Monthly KPIs that every GovCon should review

Monitoring financial data, doing system checks, and reviewing contract requirements monthly can help keep your financials on the right path.


Government contractors spend a hefty amount of time on administrative tasks – including bookkeeping – that detract from doing the work that matters most. Making matters worse, they may not be keeping accurate or compliant financials and may be subject to audits or loss of contracts. General bookkeeping is not adequate for government contracts. 

Monitoring financial data, doing system checks, and reviewing contract requirements monthly can help keep your financials on the right path. GovCons should compare key performance indicators (KPIs) to benchmarks and analyze consistently to spot any issues before they turn into bookkeeping nightmares. 

Monthly KPIs present a clear picture of accounting done right – or wrong 

There are many financial, system, and contract KPIs that can be monitored monthly to stay on track. We’ll go over a few. 

  • Gross margin indicates the direct cost as a percent of revenue. This should be consistent month over month. Fluctuations may indicate missed cost. 
  • Current ratio takes current assets over current liabilities and shows how quickly liabilities can be paid off. For example, if the ratio is 2.0, you can cover current liabilities two times over – a healthy ratio. 
  • Actuals to budget show how close the project is coming along to what was initially planned. If it is off, it’s time to investigate why. It may indicate a need to reforecast the rest of the year. 
  • Reconciliation of the general ledger to the project ledger is critical to make sure all costs are being captured and allocated properly. If these reconcile, the system is working. If not, it’s time to investigate why the two ledgers are out of sync. 
  • Profit reviews compare the current period profit to the year-to-date profit for a contract. This should be the same month over month – a swing may indicate something is off, such as missed revenue or subcontractor costs. 

Software helps keep monitoring efficient, consistent, and compliant

When it comes to accounting, math is math. But for GovCons, accounting is more about the rules that the math needs to follow. 

For instance, bookkeeping would take $12 in cost and put it as one line item. For GovCons, that $12 may be split up according to federal rules into specific cost pools. 

And if numbers aren’t reconciling, there could be major consequences. 

The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) considers month-end closing of books a best practice, and using KPIs to monitor compliance can be easier with specialized accounting software for GovCons. 

Accounting software must meet the adequacy criteria of the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) Business Systems Rules to pass a DCAA audit. There are 18 criteria for a system to be deemed adequate, which break down into five major capabilities: 

  1. Internal control over approval, structure, access, monitoring, and policies 
  2. Segregation of direct and indirect costs monthly for allocation to projects 
  3. Reporting costs under general ledger control, subsidiary cost ledger, and transactional details
  4. Timekeeping and labor distribution of direct and indirect labor costs
  5. Compliance with contract terms, conditions, regulations, and other laws

How CohnReznick can help

Have you ever added up the number of hours you spend on keeping the books? The reality can be harsh. By monitoring KPIs and investing in software, you can ease the burden of time and cost. 

If you’re looking for solutions to spend less time on financial tasks, with more accuracy, CohnReznick can help. Our industry professionals help your organization determine the best accounting solution based on your business needs. Our approach is solution-agnostic, as we are certified by several leading-edge software solutions, each of which offers unique benefits. We have a deep knowledge of the industry and accounting systems that help enable compliance, and the expertise to determine a “best-fit” solution for your organization.

Contact us to see how we can help solve your GovCon accounting problems.


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John Infantolino

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This has been prepared for information purposes and general guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication, and CohnReznick LLP, its partners, employees and agents accept no liability, and disclaim all responsibility, for the consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.