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Kenya: Authorized Certifying Officer (American Citizens ONLY)

Organization: US Agency for International Development
Country: Kenya
Closing date: 06 Jun 2018

  1. POSITION TITLE: Authorized Certifying Officer

  2. MARKET VALUE: $63,600 to $82,680 equivalent to GS-12

Final compensation will be negotiated within the listed market value.

  1. PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: Two (2) years, with three (3) one-year options Not-to-exceed five (5) subject to funding availability and satisfactory performance or better.

  2. PLACE OF PERFORMANCE: Nairobi, Kenya

  3. SECURITY LEVEL REQUIRED: USAID/W issued clearance level at the Facility/Computer Access Level

  4. STATEMENT OF DUTIES/POSITION DESCRIPTION

Background/Introduction

The Office of Financial Management (OFM) in Nairobi is a regional financial management platform that supports USAID programs within the East Africa Region. Missions served include: Kenya, Somalia and Sudan. The operating year budget for program funds and operating expenses is approximately $560 million. Excluding payroll, approximately 10,000 payment transactions are processed annually, exceeding $200 million. OFM also provides ad hoc support to Eritrea, Mauritius, and Seychelles. Additionally, in the past year OFM has provided certification services to Central African Republic, Rwanda, Tanzania, India, Philippines, and Uganda in excess of $1 million per year, to name a few.

OFM is headed by a Controller, supported by a Deputy Controller, two mid-level Financial Management Officers, an Authorized Certifying Officer (ACO), and an FSN staff complement of 45 personnel organized into four units: Financial Analysis, Financial Assessment, Accounting, and Accounts Payable.

The ACO works under the direct supervision of the Controller or his/her designee, and is an integral senior member of OFM.

Basic Function of Position:

The Authorized Certifying Officer (ACO) is primarily responsible for certifying all payments that emanate from USAID/Kenya and East Africa (KEA) and its client Missions. The ACO is also responsible for the overall supervision of the Accounts Payable staff, the internal control systems that underlie the payment and certification process and the integrity of all payments. He/she ensures compliance with all Federal laws and policies that relate to payments.

The ACO is charged with the responsibility of final review and authorization of vouchers for payment and is held accountable for public funds. He/she has no public funds in their physical possession but is personally accountable for and required to make good to the U.S. Government the amount of any illegal or improper payment. The ACO has a serious burden to avoid liability or to qualify for relief from an erroneous payment, and must rely upon the financial controls system in place to ensure the propriety of payments. To avoid personal liability, the ACO must be knowledgeable of financial controls systems and comply with established procedures, and is responsible to ensure that funds are legally available for payment; services for which bills have been presented have been rendered; advancement of funds prior to rendition of services is legally proper; vouchers are correct; computations are correct; and the amount of any illegal, improper, or incorrect payment is not certified for payment. The ACO can have a definitive impact on the outcome of vouchers relating to internal (employees) or external (contractors, grantees, vendors) payments. The ACO must use sound judgment and refer to frequently complex government guidelines when examining and reviewing vouchers and considering or disallowing all or parts of payments funded with OE/Program appropriations.

Duties and Responsibilities

The ACO serves as the Mission’s primary certifying officer and ensures that payments are certified in a timely fashion. The ACO is responsible for:

  1. (70%) Review for correctness and certify for payment complex invoices and/or claims for payment involving program funded contracts, grants, host country contracts, PASAs, ILs and Commodity Import Program letters of commitment. Also review and certify a full range of complex administrative claims, including international travel vouchers and other entitlement payments. Claims reviewed include a variety of payment provisions including payroll claims, fixed price, cost reimbursement and variable cost contracts and require judgment in adapting USAID procedures to Kenyan business customs and laws. Review and analysis includes:

a) Ensuring that the obligation contains appropriate authorizations and administrative approval, and is supported by proper evidence showing that a valid, binding agreement has been executed and properly recorded;

b) Ensuring that the request for payment is in accordance with the provisions, terms, and conditions of the obligating document;

c) Verification that funds are available and that established controls to prevent improper or duplicate payment are in place and effectively working;

d) Ensuring proper application of the Prompt Payment Act by processing vouchers within the correct time frame;

e) Ensuring that disbursements comply with USG and host country laws and regulations such as the Improper Payments Act, and all other rules and regulations described in the relevant chapters of USAID’s Automated Directives System (ADS);

f) Preparing and communicating rationales concerning any portions of a claim where payment is suspended or disallowed;

g) Communicating with payees and other mission staff to provide guidance, interpret the agency’s voucher auditing requirements, and/or request clarifying information regarding proposed payments.

  1. (10%) Function as the primary mission liaison with the Treasury Department and USDO local banks to transmit payment files, provide procedural guidance, identify system issues, operate complex payment system interfaces, and troubleshoot local bank payment issues as they arise.

The ACO is responsible for ensuring the physical security of computers and sensitive banking information. He/She is also responsible for communicating with Citibank and downloading and distributing monthly statements for items procured using the government credit card.

  1. (5%) Projects as assigned by the Controller/Deputy Controller, including identifying and assisting in the development of Phoenix reporting and system applications for use by the OFM Accounts Payable section to maintain financial controls.

  2. (5%) Monitor program and OE advances to ensure conformity to advance aging regulations, and take action as necessary to bring excess amounts into compliance.

  3. (5%) Assist the Deputy Controller and the Controller to review and ensure that appropriate procedures and internal controls are in place and are adhered to, including review and clearance of bank reconciliations and travel authorizations. Ensure all payment reconciliations are prepared and reported in an accurate and timely manner. Continuously monitoring and reviewing operations with an emphasis on suggestions and recommendations for process efficiency, improvement and cost reduction;

  4. (5%) Training and mentoring to new Accounts Payable staff and other duties as assigned.

Position Elements

a. Degree of Responsibility for Decision-making: This position requires the ability to exercise independent professional judgment within the scope of responsibilities based on the policy directives determined by the Controller and/or his designee.

b. Projects as assigned by the Controller/Deputy Controller, including identifying and assisting in the development of Phoenix reporting and system applications for use by the OFM Accounts Payable section to maintain financial controls.

c. Level of Complexity for Work Assignments: Review for correctness and certify for payment complex invoices and/or claims for payment involving program funded contracts, grants, host country contracts, PASAs, ILs and Commodity Import Program letters of commitment. Also review and certify a full range of complex administrative claims, including international travel vouchers and other entitlement payments. Claims reviewed include a variety of payment provisions including payroll claims, fixed price, cost reimbursement and variable cost contracts and require judgment in adapting USAID procedures to Kenyan business customs and laws.

d. Knowledge Level required: Familiarity with automated financial management systems, principles, practices, and procedures related to management of the accounts payable function and proficiency in desktop computing are required. Knowledge of federal/USAID acquisition regulations, legislation related to prompt payments and improper payments, and USG foreign affairs manual and travel regulations is highly desirable. Must be knowledgeable of financial controls systems and comply with established procedures, and is responsible to ensure that funds are legally available for payment; services for which bills have been presented have been rendered; advancement of funds prior to rendition of services is legally proper; vouchers are correct; computations are correct; and the amount of any illegal, improper, or incorrect payment is not certified for payment. Experience using USAID’s Phoenix financial management system will be an advantage.

e. Supervisory Controls: The ACO works under the direct supervision of the Controller or his/her designee

f. Guidelines for the Required Work: The available guidelines are Automated Directives System (ADS), Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), Foreign Affairs Handbook (FAH), Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR), Mission Orders, etc. but the work s/he provides is in itself providing guidance to and ensuring guidelines are enforced by Mission staff. In many instances, the incumbent will have to rely on his/her knowledge and extensive prior experience to enforce guidelines as s/he carries out his/her duties. The incumbent must be able to use excellent judgment and the ability to deal with ambiguity at all levels.

g. Complexity of the work environment or its potential effect on the position’s responsibilities: Review for correctness and certify for payment complex invoices and/or claims for payment involving program funded contracts, grants, host country contracts, PASAs, ILs and Commodity Import Program letters of commitment. Also review and certify a full range of complex administrative claims, including international travel vouchers and other entitlement payments. Claims reviewed include a variety of payment provisions including payroll claims, fixed price, cost reimbursement and variable cost contracts and require judgment in adapting USAID procedures to Kenyan business customs and laws.

h. Exercise of Judgment: Exercises independent professional judgment within the scope of responsibilities based on the policy directives determined by the Controller and/or his/her designee.

i. Scope and Effect of the Work Performed: The incumbent will review for correctness and certify for payment complex invoices and/or claims for payment involving program funded contracts, grants, host country contracts, PASAs, ILs and Commodity Import Program letters of commitment. Also review and certify a full range of complex administrative claims, including international travel vouchers and other entitlement payments. Claims reviewed include a variety of payment provisions including payroll claims, fixed price, cost reimbursement and variable cost contracts and require judgment in adapting USAID procedures to Kenyan business customs and laws.

j. Level and Purpose of Contacts: There is an expected continuous contact with internal and external customers. He/she functions as the primary mission liaison with the Treasury Department and USDO local banks to transmit payment files, provide procedural guidance, identify system issues, operate complex payment system interfaces, and troubleshoot local bank payment issues as they arise.

The ACO is responsible for ensuring the physical security of computers and sensitive banking information. He/she is also responsible for communicating with Citibank and downloading and distributing monthly statements for items procured using the government credit card.

k. Supervision Exercised: None

l. Security Clearance Requirement: The selected candidate must have a HSPD-12 (Facilities and Computer Access).

m. Travel Requirement: None

n. Support Items: The incumbent will be provided with the support services, equipment, and supplies necessary to perform the work e.g. desktop computer, shared office equipment (such as printer, scanner and shredder), office supplies and support services.**o.** Sunday Pay: Is not authorized.**

10. AREA OF CONSIDERATION:

· U.S. Citizens currently residing in Kenya1.

· Submit a complete application as outlined in the solicitation section titled APPLYING;

· Be able to obtain a USAID/W issued clearance level at the Facility/Computer Access Level;

· Be able to obtain a medical clearance;

· Employment is subject to funds availability and all the required approvals obtained

11. PHYSICAL DEMANDS:

  1. The primary location of work will be on the U.S. Embassy/USAID compound in Nairobi, Kenya. No special demands are required to perform the work.

SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS

1. Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance from a recognized university is required. Professional certification such as CPA or ACCA is preferred.

2. Prior Work Experience: 10 years or more of experience in accounting/finance in a large for-profit/not-for-profit organization, government department or international NGO is required.

3. Post Entry training: In-house courses, as needed, and on-the-job training

4. Language Proficiency: Good command of the English language (written and verbal) is required.

5. Knowledge: Familiarity with automated financial management systems, principles, practices, and procedures related to management of the accounts payable function and proficiency in desktop computing are required. Knowledge of federal/USAID acquisition regulations, legislation related to prompt payments and improper payments, and USG foreign affairs manual and travel regulations is highly desirable. Must be knowledgeable of financial controls systems and comply with established procedures, and is responsible to ensure that funds are legally available for payment; services for which bills have been presented have been rendered; advancement of funds prior to rendition of services is legally proper; vouchers are correct; computations are correct; and the amount of any illegal, improper, or incorrect payment is not certified for payment. Experience using USAID’s Phoenix financial management system will be an advantage.

6. Abilities and Skills: Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are required to interact with a multitude of stakeholders. Analytical ability and the capacity to interpret and apply rules and regulations with consistency are necessary. The ability to manage people and processes is critical to success in this position.

I. EVALUATION AND SELECTION FACTORS

Applicants meeting the basic requirements will be evaluated based on information presented in the application, an interview process and reference checks as necessary. All applicants must address each qualification detailed above with specific and comprehensive information supporting each item. These qualifications, which serve as the selection criteria, will be evaluated based on the following points below.

Education: Null points; minimum criteria required

Prior Work Experience 40 points

Knowledge 30 points

Skills and Ability 30 Points

Total: 100 points

II. LIST OF REQUIRED FORMS FOR PSC HIRES

Once the CO informs the successful Offeror about being selected for a contract award, the CO will provide the successful Offeror instructions about how to complete and submit the following forms.

  • Medical History and Examination (DS 6561)
  • Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions (SF-85P)
  • Declaration for Federal Employment (OF-306)
  • Fingerprint Card(s)

III. BENEFITS AND ALLOWANCES

As a matter of policy, and as appropriate, a Local Hire PSC is normally authorized the following benefits and allowances:

  1. BENEFITS:

(a) Employer’s FICA Contribution

(b) Contribution toward Health and Life Insurance

(c) Pay Comparability Adjustment

(d) Eligibility for Worker’s Compensation

(e) Annual and Sick Leave

(f) Annual Increase (pending a satisfactory performance evaluation)

*This position is a Local Hire U.S PSC and receives only the limited benefits specified above. Any contract offered under this solicitation will not offer benefits that are available to Offshore Hire U.S PSC. Benefits that the successful candidate will not receive include, but are not limited to:*

1. Access to Embassy medical facilities, Cash Checking, AEA Commissary Access, Pouch Mail Service (DPO/APO)

2. Cost of Travel to and from Post;

3. Shipment and storage of UAB and HHE;

4. Shipment of POV (Private Own Vehicle);

5. R&R and Home Leave Travel; and

6. Housing

1 Resident hire means a U.S. citizen who, at the time of hire as a PSC, resides in the cooperating country as a spouse or dependent of a U.S. citizen employed by a U.S. government agency or under any U.S. government-financed contract or agreement, or for reasons other than for employment with a U.S. government agency or under any U.S. government-financed contract or agreement. A U.S. citizen for purposes of this definition also includes persons who at the time of contracting are lawfully admitted permanent residents of the United States.

How to apply:

Interested applicants are required to submit the following:

(1) Eligible offerors are required to complete and submit the offer form AID 302-3, “Offeror Information for Personal Services Contracts,” available at https://www.usaid.gov/forms/aid-302-3

(2) An up-to-date curriculum vitae (CV) or resume (no more than five pages)**, cover letter** explaining your qualifications for the position, copies of all relevant certificates and include three (3) to five (5) references, who are not family members or relatives, with working telephone and e-mail contacts.

(3) Offers must be received by the closing date and time specified in Section I, item 3 and submitted following the steps below;

Step 1: Register in Myhotkenyanjobs at www.myhotkenyanjobs.com if not already registered. If already registered, log in and ensure all updated attachments are uploaded.

Step 2: Attach a cover letter, AID 302-3 and copies of all relevant certificates including referee information. Scan and attach them as one attachment on section marked “Upload Certificates” under my profile. Note: All offers MUST be submitted online. Incomplete application packages will not be considered.

Step 3: Search for this position and click on Complete Questionnaire to Apply. Each offeror must answer all the questions in the Questionnaire.

(4) To ensure consideration of offers for the intended position, Offerors must prominently reference the Solicitation number in the offer submission/cover letter.