Deltek: One tool could help agencies meet small-business targets

August 19, 2012

The federal government didn’t meet its small-business goals in fiscal 2011, but Deltek analysts expect that agencies might get closer in 2012, thanks to renewed focus by procurement officials.

The Simplified Acquisition Threshold, a government procurement method used for purchases between $3,000 and $150,000, is receiving attention from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, which recently had an independent party analyze contracts equal to or below the threshold.

The investigation found a lack of consistency in reporting this level of contract spending and made clear that many contracting opportunities and dollars are not going to small businesses.

The government is focused on tracking contract spending more effectively, which might help it figure out how and why contracts covered by the SAT are awarded to larger firms.

It won’t be a small task to unravel this, but the government is now trying to ensure that agencies put in place internal controls to track and ensure compliance.

These changes are likely to help agencies maximize the opportunities that fall at or below the SAT for small businesses, which in turn helps agencies meet their small-business goals.

There are other small-business efforts under way, including a move that allows the General Services Administration to reserve slots for small business and increased scrutiny to ensure those receiving small business status actually qualify.

The Small Business Administration has revamped the 8(a) and HUBZone programs to verify each year that companies still meet the requirements.

However, the Pentagon remains a concern. It is not among the top agencies for achieving small-business goals, but its dollars accounted for 67.53 percent of the government’s spending in fiscal 2010.

Small businesses should review spending data and small-business goal achievement data to assess which agencies offer the best opportunities.

Targeting the right customers isn’t just about which organization has the most money, but about which agencies have requirements your company can fulfill.

Dana Pinkava is a senior research analyst at Herndon-based Deltek, which conducts research on the government contracting market and can be found at www.deltek.com.

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