Baker Tilly Study Reveals Federal Contractors Recognize Vital Role of Contract Management and Need More Resources to Succeed

Government contractor advisory services practice releases benchmarking resource for best practices to help mitigate risk and boost profitability.

WASHINGTON (May 8, 2017) – 92 percent of federal government contract professionals report that effective contract management is critical to their company’s success, according to a first-of-its-kind survey conducted by leading accounting and advisory firm Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP (Baker Tilly).

Baker Tilly’s Contract Management (CM) Benchmarks Report also indicated that many organizations lack the specialized training, policies and procedures and resources necessary to reduce risk and increase profitability.

“Federal contract management faces more challenges now than ever, and the demand for increased transparency and accountability can present a challenge for businesses looking to strike the right balance between comprehensive contract management practices and cost effectiveness,” Bill Bressette, principal and national leader of Baker Tilly’s government contractor advisory services practice, said. “What works for one company may not work for another. But the bottom line, as validated by the survey results, is that well-executed contract management practices mitigate risk and help win business.”

The CM Benchmarks Report summarizes key survey data alongside best practices. The report covers the size, structure and composition of the federal contract management function, factors and business demographics that impact it, and its perceived importance within an organization. Among the report’s findings:

  • A positive correlation exists between contract win rates and the existence of robust training programs;
  • Well-thought-out controls and software solutions reduce the likelihood of compliance issues attributable to human error; and
  • Documentation of formalized policies and procedures eliminates potential conflicts of interest and reduces risk.

“This report provides government contractors insight into data points they should be analyzing periodically relative to their risk profile,” Bressette added. “For organizations that still treat contract management as a back-office administrative function instead of a critical business function, we hope this report serves as a call to action.”

Other survey highlights in the report include:

Tools and Resources

  • More than 40 percent of survey respondents work at firms with contract management policies that were either inconsistently applied, not formally documented or non-existent.
  • Only 50 percent of respondents had received formal training on contract management.
  • Nearly 60 percent of respondents’ firms use Microsoft Excel to track contracts, as opposed to more sophisticated software.

Staffing and Structure

  • 54 percent of respondents’ firms have a centralized contracts department that handles all contract-related responsibilities.
  • A disparity in management practices exists between large and small firms. Small firms are far less likely to have formal internal training programs or robust contract management policies.

Effect of Contract Management on Risk Mitigation and Win Rate

  • Among firms with formal internal training programs, 37 percent had win rates exceeding 50 percent, while only 29 percent of all respondents claimed a win rate over 50 percent.
  • 75 percent of firms where employees receive formal internal training report an above average/excellent ability to manage risk (60 percent of those with formal external training reported the same).

Baker Tilly’s CM Benchmarks Report is based on a survey of approximately 250 contracting professionals at all levels of experience whose job duties ranged from pre-award proposal activities through post-award compliance responsibilities. Their firms included small, mid-market and large businesses across an array of industries and geographic locations.

Download The CM Benchmarks Report: Best Practices in Federal Contract Management in full and view other related resources at

Baker Tilly’s government contracts advisory practice, one of the largest in the country, works with government contractors through all aspects of the contract life cycle to mitigate risk in a highly complex and regulated environment. The team partners with CFOs, CEOs, controllers, VPs of finance, chief compliance officers and legal counsel — including one in seven of the 200 companies on Bloomberg Government’s 2016 list of top federal industry leaders — on a combined total of $80 billion in government contracts. For more information, visit

About Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP (

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP (Baker Tilly) is a leading advisory, tax and assurance firm whose specialized professionals guide clients through an ever-changing business world, helping them win now and anticipate tomorrow. Headquartered in Chicago, Baker Tilly, and its affiliated entities, have operations in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Baker Tilly is an independent member of Baker Tilly International, a worldwide network of independent accounting and business advisory firms in 147 territories, with 33,600 professionals. The combined worldwide revenue of independent member firms is $3.4 billion. Visit or join the conversation on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.