Frequently Asked Questions

Working Capital Fund
What is the NASA WCF?
What criteria must a NASA Working Capital Fund candidate meet?
How does a working capital fund differ from any other appropriation?
How does a working capital business entity differ from a reimbursable activity?
What are the main goals of NASA’s WCF?
Who can be a NASA WCF customer?
What evaluation documents are required for potential NASA WCF candidates?
Are their any regulations pertaining to the WCF policies and requirements?
Where can I learn more about Working Capital Funds?
What is the status of the WCF?
What current NASA programs will first be inducted into the NASA WCF?

Question:      What is the NASA WCF?

Answer:        The NASA WCF is an account in which all income is derived from its operations and is
                        available to finance the fund’s continuing operations without fiscal year limitation. The WCF
                        is a revolving fund financial management structure used to promote total cost visibility
                        and full cost recovery of support services. The NASA WCF operates like a commercial
                        business. It provides goods and services in exchange for a price/rate.

Question:      What criteria must a NASA Working Capital Fund candidate meet?

Answer:        To be considered as a candidate for the NASA WCF, an entity must:

                        Possess the capability to produce goods or services that support an Agency-wide need on
                        a recurring and relatively predictable basis.

                        Provide quality goods and/or services that will result in improved customer satisfaction
                        and/or decreased costs to the federal government.

                        Receive its demand for goods and/or services from multiple customers within NASA and/or
                        other federal government entities.

                        Not be dependent upon a single customer for its existence.

                        Use “Full Cost” methodology to identify costs of goods and services.

                        Possess the capability to charge prices or rates that approximate the full costs of the
                        provided goods and services.

Question:      How does a working capital fund differ from other appropriations?

Answer:        Other appropriations are authorized from Congress to use a specified amount of funds for a
                        specific purpose for a specific time period. Working capital funds are primarily
                        resourced from funds provided from customer appropriations to a working capital fund
                        business entity in exchange for goods/services provided. Working capital funds, unlike
                        most appropriations, do not have a fiscal year limitation which allows for more
                        efficient management of operations. Additionally, working capital funds are available for a
                        more general purpose – to continue operations of the working capital fund business entity.

Question:      How does a working capital business entity differ from a reimbursable activity?

Answer:        Working capital fund business entities and reimbursable activities are similar but there are
                        some fundamental differences. While there can be many permutations of the differences,
                        these are the more general:

                        A reimbursable activity operates as a primary activity within an appropriated fund entity.
                        That is, the primary function of the entity within which the reimbursable activity resides is to
                        perform a function other than the reimbursable activity. The primary (and only) function of a
                        working capital fund business entity is to provide a good/service in exchange for a set
                        price/rate. A working capital fund business entity usually does not receive any other
                        funding other than the fee it charges for the good/service it provides.

                        A reimbursable activity charges the cost it incurred to perform the service. The cost,
                        as a rule, is not known until the service is completed. This does not provide the
                        reimbursable activity with an incentive to control costs nor does it provide the customer
                        with assurance as to its liability for future payment.

                        A working capital fund business entity charges the customer a price/rate that is set
                        before the good is provided or the service is performed. The price/rate does not change
                        until the next rate setting cycle.

Question:      What are the main goals of NASA’s WCF?

Answer:        The main goals of NASA’s WCF are:

                        Encourage business entities to provide quality goods and services at the best value to the
                        customer.

                        Provide effective means for financing, budgeting, and accounting for costs.

                        Provide a framework that reinforces NASA’s “Full Cost” commitment to improving
                        procedures for financial planning, reporting, and management.

Question:      Who can be a NASA WCF customer?

Answer:        The NASA WCF authorization legislation provides that the NASA WCF is available for
                        financing activities, services, equipment, information, and facilities as authorized by law
                        to be provided within the (NASA) Administration; to other agencies or instrumentalities of
                        the United States; to any State, Territory, or possession or political subdivision thereof;
                        to other public or private agencies or to any person, firm, association, corporation,
                        or educational institution on a reimbursable basis.

Question:      What evaluation documents are required for potential NASA WCF candidates?

Answer:        Potential candidates are required to complete the following:

                        Step 1: Complete the NASA WCF Candidate Application, which requests a high-level
                        description of the business entity, operations, cost categories, goods/services
                        and cost projections.

                        Step 2: Develop a Business Case Analysis. The Business Case Analysis will present
                        evidence of reasoning and analysis, as well as provide for a more thorough evaluation
                        of financial projections, benefits, assumptions, and risks.

                        Step 3: Upon receiving approval of the Application and Business Case, develop a Charter
                        that sets forth the authority for, the mission and responsibilities of the business entity as
                        an Agency-wide function operating in the NASA WCF.

Question:      Are their any regulations pertaining to the WCF policies and requirements?

Answer:        The NASA Financial Management Requirement, Volume 17contains the WCF policies and
                        requirements. The following is the link to Volume 17: Volume 17 - Working Capital Fund

Question:      Where can I learn more about Working Capital Funds?

Answer:        You can learn more about WCFs at the following external training sources:

                        Management Concepts. Management Concepts offers a variety of other courses in
                        financial areas such as Auditing, Performance Measurement, Strategic Planning,
                        Activity-Based Cost Management, and Benchmarking. Information is available on-line at:
                        Management Concepts. Following are two courses that specifically address working
                        capital funds:
                                                ­­Course title: Financial Management of Working Capital Funds­
                                                ­­­This three-day intermediate-level course is comprised of lectures, group
                                                ­­discussions, and class ­exercises. It is designed for financial,
                                                ­­program, and functional managers of customer and support
                                                ­­­organizations needing a detailed understanding of Working Capital Funds
                                                policies, ­­procedures, concepts, ­and terms. Courses are offered,
                                                in Vienna, VA.
                                                ­­Course title:Accounting for Business Operations in Government
                                                ­­This three-day intermediate-level course is comprised of a lecture, group
                                                discussion, and a comprehensive case study. It is designed for financial
                                                managers and accounting staff who are responsible for accounting
                                                transactions involving the sale of goods and services through working
                                                capital funds, revolving funds,franchise funds, or reimbursable activities.,
                                                Courses are offered in Vienna, VA.

                        Treasury Agency Services. The Financial Management Service of the U.S. Treasury
                        operates a learning center. Information is available on-line at: Treasury Department Courses.
                        Following is a course that is useful for appropriated and working capital funds:
                                                ­­Course title:Standard General Ledger: Revolving Funds
                                                This two-day course gives students the opportunity to practice preparing
                                                entries and financial statements for revolving funds through case studies
                                                and exercises. Suitable for auditors responsible for business-type
                                                revolving funds and/or miscellaneous receipts accounts. One and
                                                a half days are devoted to discussing revolving fund transactions. The
                                                remaining classroom time is spent discussing miscellaneous receipts.

                        USDA Graduate School. The U.S. Department of Agriculture operates a learning facility.
                        Information is available on-line at: USDA Graduate School. Following is a course that
                        specifically addresses working capital funds:
                                                ­­Course title:Working Capital Funds (FINC9000D-W01)
                                                This three-day course is designed to provide a comprehensive
                                                 knowledge of the management and operation of revolving or working
                                                capital funds. Appropriate for financial, program, and management
                                                professionals.

Question:      What is the status of the WCF?

Answer:        On October 1, 2004, one program (SEWP) transitioned into the NASA WCF.
                        The remaining programs will be phased into the WCF during FY 2006 and beyond. In
                        addition key milestones include the drafting of policies and procedures, testing the
                        SAP system changes needed to implement the NASA WCF, providing education and training
                        to NASA employees/managers and customers, and revising the NASA WCF web site.

Question:      What current NASA programs will first be inducted into the NASA WCF?

Answer:        Our goal is to implement the NASA WCF incrementally beginning with relatively small
                        programs from which “lessons learned” would ease the induction of larger and more
                        complex programs. The first program for FY 2005 implementation is the SEWP program
                        (administered at the Goddard Space Flight Center).
                        For more information on the NASA WCF visit: Working Capital Fund