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Wyoming Business Tips for June 7-13

May 29, 2015

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Brett Housholder, Wyoming Entrepreneur Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) program manager

“I did some work for the government, and now I need to get paid. They told me I can’t just send them an invoice and expect a check in the mail. Is this true?” Anne, Hulett

As with most areas of government contracting, the answer isn’t simple.

First, no agencies will pay by an actual check these days. When you register in the System for Award Management, one of the requirements is bank account information. This information allows agencies to pay by an electronic funds transfer directly into your business’s bank account. However, before an agency can even do that, an invoice is needed. But, in most cases, you can’t just mail an invoice.

Different agencies require different invoicing methods, and many agencies are moving to online invoicing systems. We’ll focus on the two most common for our clients in this column.

-- Invoice Processing Platform. This system is most commonly used by agencies within the Department of the Interior, such as the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Service.

-- Wide Area Workflow (WAWF). This system may eventually go by a new name iRAPT (Invoicing, Receipt, Acceptance, Property Transfer), but is still widely known as WAWF. It is used by agencies within the Department of Defense and, even if you are not a traditional defense contractor that manufactures tanks or weapons systems, you will still need to use this system if you do any work on a base such as F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne.

Again, both of these systems are online and require electronic submission of invoice documents. A few general tips will help:

-- Register as soon as you have a contract. You won’t necessarily need to invoice immediately, but create a user account as soon as a contract is awarded. Plan ahead to save time, because it can take a day or two before an account is activated.

-- Always have a copy of the contract handy when using the systems. The contract number and other codes from this document are imperative when submitting an invoice. Without the document, it is nearly impossible to submit a complete, accurate invoice.

-- Create a separate invoice of your own. Create a document that matches exactly what is being submitted online (quantity, unit price, total amount, etc.). You can attach this invoice to your online submission.

These systems can be confusing if you have never used them. The best tip is to contact your local PTAC office for assistance.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at http://wyen.biz/blog1/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email wsbdc@uwyo.edu, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.


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Chad Baldwin

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