Unanet Customer Ventera Garners Inc. Magazine Spotlight with Insight Into Potential Government Shutdown

Ventera’s CFO sheds light on how GovCons can prepare for an interruption in work orders, payments and processes

4 minute read

As a leading consultancy to government agencies, Reston, Virginia-based Ventera has proven it can successfully navigate a highly complex bureaucracy. The growing firm of about 275 employees has built a thriving business with thoughtful management, strategic expansion, and intelligent innovation (with the help of Unanet’s Project Portfolio Financials ERP software). Along the way, it has landed a host of new business, including a recent contract award with an estimated value of $50 million, while earning accolades like a Top Workplace distinction from the Washington Post.

But even firms as well managed as Ventera could soon face a formidable challenge: surviving a potential U.S. government shutdown as federal lawmakers debate how to navigate an encounter with the debt ceiling.

Government shutdowns are nothing new; our country has muddled through three in the last five years. But firms like Ventera that depend on federal contracts for much of their business face an existential crisis when the U.S. government shuts down. Suddenly the fate of contracts, employees and a firm’s overall financial well-being are in doubt.

The most effective counter to that uncertainty is proactive planning, Ventera CFO Hugh Shaw says in comments featured in a recent Inc. Magazine article. With advance preparation, he tells Inc., government contractors can minimize the impact of a government shutdown.

The tips Shaw offers in the article echo the guidance that Unanet’s in-house government contracting subject-matter experts have been providing to our GovCon customers as talk of a possible government shutdown has intensified. Among the counsel they have been offering:

o   Analyze and become familiar with the funding status of each open contract. If a government agency’s contracting officers can or will talk with you, connect with them to discuss each contract so your firm understands exactly how a shutdown may affect your deliverables and cashflow.

o   Make staffing contingency plans. Start thinking about ways staffers who could be idled during a shutdown can be redirected to other projects, or help support a strategic internal project. If necessary, create a plan for furloughing select employees.

o   Evaluate cash flow and consider available options. Cash flow tends to be one of the biggest stressors for GovCons in a shutdown scenario. So, analyze your firm’s cash flow and available resources, then evaluate whether a bridge loan or short-term financing may be necessary.

o   Prioritize open communications. Employees, particularly those who may be redirected or furloughed, need clear, detailed and transparent communications from firm leadership about how their jobs, benefits and work could change. The same holds true for vendors, partners and commercial customers, who may have uncertainty about your firm’s status.

o   Segregate costs associated with contract funding shortfalls so your firm can recoup costs if recoverable. Detailed reporting about expenses, resources, invoicing and financing can help your firm easily determine which costs and fees are associated with specific projects. When a government shutdown ends, costs and interest on delayed payments are often recoverable, but only if you have the right data to support them.

"It's the unknown that we're all trying to navigate, so it makes us nervous,” Ventera’s Shaw says in the Inc. Magazine article. The better handle that firms have on their project data, the more advance preparation they put in, and the more transparent they are with their people and partners, the better positioned they ultimately will be to weather a government shutdown, should one occur.

Unanet’s GovCon ERP and CRM solutions are purpose-built to support government contractors through difficult circumstances such as these. While none of us can predict what the future will hold, Unanet’s commitment to our customers is to stand behind them not only with best-in-class technology tools, but also with timely, accessible customer support, so they gain peace of mind even in the most uncertain of times.

Read more how Unanet customer Ventera and others are preparing for a potential government shutdown in this Inc. Magazine article: https://www.inc.com/melissa-angell/the-debt-ceiling-has-federal-contractors-on-edge.html