Last updated May 5th, 2022
The DCAA is here to prevent fraud and waste. Of course, all firms value the concepts of no waste or falsy recorded time, but it can be hard to ensure in practice for all projects.
Timekeeping for government contractors can be especially difficult as it comes with its own set of rules. DCAA compliant timekeeping requires businesses to be diligent in their record-keeping, but it can be a process easily implemented into your existing workflows as long as your time tracking and accounting software are configured correctly.
Although it can be overwhelming, when tackled one step at a time, DCAA compliant time tracking can become less tedious and help avoid large penalties for your firm.
DCAA Timekeeping Guidelines
The following list includes the required guidelines for all government contractors as instructed by DCAA, and ways a timekeeping software can ensure they’re followed.
1. Start with Documentation
A formal policy or procedure document detailing the steps for accurate timekeeping must be provided to all employees, including those who are not directly working on the government project. Everyone must also receive a formal or informal review time-tracking training annually to stay up to date.
Tech Tip: Having a universal DCAA compliant timekeeping software used by everyone in the company prevents anyone being left out from following the policies or trying to re-create their own system in a spreadsheet that may lead to errors.
2. Daily Time Keeping Only
All DCAA timesheets must be submitted daily for the highest accuracy. Timesheets that are submitted at the end of the week, or in advance are not considered accurate or compliant.
3. All Hours Accounted For
In addition to time being tracked daily, no hours can be left behind. Every hour of the workday must be recorded including any leave time - vacation, holiday, or sick days.
Tech Tip: Timekeeping software can be configured to block out late or advance time entry and prevent timesheets with errors from being submitted. This way workers are held accountable to follow the rules and have the appropriate amount of hours each week.
4. Follow the Project Codes
Entering time to the right project with the correct label is just as important as the time being entered. The system administrator or finance team must initiate the set up of proper job codes and names, and authorize the appropriate employees per project. Time spent working outside of the dedicated project must also be allocated to the appropriate place rather than left unaccounted for.
Tech Tip: Integrate your time tracking and accounting software to ensure project names and codes are consistent across the systems and save administrators the time and hassle of double data entry.
5. Get Approval
All submitted time must be reviewed and approved by the employee’s supervisor. Remember for government contractors all submitted timesheets become a legal document so reviews and approvals are crucial.
Tech Tip: Cut down on the time spent sending emails by setting up automated approval processes within your time tracking software. Approvers get a notification automatically within the app or in their inbox.
Any corrections can only be made by the employee and need to be approved again by the supervisor. If for unforeseen reasons the employee cannot make the changes themselves, then the accounting team or the administrator can make the changes with the employee’s consent.
7. Stay on Top of It
All company timesheets and all corrections must be kept for at least 2 years. Government contract projects specifically must be kept for audit purposes for 3 years after the final payment.
Tech Tip: Relying on cloud-based DCAA compliant timesheet software is the safest way to ensure your timesheets will be kept and protected. Storing files on a local hard drive or in printed format is a higher risk of them being damaged, misplaced, or lost.
Additional DCAA Timekeeping Rules
If you decide to implement a DCAA compliant time tracking system to assist in keeping your people and projects within these guidelines listed above, there are a few additional requirements:
- Passwords & Personal Access - The software needs to require a unique password for every user to access and control their own timesheets; passwords must be updated every 6 months.
- Audit Trail - Your software must produce a clear audit trail that records all transactions within the system itself and the accounting system.
- Record Edits - If changes are made to a user’s timesheet, the system needs to provide a notes section detailing why the record was altered.
- Approval - The system must have an approval workflow in place to ensure that a user’s timesheet is approved by the right person.
To learn more about BigTime’s features specifically built to ensure your firm is DCAA compliant, request a demo of our software today.
About the Author
Senior Manager, Content MarketingSee more by Trilby Lawless