lose their access to registrations. It is possible to regain access, but if there is a pending contract, it may delay your ability to respond and perform. If you forget to update once a year, your status will not be available until you update.
“An authorized official [will be required] to sign the small business size and status certification page” for all offers. This rule simply means that the contractor must physically sign an additional piece of paper in the offer. This is to support the Jobs Act of 2010 which requires the “signature of an authorized official on the same page on which the certification is contained” (15 U.S.C. 632(w)(3)(B)). Also as stated in the final rule, “Offerors are already required to sign their offers, bids or quotes (Standard Forms 18, 33, and 1449), so this provision does not create new reporting or recordkeeping requirements.” This part of the final rule should have little effect on the contracting process unless ‘”Authorized Official” is defined later as someone other than the person signing the offer.
Fraud… Misrepresentation of the business as small when it is not could lead to some serious penalties including repaying the contract amount to the federal government. This could also affect prime contractors who misrepresent subcontractors, or allow subcontractors to misrepresent themselves. A best practice is to stay up to date on your size and if you subcontract, require verification that mirrors these new requirements.
With a few simple best practices, small businesses can maintain their status uninterrupted for years. Well, at least until they grow to big.
If you have questions, meet with a PTAC or Native American PTAC in your area. For a comprehensive list, use the Defense Logistics Agency’s (DLA) site, the six Native American PTACs are listed at the bottom.