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If a contractor has received a contract containing the Allowable Cost and Payment clause (FAR 52.216-7), the clause requires preparation of an Indirect Cost Rate Proposal (ICRP).  The clause is applicable to all cost-type contracts.  The proposal also goes by the following industry names “Incurred Cost Proposal” (ICP) and “Incurred Cost Submission” (ICS).  The proposal is prepared using the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) Incurred Cost Electronic (ICE) Model (DCAA > Customers > Checklists & Tools > ICE Model) and is due  six months after the contractor’s fiscal year end.

Under cost-type contracts, contractors utilize a provisional billing rate throughout the year.  The intention of the Incurred Cost Proposal is to true-up a contractor’s provisional billing rate to actual under its cost-type contracts. The actual rate is compared to what was billed and the calculated over/underbill is either credited back to the government or invoiced, respectively.

The proposal includes a series of Schedules from Schedule A through O, including Supplemental Schedules.  Some of the more impactful Schedules Include Schedule A Summary of Indirect Rates, Schedule H Summary of Direct Contract Costs, and Schedule I Cumulative Costs Claimed & Billed.

Upon completion, the Incurred Cost Proposal is submitted to DCAA and your Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO) for audit.  DCAA uses an Incurred Cost Submission Adequacy Checklist (DCAA > Customers > Checklists & Tools > Incurred Cost Submission Adequacy Checklist) to determine if the submission is adequate for audit.  Upon acceptance, DCAA may audit the submission for compliance including accuracy of rate calculations and applications.  This is the most frequent audit performed by DCAA year over year.  Their findings routinely center on unallowable costs pursuant to FAR 31 and exceptions to exceptions to cost accounting practices used by contractors.

The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) maintains multiple audit programs to monitor and verify government contractor compliance.  DCAA audit programs may occur before, after, or during contract performance through Preaward Audits, Postaward Audits, and Contractor Business System Audits. DCAA is chartered with identifying and evaluating all activities that contribute to or impact proposed or incurred costs of Government contracts.

DCAA’s major areas of emphasis include: DFARS Business Systems such as Accounting Systems, Estimating Systems, and Purchasing Systems; management policies and procedures; accuracy of contractor forward pricing and incurred cost representations; adequacy and reliability of records and accounting systems; and contract compliance with contractual provisions having accounting or financial significance such as the FAR Cost Principles (FAR Part 31), the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), and clauses pertaining to the Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA).

The timing of DCAA’s audit will depend on the risk profile of your organization and its contracts.  DCAA uses a variety of risk assessment tools to determine which areas of regulatory risk warrant audit attention.  In addition, Contracting Officers have very broad discretion as to where audit resources should be deployed.

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