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25 Government Contracting Acronyms and Abbreviations Blog Feature
Stephanie Hagan

By: Stephanie Hagan on May 1st, 2023

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25 Government Contracting Acronyms and Abbreviations

Government | Contracts | 7 Min Read

In the world of government contracting, one of the most confusing elements to navigate is all the acronyms. From government agencies to GSA Schedule terms, it seems as if there's an acronym for everything--and they aren't always spelled out. As a current or prospective GSA contractor, it's important you begin to learn government jargon because these terms will come up when you submit your GSA Schedule proposal, during GSA Schedule maintenance, and when you are communicating with government buyers.

Where do you start? In an effort to help you gain an advantage in the procurement process, this blog is dedicated to listing and defining some of the most frequently used acronyms so you can either learn something new or refresh your memory. 

1. Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA):

A Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) is an agreement established by a government buyer with a Schedule contractor to fill repetitive needs for supplies or services (FAR 8.405-3). BPAs make it easier for the contractor and buyer to fill recurring needs with the customer’s specific requirements in mind.

2. Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code: 

A CAGE Code represents your company's physical address for GSA's mailings, payments, and administrative records. You must obtain a CAGE Code before you can get a GSA Schedule contract. 

3. Commercial Sales Practices (CSP): 

Commercial Sales Practices (CSP) are how contractors disclose the pricing, terms, and conditions they offer to their commercial customers. CSP are used to determine the customer class in which the lowest price is offered, and GSA will use that information to negotiate a “fair and reasonable” discount.

4. Contracting Officer (CO):

An agency official entrusted by a federal organization with the authority to enter into, administer, renew or terminate contracts, along with related determinations and findings.

5. Contractor Teaming Arrangement (CTA): 

A Contractor Teaming Arrangement (CTA) is an arrangement between two or more contractors who team up to provide a total solution to meet a government customer’s needs. It allows contractors to compete for orders they may not have qualified for independently.

6. Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC): 

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a set of cybersecurity standards implemented by the Department of Defense (DoD) to ensure a higher rate of cybersecurity compliance. CMMC ensures contractors implement the appropriate levels of cybersecurity practices and procedures needed to protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and Federal Contract Information (FCI).

7. Economic Price Adjustment (EPA):

An Economic Price Adjustment (EPA) is the process of changing prices on your GSA Schedule contract. Depending on what clause you are under (I-FSS-969 or clause 52.216-70), your prices can be automatically raised by a percentage annually, or you can change your price based off a market indicator.

8. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR):

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is the set of rules regarding government procurement.

9. Federal Acquisition Service (FAS):

The acquisition and procurement arm of the federal government. 

10. Government Accountability Office (GAO): 

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is government agency that provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for the United States Congress. The GAO is one of the main agencies contractors can file a bid protest with. 

11. General Services Administration (GSA):

The General Services Administration (GSA) is an independent agency of the United States government that helps to manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies.

12. Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC):

Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACS) are multiple-award, Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts government agencies can use to buy IT products and services more efficiently and economically. Some GWACs like Polaris and 8(a) STARS III are specifically reserved for small businesses. 

13. Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ): 

Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts provide an indefinite quantity of services for a fixed time. They are used when GSA can’t determine, the exact quantities of supplies or services that the government will need during a contract period.

14. Industrial Funding Fee (IFF):

The Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) covers GSA’s cost of operating the Federal Supply Schedules (FSS) program. The IFF is a fixed percentage (usually .75%) of reported sales under the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program. It's paid quarterly or monthly by GSA Schedule contractors. 

15. Multiple Award Schedule (MAS): 

Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) are long-term governmentwide, Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts that provide federal, state, and local government buyers commercial products and services at volume discount pricing. 

16. North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) Codes:

North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) Codes are codes used by federal statistical agencies to classify business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data. NAICS Codes can be used to determine small business status. 

17. Office of Management and Budget (OMB):

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) measures the quality of agency programs, policies, and procedures to see if they comply with the President's policies and coordinates inter-agency policy initiatives.

18. Request For Information (RFI):

A market research process agencies use to gauge interest and/or if there is a vendor who can provide a product and/or service. A procurement officer will issue an RFI prior to releasing a formal RFP/RFQ.

19. Request For Proposal (RFP):

A document that solicits a proposal by an agency interested in procurement. RFPs outline the requirements, capabilities, and solutions agencies need a contractor to fill. Once an RFP is released, contractors can bid and submit a response for a chance to win the contract.

20. Request For Quote (RFQ):

A document issued by a government agency asking for pricing and inviting contractors to join the bidding process. RFQs don't often have a whole separate technical component like an RFP and are focused around pricing quotations. 

21. System for Award Management (SAM):

The System for Award Management (SAM) is an official website of the U.S. government for people who make, receive, and manage federal awards. Contractors can use this site to register and renew their SAM profile, search for contract opportunities, research contract data, and check on wage determinations. 

22. Special Item Number (SIN):

A Special Item Number (SIN) is a category of products and services that contractors offer through their GSA Schedules. 

23. Trade Agreements Act (TAA): 

The Trade Agreements Act (TAA) determines whether foreign products and services can be sold through the federal marketplace. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) has a list of restricted countries. 

24. Transactional Data Reporting (TDR):

Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) was created to capture transactional data on procurements across all of its Federal Supply Schedules (FSS) contracts or MAS contracts, including Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs). TDR removes requirement for reporting Commercial Sales Practices information.

25. Unique Entity Identifier (UEI)

Essentially, a Unique Entity Identifier, or UEI, is a string of alphanumeric characters used to search, organize, and identify your company instead of searching by your business name. In order to do business with the government, you must register with SAM and get a UEI. Contractors used to have to register on SAM and on a third party website to receive a DUNS number, but now it's all under one system. 

Do You Have Any Questions About Government Contracting?

If you’re interested in finding out more about GSA government contracting or if you have any questions about GSA Schedules, one of our consultants would be happy to help you. Contact us today to learn how Winvale can help you acquire and maintain a GSA Schedule contract. You can also check out our blog or subscribe to our monthly newsletter for more government contracting insights. 

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About Stephanie Hagan

Stephanie Hagan is the Training and Communications Manager for Winvale. Stephanie grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and earned her Bachelor's of Arts in Journalism and Rhetoric/Communications from the University of Richmond.