How Microsoft Dynamics 365 Helps You Navigate the Complexities of Working with USAID

By - March 8, 2023

       The various sub-groups of the Government Contracting industry each have their own rules, regulations, and standard operating procedures. Contractors working with USAID are no exception to this rule and often encounter more complexities than companies working with different government agencies. RSM’s Microsoft Dynamics Government Contracting Practice has worked with several large USAID contractors to provide solutions for the key issues experienced in the industry, including: 1) Maintaining complex indirect rate structures, 2) Establishing and operating international field offices in compliance with local regulations, 3) Multi-currency transaction recording and reporting an 4) multi-entity consolidation for financial statement reporting.

       While all contractors are required to consistently and uniformly allocate indirect costs to final cost objectives – organizations working with USAID tend to create and manage especially complex rate structures. Additional intermediate and final cost pools are often added to meet contractual requirements for allowable costs and provide more detailed project costing than is generally required. Companies also utilize intermediate pools to help spread out the pooled costs and meet indirect rate targets and rate caps. This additional segmentation introduces complexities for home office and field project setup teams, project accountants, and end users, as miscoded transactions have large downstream impacts on project financials.

       Despite the additional setup and maintenance required to maintain these complex indirect rate structures – RSM clients have benefitted from the detailed financials that they provide, allowing users to gain additional insights into project status & performance. The introduction of rate caps allows contractors to competitively position themselves to win more contracts from both USAID and other Government agencies. RSM GovCon, built upon the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management’s project accounting infrastructure, allows organizations to configure and manage an unlimited number of cost pools and service centers, accommodating situations with various levels of complexity. The solution also introduces multiple validation controls that ensure expenses post to the appropriate projects and all costs are burdened appropriately – reducing the month-end workload on finance and accounting teams.

        The management of international field offices is a staple of USAID contractors. These offices range from permanent fixtures in an organization, to short-term operations in existence for as little as six months. It is very common for the more short-term offices to be located in remote locations with little infrastructure or internet connectivity, where the employee base can speak varying amounts of English. No matter which designation the offices fall into – our clients require a solution for recording time and expenses to projects, generating jurisdictional reports for the offices, and properly consolidating financial results into financial reports.

       RSM’s ERP implementation methodology has been refined and tailored to utilize D365 F&SCM’s inherent intercompany capabilities to benefit Government contractors working around the globe. Deploying D365 with the appropriate localization features enabled support offices in regions with strict data storage & service requirements. In cases where connectivity is limited and the rollout of a full-scale ERP is not viable – RSM can utilize its proprietary ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) capabilities developed after working with various global clients to ensure information is properly loaded into the solution. The RVM (Rapid Verification Model) approach is used to quickly establish multiple legal entities for field offices around the world. Once the environment is established and configured appropriately – Individuals such as the COP (Chief of Party), Accounting leader, and standard Time & Expense users can utilize the multi-language capabilities embedded in the system, combined with the task recorder training tool, to ensure they understand how to perform key business processes within the new solution. Finally – by utilizing the additional tools provided by the Microsoft Power Platform, field office teams can quickly generate new reports (Power BI), automate tedious processes (Power Automate), and create new tools for transaction entry (Power Apps).

        Alongside ensuring the organization complies with all FAR, CAS, and DCAA requirements imposed by the US Government, and validating applicable GAAP/IFRS requirements are met, USAID contractors must also handle the complexities of managing vendors, paying employees, and invoicing customers in multiple currencies. To meet all the total time accounting requirements, maintain proper workflows and controls, and create critical reports at year end – these organizations must have a technology solution that is flexible enough to allow multiple configurations based on key data points, while also maintaining a strict control environment.

       D365 F&SCM’s project accounting module offers a wide variety of tools to assist in properly tracking project cost and revenue across multiple organizations. When combining the standard D365 currency translation functionality with the enhanced ability to connect employee pay rates to project costing – clients can ensure that they are appropriately reflecting labor costs on various projects. The D365 GovCon enhanced timesheet policy rules can be assigned to specific departments within an organization and are flexible based on which location the employee resides to ensure employees are recording the appropriate number of hours each period and are not erroneously charging items such as overtime or hazard time. Different transactions within D365 can be assigned to unique workflow approval queues based on dollar thresholds, the project being charged, or the items being purchased. These workflows act as ‘Stop gates’ to transaction processing to ensure all entries being made from the field are accurate and appropriate for the work being performed. Once transactions are approved and appropriately processed in the system – users can utilize the wide variety of reporting tools available within the Dynamics ecosystem to gain a clear picture of project status (Standard SSRS reporting), examine Business unit performance (D365 Management reporter), or generate key financial statements (D365 Financial Reporter)

       RSM GovCon was built with USAID contractors in mind – providing flexibility to setup and manage multiple organizations with varying levels of complexity within one technology solution. In addition to IT implementation services, RSM’s Global presence provides clients with resources available all over the globe and allows us to offer a diverse range of services uniquely tailored to the government contracting community, including Financial Advisory, Outsourcing (Managed IT, Virtual CISO, Federal Contract Regulatory Compliance), Risk Advisory, Government Contracting Regulatory Strategy and Management Consulting, and Transaction Advisory. RSM is a one-stop shop for USAID contractors and the Government Contracting community.

Cole is a Senior Associate with RSM’s Technology Consulting practice. He has over 3 years with RSM focusing on Dynamics F&SCM engagements, client business process transformation, and developing the firms IP to help expand into the Government Contracting Industry. Cole has completed implementations with several clients focused the Life Science and Government contracting industries. Along with accounting systems implementations, Cole has worked with several clients to review and audit systems for compliance with DFARS requirements and assist in the preparation of year end ICS reports. Cole has managed teams focusing on implementing Dynamics Project Management and Accounting and designing client business processes around timesheet entry and labor processing, client billing, and cost pool management. He has worked with several clients offering insight into industry best practices, providing training and support to key team members, and supporting post Go-live activities. Cole has also been heavily involved with the development, testing and management of RSM’s Government Contracting industry IP. Working directly with RSM Clients, Industry SME’s and development teams – he has helped design, test, and deploy enhancements that have been implemented as a part of the firm’s Go-To-Market product. He has also worked to onboard and train new team members on the various features of Dynamics 365 and RSM’s government contracting product to grow the firm’s industry presence more effectively. Professional affiliations and credentials • Microsoft Certified Finance and Supply Chain Professional Education • Bachelor of Science, Finance, University of Alabama

Receive Posts by Email

Subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.