What Does an Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO) Do?

The ACO ensures contracts are compliant with each contract’s stated terms and conditions, are executed in accordance with performance work statements, and that they follow applicable regulations and specific contract clauses.

In accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulations ( FAR 42.202 and 42.302), the Contracting Officer (CO) is authorized to delegate certain responsibilities to the Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO) for the administration and specialized support services needed on U.S. government contracts. 

The authority delegated to the ACO is detailed in writing in the ACO Letter of Delegation provided by the CO to the accepting contract administration office and ACO, as well as to the contractor. The letter outlines the ACO's limitations and responsibilities, and helps contractors know who to deal with on specific issues that may arise. 

An Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO) is a representative of the government agency responsible for the administration of a contract. They play a crucial role in overseeing and managing the contractual relationship between the government and the contractor.

Here's an overview of ACO's responsibilities and duties:

  1. Contract Administration:

    The ACO is responsible for administering the terms and conditions of the contract. They ensure that the contractor complies with all contractual requirements, including deliverables, performance standards, and timelines.

  2. Financial Oversight:

    ACOs monitor the financial aspects of the contract. They review and approve invoices, verify costs, and ensure that the contractor is billing in accordance with the contract terms. They may also negotiate contract modifications related to funding adjustments.

  3. Change Management:

    If changes or modifications are necessary during the contract period, the ACO evaluates and approves or disapproves them. They assess the impact of proposed changes on cost, schedule, and performance and negotiate any adjustments required.

  4. Performance Evaluation:

    ACOs assess the contractor's performance against the established metrics and standards. They conduct regular reviews, site visits, and inspections to ensure compliance and identify any deficiencies. Performance evaluations may impact contract extensions, award fees, or future contract opportunities.

  5. Issue Resolution:

    When issues or disputes arise between the government and the contractor, the ACO facilitates resolution. They may conduct negotiations, engage in mediation or alternative dispute resolution processes, or take other appropriate actions to resolve conflicts.

  6. Contract Closeout:

    At the end of the contract, the ACO ensures the completion of all contractual requirements, including the submission of final reports and deliverables. They review the contractor's performance, resolve outstanding issues, and finalize any necessary financial adjustments.

It's important to note that specific duties and responsibilities of an ACO may vary depending on the government agency, the type of contract, and the complexity of the acquisition. The ACO collaborates closely with other stakeholders, such as the Contracting Officer, Project Managers, and Legal Advisors, to fulfill their role effectively.

For more information about the role Administrative Contracting Officers play in government contracts, please contact Peter Witts CPA PC. We have over 20 years of experience in government contract accounting, and are ready to provide you with expert guidance and support.


I’m Kristin, the PWCPA PC Customer Success Specialist. For more information about this topic, or any other, you can always reach me through our customer ticketing system.