Reasons for Optimism
2020 has been nothing if not a memorable year for us all.
For businesses like yours and mine, it certainly has brought its fair share of trying moments.
Yet, from the conversations I’ve been having with Unanet clients in the government contractor and architecture/engineering segments, I get a strong sense that our clients generally are in a solid position to rebound in the “next normal”—whatever that ultimately ends up looking like.
All in all, I see really positive signs across our customer base of organizations finding ways to work more efficiently, which in turn is freeing their workforces to focus on two things that will help them overcome today’s business challenges: serving customers and innovating with new ideas.
On the GovCon side, organizations like The Rehancement Group and Inovex are seeing some really substantial efficiency gains now that they have a better handle on ERP. On the architecture/engineering side, M S Benbow has seen its overall profitability increase two percent in just one year as a direct result of implementing a new ERP platform—and you can probably guess whose platform that is!
Continuing with the good news, I’m excited to tell you about some of the things Unanet has in store for customers here in 2020 and beyond. We just unveiled the first enhancements to our 2020 software release, and our development team is already planning to roll out additional new features and functionalities as the year goes on.
We’ve also now released the annual GAUGE Report with our partner CohnReznick, and this year’s edition is full of original research that I know will be a valuable strategic and benchmarking tool for government contractors.
That’s not all we have percolating. As I recently shared in an interview with Mergermarket, Unanet is open to making an acquisition this year as we look to continue expanding into new verticals. If you recall, Clearview became a part of Unanet in 2019. Construction and IT professional services are two verticals where we see really strong opportunity.
We may have some news to share on that front before the year is out, so stay tuned!
Acquisition is just part of our growth strategy. We’re also investing substantially in our existing customer base by beefing up our software development and customer service teams. Now is no time to get complacent or rest on our laurels. We need to remain the industry leader in service and innovation.
And that’s exactly where we intend to maintain our focus throughout the remainder of 2020 and beyond.
The 2020 GAUGE Report is Here
The 2020 edition of The Gauge Report, the ultimate guide to growing your government contracting business, is now available. Every year, government contractors rely on the fresh research in this exclusive report from Unanet for strategic ERP guidance and benchmarking. Technology is the theme of this year’s GAUGE and we dive into how GovCon leaders need to leverage technology to best position their companies not only during this season of remote work but for the next five years. Get your free copy today.
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Unanet Releases New Analytics Capabilities for Government Contractors
Unanet has unveiled several new best-in-class features for its award-winning project-based software for government contractors (GovCons). The enhancements, announced in late July, are designed to help GovCons unlock their data for meaningful business insight and significantly improve the efficiency of their operations. They include:
- Analytics+, a new capability that provides GovCons with an array of dashboard and reporting functionality. The new analysis and reporting capabilities build upon the software’s real-time data visualization features that enable GovCons to aggregate data from multiple sources across finance, HR, and project management for automatically generated reports, including statements of cash flow. Unanet Analytics+ is a value-laden feature that is included in customers’ cloud subscription
- Analytics Studio provides GovCons with advanced analytics and custom reporting capabilities to further mine their data for real-time insight. Analytics Studio offers customers a deeper level of analysis and drill-down capabilities so they can interact dynamically with their data. Feature-rich, expert-level dashboards, including C-Suite dashboards, are embedded in Analytics Studio, and customers can further customize them for their unique business needs. This advanced feature offers additional functions, including crosstabs reports and Pixel Perfect reporting.
- Automated Invoice Attachments enables finance teams to shorten time to cash by automatically generating required or supporting documents for invoices quickly and easily, using several common attachment formats.
“Government contractors are facing challenges – from increasing competition to compliance and audits, to cybersecurity,” said Craig Halliday, CEO of Unanet. “From the C-suite to the project management level, finance to operations, our new analytics capabilities allow for better decision-making across virtually every function. Having the ability to report, analyze, and visualize data all in one ERP enhances GovCons’ understanding of their business and gives them the ability to make confident decisions.”
GovCons have high hopes for the software enhancements. “These five years with Unanet have been a great partnership and we look forward to implementing some of their new features that will continue to drive efficiency into our organization including Unanet Purchasing and Analytics,“ said Bob Deegan, Chief Financial Officer, Array Information Technology, a leading IT products and services firm. “We see Unanet as a core enabler supporting our anticipated growth over next 5 years.”
Analytics+ helps teams discover trends for business drivers, including resource allocation, revenue, costs, cash flow, and timing. This powerful tool offers role-based and permission-based reports and dashboards, so team members can easily communicate to their stakeholders with the precise and relevant information they need to do their jobs, including the metrics that matter to them. Unlike competitive products, Analytics+ is integrated into Unanet as a seamless solution with extraordinary value.
“In today’s highly fluid, dynamic business world, real-time information is more critical than ever,” continued Halliday. “Our new analytics capabilities, built upon our real-time data insight engine, are a game-changer for GovCons who can’t wait around for next week to make a decision.”
The July software release is the first in a series of enhancements that Unanet expects to unveil over the course of 2020. We’ll be sure you’re the first to know what our development team has in store to simplify life for our valued GovCon clients.
In the meantime, to learn more about the latest software enhancements, click here.
Unanet Selected to Inc. 5000 for Third Consecutive Year
Unanet, the flexible project-based ERP software purpose-built for government contractors, architecture, engineering and professional services industries, today announced it has once again been named to the prestigious Inc. 5000 list. Ranked no. 4189, this is the third consecutive year Unanet has been honored on this list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. Earlier this year Inc. also placed Unanet in the top 10% of fastest-growing private companies in the D.C. metro region.
Unanet’s success is driven largely by customer growth in the government contractor (GovCon) space, as well as the architecture and engineering (A/E) industries, via Unanet’s 2019 acquisition of Clearview Software. Unanet has been particularly successful at attracting customers that are seeking a more service-oriented ERP platform than they have been using.
“One-third of Unanet’s customers have switched to us from a competitive product, and this trend is increasing,” said Greg Guelcher, Chief Financial Officer, Unanet. “Our growth is a result of the steady investments we’ve made in our software and our team, all due to collaboration with and feedback from our customers. Our customer-first, people-oriented strategy is paying off.”
“The companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 come from nearly every realm of business,” says Inc. editor-in-chief Scott Omelianuk. “From health and software to media and hospitality, the 2020 list proves that no matter the sector, incredible growth is based on the foundations of tenacity and opportunism.”
In addition to completing the acquisition of Clearview and folding that software into its suite of solutions in 2020, Unanet has launched several new initiatives and enhancements to its award-winning ERP platform. The company has also fortified its executive staff with the additional of several experienced team members including a new Chief Customer Officer, Chief Product Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Sales.
Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000. The top 500 companies are also being featured in the September issue of Inc., available on newsstands August 12.
To learn more about Unanet, please visit www.unanet.com
We Wrote the Book on the Business of Projects. Here’s Why It’s Worth Reading
GovCon projects are a special breed. How do you manage all the moving parts of the project life cycle and keep projects on track while at the same time maintaining a firm handle on profitability and compliance?
You’ll find answers and discover the keys to unlocking greater productivity, improving operational efficiency, increasing profitability and gaining compliance confidence within and across projects in The Business of Projects, a new eBook authored by a trio of GovCon ERP experts from Unanet.
The title of the book is a bit of a misnomer. Even highly seasoned government contractors are bound to find fresh, actionable insights within the 50+ pages of The Business of Projects, which Unanet is making available as a free download. Across its eight chapters, the book spells out in detail the nature of project-based work, the concept of enterprise resource management, and how government contractors can capture new business. It also shows how enterprise resource planning opens the door to insightful analytics that guide planning, execution, and financial management.
All in all, a quick, impactful and necessary addition to your summer reading list.
Six GovCons Share Their Reasons for Choosing Unanet Over Deltek
Why Unanet instead of Deltek? It’s a question we get often from our government contracting prospects.Why Unanet instead of Deltek? It’s a question we get often from our government contracting prospects.
We like to preface our answer with a fact: Fully one-third of current Unanet customers opted to move away from Deltek, to Unanet’s ERP solution. They tried the competition’s product and for some compelling reason decided our solution would better meet their needs.
The best explanation for why so many government contractors have made the switch is that Unanet was purpose-built for government contractors — no bolt-ons, incompatible features or awkward forcing of disparate and clunky solutions. Designing purpose-built software requires an extra level of understanding of customer needs, along with a commitment to developing and refining solutions that actually enable customers to address their business challenges through smart engineering and elegant design.
In short, it’s about walking in our customers’ shoes to understand exactly what they want from an ERP solution. As one customer, Frontier Technology Inc., learned after making the switch to Unanet from Deltek, purpose-built means their new ERP is more capable at handling business needs and growth. “I have done a lot of enterprise data work, and I can see that the architecture of the Unanet system was done correctly to handle a company like ours with rapid growth,” said Tom Batty, Director of Corporate Staff Operations, Frontier Technology Inc.
Another common reason customers switch to Unanet is the real-time data management and access it offers. Too often solutions that were cobbled together take extra steps, additional credentials, and even require two different systems to find one specific data point. Information doesn’t flow through from one point to another. Unanet’s GovCon and A/E solutions deliver real-time information that’s been completely synthesized automatically, giving companies one single source of truth. This creates incredible efficiencies and saves customers time. Just ask Chantelle Miner, Financial Controller for Magnolia River, who, after her firm made the move to Unanet from Deltek, said, “Having the real-time data makes us so much more efficient. The time that we have saved on invoicing alone has been dramatic.”
Purpose-built software with real-time data are two critical reasons customers made the switch to Unanet, but the third is probably the reason we hear the most: Unanet’s service.The people of Unanet are dedicated to serving our customers. From your first interaction, to implementation, to training, to ongoing maintenance and updates, Unanet prides itself on treating our customers with friendly, knowledgeable service. Through Unanet University, we provide highly relevant training, market insight, and expertise to keep customers apprised of what’s happening in their industries that may affect things like their financial management, regulations, and human resources. We treat our customers with respect each and every time, and add value in every interaction. David Baker, President of the Rehancement Group, another company that made the switch to Unanet from Deltek, said, “We are no longer at odds with our software provider. We have a true partner who is there to ensure our success.”
To learn more about what motivated these government contracting organizations to make the switch to Unanet, and the benefits they have realized as a result, check out these case studies:
An Up-Close Look at DCAA’s Ambitious Audit Plans for 2020
Government contractors, prepare for closer scrutiny from the Defense Contract Audit Agency in fiscal 2020 and beyond.Government contractors, prepare for closer scrutiny from the Defense Contract Audit Agency in fiscal 2020 and beyond.
Having cleared its longstanding audit backlog, the DCAA has returned to performing a full range of audits, the agency’s director, Anita F. Bales, declared in a recent letter to the U.S. Congress. In fiscal 2019, the DCAA “focused more effort on other audits such as business systems, Truth in Negotiation Act, Cost Accounting Standards, and labor and material reviews,” she said in the letter, which accompanied a report summarizing the agency’s activities last fiscal year. “We also successfully met the Congressional requirement to complete incurred cost audits within one year of adequate submission as well as contracted with seven independent public accounting (IPA) firms to perform 101 incurred cost audits.”
The DCAA’s renewed commitment to timely audits is expected to continue in the current (2020) fiscal year, putting the onus on government contractors to prepare for a busy compliance season. In particular, DCAA said it “prioritizes the audits that pose greatest risk to the government,” namely contracts that “involve significant costs, significant audit findings in the past, or circumstances that reduce the incentive to control costs, such as those inherent in cost-type of contracts.” Here’s what the agency says about various types of audits:
- Incurred cost audits “continue to be a priority to meet both the adequacy review (60 days) and completion (12 months) timelines.”
- Forward pricing audits “net the highest rate of return and are time sensitive because to be of value they must be completed before contract negotiations.”
- Special audits are prioritized in coordination with contracting officer needs.
- Other audits become a high priority “when DCAA or the contracting officer identifies a high-risk area such as inadequate business systems. DCAA assigns priority to additional audits based on individual contract and audit risks to the government.”
To maintain timeliness with its audits and prevent another backlog, the DCAA indicated it plans to continue using IPA firms to conduct select incurred cost audits. To support a more aggressive audit caseload, the DCAA said it is focusing on recruiting, developing and retaining high-quality auditors and support staff, such as with hiring events and internship programs aimed at bringing college students into the fold and grooming them to become full-time employees.
As it ramps up its caseload, the DCAA also has increased its industry outreach. In July 2019, it adopted the materiality guidelines from DoD’s Professional Practice Guide to “help oversight professionals plan their work and provide the information contracting officers need to make reasonable business decisions.” The agency also has been regularly engaging with industry groups, resulting in a proposed FAR change and improvements to the incurred cost electronic (ICE) model. It also is working with the acquisition community to mitigate the risks associated with using Other Transaction Agreements, or OTAs. The goal: ensure cost reasonableness “without hindering the speed that makes OTAs so valuable.”
Moving forward, expect the emphasis on Truth in Negotiation Act audits to continue. The DCAA said it is stepping up efforts to train and educate its staff about TIN audits, and that beginning in fiscal 2020, its field audit offices will join its headquarters TIN team in conducting TIN audits. ”These collaborative, proactive efforts are vital as DCAA will double the number of hours dedicated to these audits in FY 2020.”
Also expect the DCAA to continue to leverage technology — data analytics, “intelligent documents,” etc. — as it moves away from outdated Excel and Word-based audit tools.Looking ahead to fiscal 2020 and beyond, DCAA said it expects to “move away from complex, specialized audits performed by dedicated teams, like TIN and business systems, to performing these audits with our FAO staff.”
The agency also plans to finalize its strategic plan in FY 2020, meaning more changes to audit processes and procedures could be forthcoming. We closely monitor the DCAA here at Unanet, so stay tuned to this space for updates.
For an up-close look at DCAA and exactly what it takes for GovCons to comply with it, check out Unanet’s free white paper here.
As Cyber Threats Persist, So Does DoD’s Push to Implement CMMC
The persistence of cybercrime during the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been lost on the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), which appears intent to keep to its aggressive schedule for implementing a new set of tighter cybersecurity standards that defense contractors must meet in order to be considered for DoD contracts.
Even as the COVID-19 crisis has forced DoD to delay the pending DFARS rule change that would make CMMC the standard for government contractor cybersecurity, the agency is committed to moving forward with its ambitious timeline for implementing CMMC and building out the infrastructure to support it, according to an article written by Unanet’s govcon compliance guru Kim Koster and posted on GovConWire.com.
Observers who have been closely tracking development and implementation of the CMMC say they expect the first RFIs (requests for information) with the CMMC requirement to be issued sometime this summer (delayed from late spring), while RFPs with the CMMC requirement are likely to be issued starting in late fall or early winter 2020, provided conditions related to the pandemic don’t cause further delays.
Although as of this writing no individuals or entities had been approved to certify government contractors to the new CMMC standard, officials from Cherry Bekaert, a firm that advises government contractors on their compliance programs, are strongly recommending that contractors that do business with the DoD immediately begin the compliance process, particularly if they want to gain CMMC certification by the end of 2020.
“The lack of accredited certifying bodies shouldn’t stop organizations from taking necessary steps now to get where they need to be,” Neal W. Beggan, Principal, Risk Assurance and Advisory Services at Cherry Bekaert, told the audience during a recent webcast about CMMC. Recent guidance from DoD suggests the certification process will take at least six months, he noted.
The CMMC model is designed to protect sensitive information along the DoD supply chain. It prescribes best practices to which contractors must document adherence in order to get CMMC-certified to one of the framework’s five levels of cybersecurity.
To learn more about the CMMC model and strategies to help government contractors comply with it, download Unanet’s recent white paper here.
Attaching Documents to an Invoice
You deserve maximum impact from your ERP solution, and the ERP Toolbox is here to help. The question for this edition of the toolbox:
How do I go about attaching detailed expense receipts, and time and expense status records, to my customer invoices?
With Unanet GovCon, you can now utilize the power of automated invoices, allowing you to speed up and streamline your invoicing experience. Ultimately, you get all the information you need to present to your customer right at your fingertips in a single customer package, with details of each expense report, timesheet and detailed receipts included in the invoice. Here’s how to go about it:
After the invoice is generated and the edit pencil icon is selected to edit the invoice, select the Attachments option in the left menu. There are items contained here for Expense Receipts and Invoice.
- Upon selecting Expense Receipts, a listing of attachments is displayed. Each line item shows the associated EXPENSE REPORT number, the FILE NAME, the FILE SIZE, the associated PROJECT(s), and whether or not to EMAIL WITH INVOICE.
- Select the check box in the EMAIL WITH INVOICE column to have the attachment included as supporting information with the invoice. Clear the check box for any attachments that don’t need to be included with the invoice.
This feature may also be used as a discovery tool in finding required missing attachments for an invoice. The user could then add the missing attachment without the invoice being deleted, or the expense report being voided and recreated. Once added, use the Refresh expense receipts link in the upper right corner to refresh the list and ensure the added attachment is included.
When all required attachments have been uploaded, select Invoice (under Attachments) in the left menu.
- Select Preview Expense Reportsto see the supporting information to be included with the invoice. Details are presented as a modified version of the Expense Status Report. Expense report information and the attached receipts are viewable here. Information is presented in images and/or PDF format.
- Click the icon in the upper right corner to download the file to your system. This will be a PDF containing your expense information.
- Under Invoice in the left menu, click Choose File and navigate to the downloaded expense PDF.
- Select the file, click Opento upload it as an attachment to the invoice. Click Save.
There is also a link under Invoice to Preview Timesheets. Details are presented as a modified version of the Timesheet Status Report. This link functions exactly the same as Preview Expense Reports, though without attachments.
- You can review the timesheet information, download it as a PDF, and then upload the PDF as an attachment to your invoice. The result is a complete invoice package with PDF attachments containing detailed expense and timesheet information.
- Click Back to List and you’ll see the Invoice displayed with the paper clip icon denoting attachments. The invoice can then be completed under List Invoices. On the Search tab, select the appropriate criteria, and choose E-mail all selected invoices, then select the List
- When the list is displayed, select the check box for the invoice and click E-mail.
- An intermediate page is displayed showing the invoice being processed and its associated attachments. Click E-mailto complete the process. An email is generated with the invoice PDF and its attachments.
Follow these steps and you’re on your way to saving time and improving the accuracy of your invoices.
Have a question about a specific feature or functionality of Unanet GovCon, or about a certain aspect of ERP? Submit your question here and get an answer from a Unanet expert.
Resources, News, & Events
Free to you and ready to move the needle for your government contracting organization:
- In our blog, we share insightful articles to help you navigate industry changes and learn how to grow your business. Subscribe to our blog and never miss an update.
- On-demand webinar: Preparing for the CMMC, co-hosted with Cherry Beckhart. A deep dive into the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) and what it means for government contractors like you. Check it out here.
- On-demand webinar: You’ve Had Success, Now What? Government Contracting Insights and Pitfalls. This webcast will help government contractors navigate the trickiest regulations, provide best practices for an adequate accounting system, and offer strategic tips for growing your GovCon business. Check it out here.
- Unanet in the news: The Unanet 20.2 release has been featured in Enterprise Times, Potomac Tech Wire, ExecutiveGov, ExecutiveBiz, and more. Check out our news page to learn more.
Latest Unanet GovCon Release
Unanet 20.2 helps government contractors (GovCons) unlock their data for meaningful business insight and significantly improve the efficiency of their operations. The new features are Analytics+, Analytics Studio and Automated Invoice Attachments.