Rockville, Md. (July 31, 2003) -- Regional accounting and consulting firm Aronson & Co. is well on its way to outpace its General Services Administration contract work compared to last year, with five of its clients reaping GSA schedule contracts within the past month.

The GSA schedule is the preferred vehicle for government buyers. Product and service providers who have contracts on the GSA schedule are more likely to be selected by government purchasing agents.

The five companies receiving contracts in July were Danya International, Inc. of Silver Spring, Md.; Rathuil International, Inc. of Springfield, Va.; Onsite Companies, Inc. of Hanover, Md.; Digital Infuzion of Gaithersburg, Md.; and Northern Ecological Associates of Portland, Maine.

The companies hired Aronson & Co. to develop bid strategies, prepare proposals, and negotiate the resultant GSA Schedule contracts – something most firms or companies should not try if they have never done so before, warned Hope Lane, director of the firm’s GSA schedule consulting services.

Negotiating a GSA schedule contract is very different from presenting any other federal contract. You can be negotiated into a box if you don’t know what you are doing,” Lane said. “Our whole objective is to tell the right story, so the GSA can just read it and see how it will end up. Not everyone can do that well.”

The GSA services group has been in place for six of the firm’s 41 years and it has positively impacted the firm’s earnings each year. The GSA services group’s revenue for fiscal 2003 (ending May 31) climbed 40 percent over the prior year and Lane expects a similar bump in 2004.

Aronson & Co. also grew its GSA consulting staff from four to seven full-time professionals within the past six months. Several of the 200-person firm’s senior consultants also work with the division when they are needed.

In addition, the firm expects to negotiate 65 GSA contracts during fiscal 2004, up from 50 this past term.

“For a long time we were a traditional tax and audit firm, but as federal contracting became more complex, our clients looked to us to understand federal contracting better,” Lane said. “These days the ones we bring in as GSA schedule clients also become audit clients.”

Aronson & Co. saw providing these services as “a natural extension” as there were enough people on staff who had a strong background working in financial departments at government contractors.

The firm also offers contract administration services in addition to financial systems consulting, mergers and acquisitions work, general government contracting, and estate planning.

-- Seth Fineberg

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