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Accounting Services Request for Proposals (RFP)

NEW Submission Deadline: March 24, 2024 | 11:59 PM ET 

(Former Deadline: March 17, 2024 | 11:59 PM ET)

Scope

About Carbon A List

Carbon A List is a climate action instigator specialized in navigating the burgeoning opportunities for climate action, especially, but not limited to, the land sector. Our mission is to help clients and partners unlock climate action in a way that creates equity, transparency, and continuous improvement. Carbon A List offers strategic consulting, methodology development and design, and project development services to a wide range of climate-centric organizations.  

About the Grant

We are leveraging our expertise and positioning to deliver on a $70 million U.S. Department of Agriculture Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities grant (“the Grant”). Serving as a collaboration between industry partners, the Grant is designed to develop end-to-end supply chain partnerships with the goal of both producing climate smart commodities and marketing them via brands and retailers to consumers. In coordination with its Project Partners and Service Providers, Carbon A List aims to enroll more than 350 participating farms in its climate-smart commodity incentive programs.  

About the Request

Carbon A List requires comprehensive Accounting Services to (i) ensure strict compliance with USDA requirements and (ii) support the financial health and operational efficiency of full-scale operations for the Grant.  

 

This Request for proposals (RFP) seeks Service Providers capable of supporting strategic needs across financial governance, reporting, and stakeholder management, while upholding the highest standards of accuracy and compliance. Carbon A List is committed to partnering with a Service Provider that demonstrates a profound understanding of USDA grant administration. The Service Provider should align with our goals of maintaining strict compliance with USDA requirements and supporting the overall financial health and operational efficiency of the Grant. 

Scope of Work

Financial Governance:

  • Assess compliance and reporting risks associated with income, expenses, invoices, and other financial transactions, and recommend improvements. 

  • Assess and augment financial management systems to minimize risk and improve efficiency in decision-making and approval chains. 

  • Review and refine Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure best practices in financial management. 

  • Recommend and implement dashboarding tools for effective risk management and financial oversight. 

USDA Reporting

  • Ensure excellence, accuracy and timeliness in financial reporting to meet or exceed USDA requirements. 

  • Contribute to detailed financial reports and summaries, including monthly financial reports for Grant management review and comprehensive financial reports specific to the Grant. 

  • Collaborate with external auditors during annual Grant audits, ensuring the timely provision of required financial documents. 

Stakeholder Management:

  • Support effective communication with government sponsors, support contractors, project partners, and farmers. 

  • Provide regular updates on Grant-related financial matters and risks, ensuring all stakeholders are well informed and engaged. 

  • Offer training, troubleshooting, and support to stakeholders to ensure their understanding and compliance with Grant financial processes and requirements. 

Tax Filing

  • Ensure the preparation and submission of all required tax filings, adhering to federal, state, and local tax laws and regulations. 

Expected Deliverables

  • Grant-specific financial reports for accurate reporting. 

  • Assessment of adherence to accounting standards and USDA reporting requirements globally and specific to the USDA Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities program area. 

  • Collaboration with external auditors during annual audits. 

  • Recurring calls to discuss Grant affairs.  

  • Timely and accurate tax filings. 

 

The specific timeline for the delivery of services will be determined in collaboration with Carbon A List.  

Proposal Requirements

Licensure and Accreditation

  • Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) 

  • Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) preferred 

Budget

The total anticipated budget for this work is expected to remain under $50,000, and will not exceed $249,999 for the duration of the contract, which will not go beyond the period of performance end date of June 12, 2028.  Providers are encouraged to demonstrate cost-efficiency and value in their financial proposals without compromising the quality and comprehensiveness of the services offered. 

  

We invite proposers to consider offering tiers of service within their proposed budget. This approach should delineate a range of service options, from basic compliance and reporting to comprehensive financial management and strategic advisory services, allowing Carbon A List to select the level of service that best aligns with our current needs and financial constraints. 

  

Proposals should clearly outline the scope of services provided at each proposed tier, including a detailed breakdown of costs associated with each level of service. This tiered offering will enable us to make an informed decision that balances our financial limitations with our requirements for effective and efficient accounting services. 

Submission Guidelines

Proposal Submission Deadline 

NEW Date: March 24, 2024 (extended from March 17, 2024) 

Time: 11:59 PM ET 

Proposals received after the stated deadline will not be considered. 

 

Submission Format 

Proposals must be submitted in PDF format, Arial or Times New Roman, 12-point font. The proposal should not exceed 10 pages in length, including graphics, figures, and/or tables.   

Proposals must cover the following information: 

  1. Executive Summary: Provide a concise overview of your firm’s proposal, highlighting your understanding of our needs and your solution's value proposition. 

  2. Approach to Scope of Work:  

    • Detail your firm's approach to managing the specified scope of work, including methodologies, technologies, and processes you will employ. 

    • Describe your firm's experience in providing accounting services to small businesses. How have you tailored your services to meet the unique needs of small businesses, particularly those operating with limited financial management resources? 

    • Outline any unique qualifications, certifications, or experiences that set your firm apart in providing comprehensive accounting services, especially in areas like advanced software deployment for financial management, risk management using dashboarding tools, and enhancing decision-making processes.  

  3. Compliance and Risk Management Strategy: Describe your strategy for ensuring compliance with USDA requirements and other applicable regulations, as well as your approach to identifying and mitigating risks related to this grant. 

  4. Communication Plan: Outline your plan for maintaining regular, effective communication with Carbon A List and other stakeholders, including frequency of updates, reports, and meetings. 

  5. Key Personnel: Identify key personnel who will support this contract, including their roles, qualifications, and relevant experience.  

  6. Cost Breakdown: Offer a detailed cost breakdown by scope area (Financial Governance, USDA Reporting, Stakeholder Management, Tax Filings) and anticipated staff support, including hourly rates or fixed costs associated with each segment of the work.  

  7. Experience with Similar Projects: Provide examples of previous projects similar in scale and complexity to this grant, focusing on your success in managing complex financial ecosystems and ensuring compliance. 

  8. References: Include references from previous clients for whom you've performed similar accounting services, particularly those involving federal grants or contracts. 

Evaluation Criteria

Qualification and Experience (30%)

  • Qualifications: Service Provider has the necessary licensure and accreditation. 

  • Experience: Specific knowledge of Federal and USDA reporting and auditing requirements and/or demonstrated success in similar projects.   

  • Team Expertise: A team with diverse expertise in financial management, regulatory compliance (specifically USDA regulations), and stakeholder communication. 

  • Resource Adequacy: Availability of adequate resources, including advanced technology and a capable workforce, to deliver the required services efficiently. 

 

Approach and Methodology (30%)

  • Risk Mitigation: Robust strategies for identifying, managing, and mitigating financial and operational risks. 

  • Process Optimization: Innovative solutions and methodologies to streamline operations. 

  • Responsiveness and Support: A commitment to providing timely and effective responses to tactical questions and operational support needs. 

  • Innovation Partnership: A commitment to actively contribute to exploring innovative approaches and guiding Carbon A List through new endeavors with confidence.  

 

Proposal Feasibility and Budget Alignment (25%)  

  • Implementation Feasibility: A realistic, well-defined plan ensuring that the proposed services can be effectively implemented within the set timelines and organizational constraints of Carbon A List. 

  • Cost-Effectiveness: A competitive cost structure that delivers value without compromising service quality. 

  • Budget Compliance: A detailed and transparent budget proposal that aligns with Carbon A List's financial needs.  

 

References and Past Performance (15%) 

  • Client Testimonials/Case Studies: Evidence of successful delivery of similar services, as demonstrated through client testimonials, case studies, or references. 

  • Experience with Large-Scale Projects: A track record of effectively managing large-scale projects, especially those involving complex stakeholder ecosystems and strict compliance requirements. 

 

Additional Criteria: Commitment to Sustainability, Equity and Climate Goals 

  • Alignment with Carbon A List's mission and climate objectives. 

  • Sustainable practices within the firm or proposed approach. 

Please note if you are a Registered Disadvantaged Business Enterprise for our records. 

Review Process

Carbon A List is committed to a transparent, equitable procurement process designed for integrity and compliance. Our aim is to select the most suitable service provider through a structured and impartial evaluation.

Scoring Round: We employ a standardized scoring rubric and an evaluation panel to ensure unbiased proposal assessments. Panel reviewers disclose any potential conflicts of interest to prevent bias. Proposals must meet a defined minimum score to advance, ensuring only the top candidates proceed to the interview stage.

Interview Round: Carbon A List will interview selected proposers using scenario-based questions directly linked to project needs. Responses will be evaluated per the RFP evaluation criteria, guaranteeing relevance and fairness. 

Terms and Conditions 

Contract duration 

The contract will be negotiated by Carbon A List and the selected proposer will not extend beyond June 12, 2028.

 

Payment terms 

Payment is made depending on the contractor’s compliance with payment standard operating procedures and processes. 

Federal Procurement Standards Compliance 

Generally, Contractor shall comply with   

  • all laws applicable to Contractor in its performance and delivery of services; and  

  • all policies and procedures related to this Grant published by Carbon A List from time to time and delivered to Contractor.  

Conflict of Interest 

Please outline your organization's policy on conflicts of interest and attest there are no material conflicts of interest impacting delivery of services.

 

Regulatory Changes  

In the event of a change in regulations that have a direct impact on the Contractor’s ability to provide the Services or Deliverables in a timely manner, the Parties agree to meet and confer on adjustments to processes and procedures or modifications this agreement.  

 

During the meet and confer period, Parties agree to use reasonable efforts to comply with current and new regulations, policies, and procedures using interim guidance, in writing, from Carbon A List on how to proceed. 

Non-Disparagement  

Recipients may not engage in any advertising deemed by USDA as disparaging to another agricultural commodity or competing product, or in violation of the prohibition against false and misleading advertising. Disparagement is defined as anything that depicts other commodities in a negative or unpleasant light via overt or subjective video, photography, or statements. Comparative advertising is allowable, provided the presentation of facts is truthful, objective, not misleading, and supported by a reasonable basis. 

 

Additional Information 

Note this opportunity is open to U.S. businesses. Please state that your business is located in and licensed to operate within the United States. This opportunity is only open to businesses that do not have pending or current lawsuits that would impact ability to deliver services. 

Budget

Questions?

To ensure fairness and transparency during the open Request for Proposals (RFP) process, Carbon A List observes a "quiet period," which begins when the RFP is issued and ends upon the contract award announcement.

To support proposers in their submission process, we have established an FAQ site for this RFP and we encourage you to submit any questions you might have via the FAQ Form​. We strive to answer all submissions promptly and thoroughly, and may elect to combine similar questions and responses; however, Carbon A List will not respond to inquiries or engage in one-on-one conversations about specific proposals.  

Our goal is to conduct a fair, transparent, and efficient selection process, and we thank you for your understanding and cooperation. We appreciate your interest in collaborating with Carbon A List and your adherence to these guidelines during the RFP process.

Ready to Submit?

Please take a moment to ensure all sections of the RFP have been reviewed:

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