What is GSA Contract Compliance?
If you’ve done any research into GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts, you’ll see one key phrase used a lot: “Contract compliance.” But what does it mean? Contracts in any sphere can be complicated, and government contracts are especially difficult, as government buyers and sellers have to abide by procurement regulations established in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Any business that holds a GSA contract or is looking to acquire one needs to be aware of the terms and conditions that are applicable to their company. Failing to be compliant with those terms and conditions can have serious consequences for your GSA contract.
We recognize that contract compliance is a continued challenge for many contractors, which is why we’ve broken down some key areas of compliance in this blog. Read further on what it means to be compliant with your GSA Schedule, how you know if you’re compliant, and what happens if you don't abide by GSA's regulations.
What Does it Mean to Be GSA Compliant?
Whether you just acquired a GSA Schedule contract, or you’ve had a GSA contract for a long time, it’s essential that you understand the actions you need to take to ensure you are properly maintaining your contract. By keeping your contract up to date and meeting those key requirements, you can ensure that your contract lasts a long time and you have a chance at continued business within the federal marketplace.
There are many factors to being GSA compliant, and it can be difficult for even the most experienced contract holders to keep up. A good place to start is the GSA Schedule Contractor Compliance Checklist, which breaks down key areas of compliance and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clause that they are sourced from. Here’s some common areas of contract compliance that every contractor should familiarize themselves with:
- Minimum Sales Requirements and Invoicing
- GSA contractors are required to make at least $25,000 in sales for the first two years of their contract, then $25,000 every year for the rest of their contract. When doing business with your GSA contract, you must ensure you are following good practices on every invoice.
- Sales Reporting and the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF)
- Contractors who are subject to Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) are required to report their sales on the 30th of every month, and contractors who are subject to Commercial Sales Practices (CSP) must report their sales every quarter. All contractors must remit the IFF quarterly, which accounts for 0.75% of all your GSA sales. GSA contractors can report their sales and pay the IFF through the FAS Sales Reporting Portal.
- Subcontracting Reporting
- GSA contractors who have a small business subcontracting plan are required to report their subcontracting numbers in the eSRS system. Contractors with an individual plan must report their Individual Subcontracting Report (ISR) on April 30th and October 30th. Contractors with a commercial plan must report their Summary Subcontracting Report (SSR) on October 30th and are required to update their commercial plan annually.
- Updating your GSA Offerings
- Contractors are required to keep their awarded offerings up to date and in line with their commercial offerings. If you need to add, delete, or otherwise adjust your offerings, you must submit a contract modification for review and approval by your contracting officer. When you get a modification awarded, make sure that you update your GSA Advantage catalog to reflect those changes. Contractors should ensure that all their offerings are in the scope of the Special Item Numbers (SINs) that they have awarded to their contract.
- Updating your Commercial Sales Practices (CSP)
- Contractors who are subject to the CSP must ensure that you update your CSP on a regular basis and you do not offer your Basis of Award (BOA) customer a higher discount than you have listed. If at any point, if you do offer a more favorable discount to your BOA, you must notify your contracting officer and reduce your GSA prices accordingly. Contractors who fail to do this are in violation of the Price Reductions Clause.
- Trade Agreements Act (TAA) Compliance
- Labor Qualifications
- Any employees that perform on federal contracts must meet the minimum education and experience requirements that were defined when the labor categories were awarded. GSA contractors may be asked to provide resumes of their employees. Employees must also be verified through the E-Verify system.
- System for Award Management (SAM) Registration
- You must update your SAM registration on an annual basis. If your SAM registration expires, you will be locked out of eMod and will be unable to make updates to your contract.
Every contract is different, and depending on your offerings and your company, additional regulations may apply. It’s important to have a good understanding of the regulations laid out in the FAR and how they affect you. Well-versed contractors should also be familiar with the General Services Acquisition Manual (GSAM) and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation (DFARs) and how key regulations apply to their contract.
It’s important to note that GSA regularly updates their terms and conditions through Mass Modifications, which all contractors are required to accept. A lot can change over the 20-year life of your contract, so you need to keep an eye on upcoming changes so you can be prepared and stay compliant.
How Do I Know if I'm GSA Compliant?
Keeping up with the various areas of contract compliance requires a great deal of diligence and knowledge of federal regulations as they apply to your contract. As part of their process to ensure that GSA contractors are compliant, GSA will conduct Contractor Assessment Visits (CAVs) to review the status of your contract. Your CAV will be conducted by your Industrial Operations Analyst (IOA). There are two types of assessments – Annual assessments and End of Term Assessments. During an Annual Assessment, the IOA will review your sales data, invoices, and pricing practices. End of Term Assessments are a bit more comprehensive, and will dive into the terms and conditions of your contract, your CSP practices, and your GSA Advantage! catalog. After the assessment has concluded, your IOA will prepare a Contractor Assessment Report card, which will summarize their findings and any recommendations they have.
If the IOA finds any discrepancies or areas of noncompliance, you will be given an opportunity to remedy them and prepare a plan to ensure the mistake is not made again in the future.
What Happens if I'm Not GSA Compliant?
If you find that you are in violation of one or more aspects of GSA contract compliance, it’s vital that you address it immediately. If an issue is found during your CAV, the IOA will give you a timeline to remedy it or pay back any fines you owe.
The consequences for not being compliant can range depending on the regulation that was violated. For example, if you fail to properly update your pricelist, or if you fail to report GSA Advantage! orders to the Purchasing Officer, your GSA Advantage! catalog could be removed. If you improperly report sales, you could face fines. Severe and repeated infractions could result in your Contracting Officer electing to not renew your contract during your option extension, or your GSA contract could be canceled outright. In the worst case, your company could face suspension or debarment.
Make Sure You Remain Compliant with Your GSA Schedule
Remaining compliant with GSA terms and conditions takes consistent effort and is one of the biggest challenges that our clients face. It’s crucial that you have a good understanding of what rules apply to you and what actions you need to take to keep your contract in good standing.
At Winvale, we have extensive practice in guiding our clients through procurement regulations and helping them keep their contracts compliant. If you need help with contract compliance, reach out to us today.