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August 29, 2014

Updates on Executive Compensation and Government Contracts

In 2009, the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department joined to impose limits on executive pay in public companies and government regulated institutions. It was a move by then Chairman Ben Bernanke to prevent banks from “rewarding employees for actions that could endanger the firms’ long-term financial health.” This motivated organizations to develop new compensation methods not covered by the cap in a move to avoid compensation rules that are commonplace in most of Europe.

According the Capital Edge Consulting Winter, 2014 newsletter, “The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (BBA) were both recently signed into law…include significant and conflicting changes to the ceiling amount.  Both pieces of legislation eliminate Title 41 Section 1127, removing the authority to set Government contractor compensation ceilings…Each Act also establishes applicability date as …’compensation costs incurred on contracts…entered into on or after…180 days after the date of enactment…’ Each act also provides that the ceiling will be will be adjusted annually using the Bureau of Labor Statistics Economic Cost Index for total compensation for private industry, by occupational and industry group. However, the NDAA sets the 2014 base year cap at $625,000; and the BBA sets the base year cap at $487,000.  We have received information through our contacts that the $487,000 cap will be enforced.”

In a recent newsletter, FedGovContracts.com explains, “This limit applies to all contractor employees on contracts with the Department of Defense (DOD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Coast Guard. For all other federal agencies, this limit applies to ‘the five most highly compensated employees in management positions at each home office and each segment of the contractor.’ While the statute places a cap on the amount that the government will reimburse the contractor, it does not limit the amount of compensation that the contractor actually pays its employees. Contractors can provide compensation to their employees that exceed the compensation benchmark amount.”

Fears from some are that these rules will undermine employee morale and prevent contractors’ abilities to hire the best talent.

If you have concerns or questions about Executive Compensation, contact us here at Financial Engineering Counselors, Ltd.

August 22, 2014

Small Businesses and Government Contracts

Small businesses often have difficulties getting started and earning revenue. Many owners are highly ambitious and wish to establish governmental contracts immediately. However, if the small business is unknown, the government is less likely to accept the proposal. Despite this knowledge, the relationship between small businesses and government contracts is interactive.

Before the Proposal

Thus, it is important to be aware of the areas that are regulated by the government. For instance, the government has established policies relating to executive compensation, advertising, employment and labor, the environment, safety and health, and privacy. With a working knowledge of these areas, it is more likely that the proposal will be accepted. Furthermore, it is essential that the subcontractor be fully qualified to undertake the project.

During the Proposal

Now that research has been done regarding governmental regulations and within the contract needs itself, it is time to create the proposal. New small businesses may wish to engage in subcontracting in order to become initiated within the world of government contracting. With successful subcontracting, it is more likely that larger government contract proposals will be accepted.

After the Proposal

It is time to play the waiting game. Your part is done. Now it is time for the government to do its part, which involves evaluating all bids and selecting the most qualified contractor. However, by completing effective research, it is more likely that your bid will be accepted.

To increase your chances of a winning bid, contact us today to discuss how we can help you.

August 15, 2014

What is a credit default swap?

During the 2008 crisis, investment banks were underwriting credit default swaps. Credit default swaps are a type of credit derivative that have become a very powerful force in the world market. According to Investopdia, at the height of the financial crisis the market for credit default swaps  was valued at $24.8 trillion.

 Investopedia defines a credit default swap as, “A swap designed to transfer the credit exposure of fixed income products between parties.” In other words these securities allow the transfer of default risk from one party to another. In layman’s terms they transfer default risk from one party to another. While swaps can mitigate risk, they can also consolidate risk.  The investopedia article goes on to state,  “the risk of default is transferred from the holder of the fixed income security to the seller of the swap” In other words the risk of default on a mortgage, for example, is transferred from the holder of a mortgage to the seller of a swap. While credit default swaps are well known for being written on mortgages, they can also be written on bonds and corporate debt. The function however remains the same: to transfer credit risk. In this way a credit default swap is similar to insurance. The buyer of the credit default swap transfers the risk of default from him/herself to the buyer of the swap. In the case of default to seller of the swap must deliver the value of the principal plus the value of any interest payments.

These financial instruments can be written on many different types of debt securities.  They can be written on bonds, mortgages, corporate debt and mortgage backed securities.

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August 8, 2014

Alternative Financing to Help Sustain Growth

Working with lenders comes with restrictions. Many traditional lenders are unwavering and unable to accommodate the personal and business needs necessary to sustain growth. Consider alternative financing opportunities when weighing your lending options. Here are a few areas worth exploring.

Payroll Finance: Payroll Financing is an option that does not take out a loan or put a small business in debt. Instead, this avenue allows business owners to borrow against future income from a projected project. It works by selling approved invoices to a lending company at a discounted rate. As a result, business owners can proceed with a scheduled payroll without accumulating debt.

Asset Based Lending: Asset based lending options is a loan taken out that is secured by the value of an asset. However, if not paid in full, the asset is taken by the lender. Like with many mortgages, lenders will front money with an asset as collateral. It is important to note, in many instances, asset lending loans are usually accompanied with lower interest rates.

Purchase Order Financing: In many businesses, money is needed upfront to fill a purchase. However, there are times when the funding for the project is not available. Purchase Order Financing allows you to take a loan on the supplies needed to complete an order, and in turn, the lender seeks out payment directly from the client.

Equipment Financing: Equipment matters to the function of a business as well as to its branding. Before using your working capital or tapping into your business line credit, consider Equipment Financing as an avenue to gain necessary workforce equipment without running into debt. Many equipment financing and leasing options are built with structure and can be worked into your companies budget taking into consideration business, accounting tax specifications.

SBA Loans: SBA loans are backed and guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. Small businesses are eligible, which is offered through private-sector lenders with reasonable terms.

“Crowd-Sourcing”: Crowd-Sourcing eliminates the services traditionally obtained through suppliers and employees. Instead, in many cases, solicitations from a larger group of individuals is used to raise funds or to perform company-wide functions.

Small business owners carry a unique set of challenges when it comes to lending options. The traditional financing avenues granted to many corporations are void in the private-sector workforce. Consider alternative financing options to help prevent debt and heighten growth.

For more information on financing options or about the services provided by Financial Engineering Counselors Ltd., please contact us.

August 1, 2014

Alternative Financing: How to Maximize Your Chances of Securing an SBA Loan

Securing the financing you need to grow your small business can be a challenge:  over the past decade, banks have increased lending to big business by 36%, but over the same period, bank lending to small businesses has declined by almost 15%, and loans of less than $100,000 have dropped precipitously by more than 33%.

Fortunately, small businesses can find alternative financing sources, including a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. There are several different types of SBA loans, including:

Be sure to check which type of loan is right for your needs before beginning the application process.

SBA loans have been around for more than 60 years.  These loans, which were established to promote small business growth, typically have lower interest rates and monthly loan payments.

Unfortunately, the process of applying for an SBA loan can be complicated and it can take a long time to complete the process.  Once you do, there can also be an extended period of time before you actually obtain your funding.  You can speed up the approval process by observing some simple guidelines.  Here are 5 you need to be aware of:

1.  Your credit rating counts:  good credit is important for any loan, and that includes SBA loans.  Follow good-credit rules, like being sure to pay your bills before the deadlines.  Obviously, you’ll want to avoid credit-killing actions like foreclosures and bankruptcies.

2.  Keep your financial documents up to date and organized:  this includes all of your financial and accounting documents, as well as your tax records.  You might consider using some good accounting software designed for small business if you don’t already to bring greater organization to your records. Having your financial records organized and accessible will move the process along more quickly.

3. Spell out the purpose of the loan as clearly as possible:  lenders want to know that you’re a good loan risk, and that means they’ll be interested in what you plan to do with the money. Take the time to outline this in the clearest possible fashion, whether your loan is to add vehicles to your sales fleet or expand the size of your brick & mortar store.

4. Explain how you’ll pay back the loan:  you’ll need to demonstrate that you have good cash flow. You can do this through your most recent tax records.  Lenders will also want to know how much other debt you have.  If the loan is for a start-up business, you should pull together a smart financial plan and include credible projections which demonstrate your ability to make your monthly payments.

5. Be prepared to describe your history:  lenders will want to know about your finances, but they’ll also be interested in whether you personally are a good risk. That has to do with your relevant experience, how much time you’ve been in business and the degree of professional success you’ve had.

Applying for any loan, whether traditional or through alternative financing, can be confusing.  The good news is that there are experienced professionals who can walk you through the process, answer your questions and maximize your chances of success through long-standing partnerships with banks, finance companies and professional service firms.

To learn more about the best financing options for your business, contact us today.

July 24, 2014

Necessary Finance: Keeping Down Your Business Costs

Filed under: business funding,cash flow,credit score tips — admin @ 11:44 PM

Finance is one of the most important words involved with your business. If your finances are low, you are on your toes about where to go and what to do next; when your finances are high, everything seems easier and you don’t feel stressed as easily. If something like this is so important, wouldn’t it be great to read up on some tips on making your finances grow? How about we start by telling you how to make your bills shrink, ending up with a direct increase to your cash flow?

One of the best places to start finding out ways to reduce spending is to evaluate all the things the money that you earn, for and from your business, buys. If you are buying anything that is not necessary to the advancement of your business, you may just have to put a stop to it. If it was a one time purchase, you may end up needing to sell it.

When you evaluate your spending habits, try to find a way to purchase things at a smaller price or find them for free somewhere like freecycle or Craigslist. This system can help in large and small ways. If you aren’t sure whether or not this would be a help for your business, try it out for one month and document the results. If there isn’t really a significant difference in your spending, think up others ways to help, such as finding volunteers or someone who will help get the job done for a lesser price.

When considering what to do for the decorating of the interior of your business, try searching for creative ideas on Pinterest. This will often save much time and money, and be a big help for making your business trendy as well as homey.

For more information on how to help your business’ finances expand and be spent more efficiently, please feel free to contact us. Thanks, we look forward to hearing from you!

July 18, 2014

Handling Government Cash Flow Correctly

One of the most important aspects of creating and managing a successful business is maintaining cash flow. This is especially essential for government contractors who operate in high growth environments. Properly managing cash flow and budgeting can help achieve goals for growth. It should be a priority for every government contractor business.

Contractors Not Getting Paid

According to an article from J.D. Harrison of the Washington Post, the General Services Administration has failed to fully pay 1,334 federal contractors, shorting them by more than $3 million since 2008, according to a House committee report. The agency did not fulfill a “guaranteed minimum payment” clause outlined in many of its contracts, the report said.

Timely Payments

One of the major factors that impacts a government contractor’s cash flow is receiving payment on time. Government entities usually have sufficient funds to pay their expenses. A contractor will get paid on time if they correctly submit an invoice. The challenge is following all of the governments rules and regulations for submitting invoices. They can have very detailed and specific requirements that must be followed. Some contracting companies have a position designated to make certain all rules and regulations involved with invoicing the government are followed.

Central Contractor Registration System

This is currently referred to as the System for Award Management. If a government contractor is not correctly registered with this system, they will struggle to receive payment. All invoices submitted to the government won’t be processed. Specific types of invoicing requirements must be met. A Dunn & Bradstreet Number as well as the contractor’s Taxpayer Identification number and more may need to be on the invoice. Many new government contractors have problems providing all the information requested on their invoices. They must follow the procedure for their invoices to be completed.

Online Invoicing

Today, most invoicing by government contractors is done online. Many utilize the Wide Area Workflow (WAWF) system. Those who use it realize this is a very detailed and challenging system for beginners. WAWF is known for not being easy to navigate. The information required must be entered correctly. Any small error during the data entry process could cause an invoice to be rejected, and payment to be delayed. Most government contractors hire people experienced with using this system. It will have a positive effect on the company’s cash flow.

If you would like to know more about how best to handle government cash flow, we can help. Please contact us with any and all questions pertaining to a government contractor’s cash flow.

July 11, 2014

Your Small Business Won’t Win Government Contracts Without These Essentials

Every small business owner knows that winning a government contract is an almost sure-fire way to make it onto the business fast track, but breaking into the government contract market is much harder for small businesses than it appears at first glance. In fact only 22.5% of government contracts go to small businesses. To squeeze your business into that undersized percentage, you have to come prepared to battle against much larger competitors. In order to do that, you need to make sure your small business has these ducks in a row:

Pay to Play: You Need To Spend More Than You Think

Small businesses that succeed in landing government contracts spend around $130,000 to prepare their company for going after these lucrative opportunities. These kinds of numbers can be hard to swallow for many small business owners, but for the brave few willing to make that kind of investment, that initial spending can be earned back many times over. These preparation costs are one of the main reasons the majority of government contracts go to large firms with deep pockets.

Adapt or Fail: You Need To Be Able To Sell What Governments Are Buying

If you want to break into government contracting and all the financial benefits that come along with it, then you need to use one of the biggest strengths available to small businesses: Adaptability. Your smaller size allows you much more flexibility to fine tune your offerings to exactly what a government contract is looking for. Being willing to majorly shake up your business to aggressively pursue a lucrative contract can make all the difference in the long run. You don’t have a lot of advantages over your larger competitors, but this is a major one. Use it as much as you can.

If you want more information on how your small business can prepare to win lucrative government contracts, then contact us today.

July 4, 2014

The World of Government Contractors

The size of the U.S. Federal government has grown dramatically in recent years. The increased size of government means services of the government contracting industry are in greater demand than ever before. There has been a slight decrease recently, but the services provided by government contractors remain in high demand.

Talent

One way for a government contractor to stand out from the competition is by having a highly skilled workforce. There will always be a need for workers with advanced educations, who can qualify for top-secret security clearances. The recruiting of such talent is a challenge. A contractor must compete with other contractors as well as the federal government. This is usually done by offering unique work experience opportunities. as well as competitive compensation packages and more.

Subcontracting

Unless required by a specific contract, a government contractor needs to explore all possible sales opportunities. Depending on the service they provide, a government contractor may also be able to work with governments on the state and local level. These smaller entities may not be able to provide the same level of income as the federal government, but they can be a very dependable source of revenue.

Network

When a government contractor has a good situation with one department of the government, they should ask what other department they should approach. One department may work in conjunction with several others. Discovering what departments of a government system can use a contractor’s services is essential. Developing positive relationships with as many procurement officers as possible is important.

Government Procurement Consultants

The procedure to submit a bid for a government contract can be overwhelming. The requirements to submit for a single contract can be a hundred pages or more. Making the mistake of not following just one of their rules, could easily disqualify a government contractor’s bid. Some companies use a government procurement consultants to help them successfully navigate the bidding process. In many cases, their consulting fees can cut into a thin profit margin. The knowledge and experience they provide can be learned for future contracts.

Accounting System

Some companies are surprised when they receive their first government contract. They realize it’s important to have a new accounting system. When a business tries to follow the accounting rules set forth for private business, they may feel it’s complicated. Accounting for a government contract is even more complex. A government contractor has to follow even more rules and regulations designed to prevent any type of scandal or corruption. This is why many government contractors employ the services of companies who have experience handling the government’s accounting requirements. They have the knowledge and experience to make compliance easy.

If you would like to know more about the benefits of being a government contractor we can help. Contact us today and learn more.

June 27, 2014

Small Business Lending: the Help and Hope You Need

There are all kinds of ways to get money to help the start up of your small business. One of the sure fire ways to get it going is through the use of small business lending. You could also go the route of getting people to support you, who aren’t looking for any return, but those people are few and far between.

Even if you are able to find some of these people to support you, you are still likely going to need a loan to get you through until your business is up and running. All the things that you’ve learned about running a business in school, or during everyday life, are now going to be put to the test.

For instance, how much is a good amount to ask for when applying for a loan? What will you need to cover? You will need to take out enough money to cover the utilities for the amount of months it will take you to start earning the money to pay off the loan. You will have to have a written plan with which you take into account how much it will cost to run your business on a daily basis altogether. And every time you earn money, you must write down the amount, and how much will go to pay off your loan and how much will be used for other necessities.

Since your loan is given to you for a certain amount of time, it’s best to start paying it back as soon as possible, so that you can come to to point of owing nothing as soon as possible. That is when you will begin to make a profit. That is when your business has become a success.

All because someone made it possible for you to have the money to pursue your dream. All because you had the dream. All because there was a kind of courage instilled in you by God, to make the choice to let nothing stop you from dreaming big. That is why you are a success.

For more information, please feel free to contact us. Thank you!

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