Acquisition, Cost Estimating, & Financial Management

ICF's interdisciplinary teams offer quality services integrated with holistic and comprehensive acquisition support and a full range of cost-estimating and analysis services, including lifecycle cost estimates (LCCE), business case analyses (BCA), policy and governance consulting, training, financial management, and performance measurement baseline development. We bridge the gap between research-oriented cost estimating and project execution.

Cost Research and Database Development

ICF creates and maintains robust cost databases utilizing Excel-based forms, flat files, MS Access and Structured Query Language (SQL)-based relational databases, and Big Data architectures. We have published results on cost growth, learning curve calibration factors, cost per flying hour correction factors, and best practices in cost estimating relationship (CER) development.

Budgetary Estimates

ICF conducts program-level LCCEs and independent cost estimates, contract or project-level independent government cost estimates, program objective memorandum (POM) submissions, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Exhibit 300 submissions. Our budgetary estimates are time-phased, risk-adjusted, and dynamically updated in both base year and then-year dollars.

Comparative Estimates

ICF has significant expertise in conducting comparative estimates, including analysis of alternatives (AoA), alternatives analysis (AA), BCA, cost-benefit analysis (CBA), cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA), economic analysis (EA), and functional economic analysis (FEA). The goal of these analyses is to determine the preferred alternative, among several competing courses of action. Measures of merit we calculate to evaluate alternatives include return on investment (ROI), net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), and discounted payback period (DPP).

Earned Value and Financial Management

ICF's cost estimating and analysis presence continues after a solution is deployed. We conduct robust tracking of actual costs against plan, including calculations of funds run-out date, estimates at complete (EAC), and all other earned value management (EVM) calculations in accordance with American National Standards Institute/Electronic Industries Alliance (ANSI/EIA) Standard 748-C. We lay the foundation for EVM-like frameworks through product-oriented work breakdown structure (WBS) development. We also perform advanced analysis of EVM metrics, such as use of probability distributions to forecast final cost, and multilayered data visualization of possible project outcomes.


ICF has developed and provided instruction on acquisition and cost estimating for the Defense Acquisition University (DAU), DHS, the Naval Center for Cost Analysis (NCCA), ICEAA, DoDCAS, the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND), and many others. We have trained hundreds of students on cost estimating in the source selection process, cost risk and uncertainty analysis, function point-based software cost estimating, and alignment of cost-estimating best practices across the Cost Estimating Body of Knowledge (CEBoK) and Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOKĀ® Guide).


We count among our experts International Cost Estimating and Analysis (ICEAA) Certified Cost Estimator/Analysts (CCEA), Best Paper Award winners, and National Estimators of the Year. Many of our experts have both CCEA and Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

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