U.S. Government Changes On-Line Registration Process for Vendors, Contractors

March 4th, 2014

Due to the limited number of military open house and air show events in the United States last year, a number of ICAS members let their Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and On-line Representations and Certifications (ORCA) expire. Many of these same ICAS members are now discovering that the U.S. government has subsequently replaced CCR and ORCA with System for Award Management, known as SAM (www.sam.gov).

While it can be frustrating to learn a new system, the frustrations can be reduced with some basic understanding of the new system. The government does not charge a fee for SAM registration, and registrations become active 3-5 days after they are completed.

For Former CCR and ORCA Registrants: The features of both CCR and ORCA are now available in SAM. If you were previously registered in those systems, most of your data transferred into SAM and is waiting for you to claim it.

The first thing you need to do is create a user account (your CCR username and password will NOT work in SAM). The user account includes your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and other information.

Once you have created an account, you will then need to claim your company information (called an “entity” in SAM). You will need to select “Register/Update Entity” and search for your business by name or DUNS number (searching by DUNS number works better).

Once you have found your business, you will click on it and request access. If the entity has never been accessed in SAM, the system may require a short statement as to why you need access (e.g., I am the owner, I am the managing member) and will take a few days to process your request (you should get a confirmation e-mail).

Once you have access to your records, you will need to update/verify/certify the data, representations, and certifications (including your TIN, MPIN and CAGE Code) just like you used to do at least once per year in CCR and ORCA. To do this, log in with your SAM username and password, select “Register/Update Entity,” select “Incomplete Registrations,” scroll down to your entity list, select your business, and review/respond to each page of information. If your business does not appear, you will need to select “Inactive Registrations” and look on that list. If the entity is not on either list, use the search feature again.

While you are updating your newly migrated information, watch for areas where the data has been misplaced or corrupted. For example, POC data frequently puts the POC’s full name in the first name block and then generates errors because the mandatory last name block is blank.

For New Users: If you were never registered in CCR or ORCA, you can create a SAM account, register your business, answer the questions concerning your business, and complete your representations and certifications. Before you do this, you will need to have formed your business entity (e.g., LLC, Inc, DBA), obtained a Tax ID number from the IRS, registered for a DUNS number (fedgov.dnb.com), and have a bank account in your business name (and know your routing and account numbers for electronic funds transfer).

While the instructions for completing these preliminary pre-SAM registration steps are beyond the scope of this article, this information was included in a seminar at the 2011 ICAS Convention, and the materials are available on the ICAS website.

During the SAM registration process, you will need to create a MPIN (similar to a PIN for your ATM) and will be issued a CAGE Code. Much like the former CCR and ORCA users, your first step will be to create a SAM account. Once you have done this, you will select “Register/Update Entity,” select “Register New Entity” and complete the questions concerning your business.

Caution for All Users: One of the negative results of combining ORCA and CCR is that a change to something simple in the portion of SAM that used to be CCR (e.g., adding a NAICS code) will require you to recertify the representations and certifications (which used to be done separately in ORCA) before the change will take effect. Unfortunately, this means that in order to submit even the most minor update, you must review the entire record and validate each page in one sitting.

If you need help completing your SAM registrations, there are manuals, quick start guides, videos, and frequently asked questions available for free at www.fsd.gov (there is a link on the SAM web page). If you still are having difficulty completing the process, there are consulting firms, such as ICAS member Catalyst Creative Consulting, LLC, who can be hired to assist you in completing the process.