The Army refused to pay the invoices not because PROTEC didn’t do the work, but because the electronic invoices and reports were submitted late. PROTEC argued that “the government suffered no prejudice from the late electronic reports and invoices because timely paper reports, the maintenance schedule, and the contracting officer representative’s (COR’s) role in arranging emergency repairs allowed the government to verify performance.” The ASBCA agreed with the Army because for “repairs in particular, timely reports and invoices were necessary to verify the time and material charges.” ASBCA’s ruling was short and sweet: “Because PROTEC submitted electronic reports and invoices late, the government properly refused to pay the unpaid invoices.” PROTEC’s arguments to the contrary were not well supported. This decision is a reminder that, in government contracting, submitting invoices and records is just as important as doing the work if a contractor wants to be paid. The ASBCA will not be sympathetic to a claim that seeks payment of late invoices, absent unusual circumstances such as government delay.
The government is a reliable customer that pays it bills on time. That is, if the contractor submits an invoice that is correct, on time and per the instructions in the contract. Understandably, government contractors tend to focus on the scope of work but paying attention to the administrative requirements in the contract is equally as important. Shane McCall, attorney with Koprince Law LLC provides an example in case law of a business that did not follow the invoicing instructions in the contract and paid the price.