There are many software solutions on the market and some of them boast of being DCAA compliant, but several years ago, when I was on the search for a timekeeping solution for a small government contracting firm, I found that BigTime was the best of the bunch. Now, bear in mind that I was a freelance contract professional back then, and not a BigTime employee – in fact, before I was tasked to find a timekeeping solution for this small, but quickly growing firm, I’d never even thought much about timekeeping. However, this government contractor startup was thinking ahead and had a very specific list of requirements that they needed for their new timesheet software:
- It had to be “feature-rich”, that is, it needed to be more than just an online spreadsheet.
- It had to be affordable, and we’re talking about a small company with only three employees at the time, so the indirect dollar was as precious as diamonds.
- It had to be flexible, they wanted room to grow as new requirements came on board and new government and non-government customers were won.
- It had to be customizable, as there were some specific things that the owner wanted to be able to add into the system from time to time.
- It had to have reporting capability – gone were the days of hacking together excel spreadsheet columns and rows and hoping that the numbers were correct.
- It had to have the ability to be DCAA compliant.
This last requirement stopped me in my tracks. DCAA compliant? What in the world was that? So, like any freelancer worth his salt, I hit the internet and started doing research. This was way back in the day, mind you, before BigTime even had a nice, fancy blog like this one and there were no wonderful, helpful articles like: Steps to DCAA compliant timekeeping, DCAA compliance – top questions answered or Checklist for DCAA compliant time tracking software.
But, I persevered and after some expert-level Google-fu I was able to discover that there was this government agency that was all about auditing companies’ time and finance data – those guys were called DCAA (Defense Contract Audit Agency). Their job was to make sure that government contractors were complying with the rules set down in something called the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) to ensure that everything was on the level when it came to logging and approving time, correcting time (when needed) and also things like reporting on time and tracking budgets.
Frankly, that sounded like it was going to be a major pain. How was I going to find that in a software package that also met all of my other requirements? The answer: hit the bricks and test some software. After doing a first pass of down-selecting from my initial research, I started testing three different software suites: one of which was this funny-sounding software called BigTime.
I wasn’t chuckling long, however, because I soon found that this web-based timekeeping solution did everything that I needed. Not only could I specifically control who logged time on which projects, but I could also require that they enter time in the way I wanted. I could control which hours were logged as direct time vs. indirect time (what the government often refers to as billable vs. non-billable, or direct vs. overhead) without the employees having to remember which was which! I could require that notes were always entered for time, which is critical if you want to be DCAA compliant and be ready for the inevitable DCAA contract audit. Also, BigTime had an entire additional layer of software rules and processes that I could turn on to ensure that people were not logging time in the future, that every hour was approved and that every change to every timesheet hour was documented. I was pretty impressed; having a strong software design background, I was actually a little amazed.
BigTime did not disappoint in the other requirement areas as well. I was blown away by the software’s customization capability, extensive custom reporting, tons of additional features (what, we can invoice out of this, too?) and a level of flexibility that I could immediately see was going to provide solutions to several other problems the small contractor was facing.
I think it’s easy to see which solution I recommended. You can try BigTime for free to see for yourself, by clicking here.