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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Staff Accountant
Department:  Department Of Agriculture
Agency:  National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Job Announcement Number:  NIFA-S13N-0028

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$51,630.00 to $115,742.00 / Per Year
Monday, August 12, 2013 to Monday, September 02, 2013
Full Time - Permanent
2 vacancies in the following location:
Washington DC, DC United StatesView Map
All US Citizens. Status Candidates, VEOA eligibles, reinstatement eligibles, and those eligible under noncompetitive or special appointing authorities may apply to Merit Promotion vacancy announcement number NIFA-M13N-0029.


The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is the Federal component of a nationwide extramural research, educational, and outreach system which supports the global, science-based agricultural enterprise and accomplishes its missions in partnership with land-grant universities and other academic and scientific organizations. To learn more about NIFA, please visit

This position is located in the Oversight Branch of the Policy and Oversight Division within the Office of Grants and Financial Management.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.


  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this position
  • Suitable for Federal employment as determined by a background investigation
  • You are required to serve a 1 year probationary period


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The Staff Accountant will be responsible for cost analysis activities including indirect cost development; maintaining information on indirect cost rates established by NIFA and other Federal agencies; the review, analysis, and resolution of audit findings contained in Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-133 issued audit reports; financial and administrative reviews at NIFA partner institutions; interpreting financial and accounting data records/reports; negotiating and advising on acceptable costs on various types of awards; providing assessments of NIFA and grantee internal controls systems; documenting and testing controls; and making recommendations for improvements in internal control systems.


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You must meet one of the Basic Qualifications listed below.

A. Degree: accounting; or a degree in a related field such as business administration, finance, or public administration that included or was supplemented by 24 semester hours in accounting. The 24 hours may include up to 6 hours of credit in business law. (The term "accounting" means "accounting and/or auditing". Similarly, "accountant" should be interpreted, generally, as "accountant and/or auditor.").

B. Combination of education and experience: at least 4 years of experience in accounting, or an equivalent combination of accounting experience, college-level education, and training that provided professional accounting knowledge. The applicant's background must also include one of the following:

1. Twenty-four semester hours in accounting or auditing courses of appropriate type and quality. This can include up to 6 hours of business law;

2. A certificate as Certified Public Accountant or a Certified Internal Auditor, obtained through written examination; or

3. Completion of the requirements for a degree that included substantial course work in accounting or auditing, e.g., 15 semester hours, but that does not fully satisfy the 24-semester-hour requirement of paragraph A, provided that (a) the applicant has successfully worked at the full-performance level in accounting, auditing, or a related field, e.g., valuation engineering or financial institution examining; (b) a panel of at least two higher level professional accountants or auditors has determined that the applicant has demonstrated a good knowledge of accounting and of related and underlying fields that equals in breadth, depth, currency, and level of advancement that which is normally associated with successful completion of the 4-year course of study described in paragraph A; and (c) except for literal nonconformance to the requirement of 24 semester hours in accounting, the applicant's education, training, and experience fully meet the specified requirements.

IN ADDITION TO THE BASIC REQUIREMENT, YOU MUST ALSO MEET SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS DESCRIBED BELOW.  Specialized Experience is typically experience which is directly related to the work of the position and which has equipped the applicant with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position.  

At the GS-09 level: Qualifying experience for GS-09 includes one year of specialized experience comparable to GS-07 in the Federal service.  Examples of such experience include the following: verifying that grantees correctly applied their indirect cost rates; reviewing grantees' calculations of basic indirect cost rates; assisting with financial/compliance/internal/administrative reviews; assisting with resolution of non-Federal (OMB Circular A-133) and Federal audits (OIG performed).


You have completed 2 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or a master's or equivalent graduate degree.

At the GS-11 level: Qualifying experience for GS-11 includes one year of specialized experience comparable to GS-09 in the Federal service.  Examples of such experience include those examples listed above as well as analyzing grantees' calculations of indirect cost rates; performing financial/compliance/internal/administrative reviews; performing resolution of non-Federal (OMB Circular A-133) and Federal audits (OIG performed).


You have completed 3 years of progressively higher-level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. or a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree.

At the GS-12 level: Qualifying experience for GS-12 includes one year of specialized experience comparable to GS-11 in the Federal service.  Examples of such experience include the following: reviewing indirect cost rate proposals; recommending indirect cost rate adjustments; preparing rate agreements; conducting vulnerability assessments and reviews of internal control systems; conducting financial compliance and administrative reviews (onsite or desk reviews); and resolving non-Federal (OMB Circular A-133) and Federal (OIG performed) audits.

At the GS-13 level: Qualifying experience for GS-13 includes one year of specialized experience comparable to GS-12 in the Federal service.  Examples of such experience include the following: completing all aspects of indirect cost negotiations (reviewing indirect cost proposals, computing/developing indirect cost rates, recommending rate adjustments or changes in methodology, preparing/issuing rate agreements, etc.); planning and conducting vulnerability assessments and evaluations of internal control system; conducting all phases of financial compliance and administrative reviews (planning, fieldwork testing, report writing, etc.); and resolving non-Federal (OMB Circular A-133) and Federal (OIG-performed) audits.

Qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of this vacancy announcement.

Applicants must be available to report for duty at the time a selection is made.

Selections are typically made within 30 days of the closing date of the announcement.


Your application will be evaluated and rated under Category Rating Procedures. Qualified candidates will be placed for selection consideration into three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veteran's preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Your resume will be reviewed and compared against your responses to the online questionnaire. We strongly encourage you to answer every question that accompanies this vacancy, as your responses will better highlight your specific qualifications.

Your qualifications will be evaluated on the following competencies:

For the GS-9 & GS-11 grade levels

  • Knowledge of accounting and auditing concepts, practices and techniques
  • Ability to collect, analyze, evaluate and interpret financial/accounting data
  • Knowledge of the area of cost accounting, cost principles, audit resolution, and indirect cost rates

For the GS-12 & GS-13 grade levels

  • Skill in the area of cost accounting, cost principles, and indirect costs in order to advise on price and cost analysis techniques
  • Knowledge of accounting and auditing concepts, practices and techniques, together with knowledge of basic trends and current developments in the accounting/auditing profession
  • Ability to clearly present ideas and information orally
  • Ability to clearly present ideas and information in writing

Please note that your resume must thoroughly support your responses to the assessment questionnaire.  High self-assessment in the applicant questions that is not supported by information in your resume may eliminate you from best-qualified status and subsequent referral to the selecting official.

Displaced/Surplus Employees:  Individuals eligible under the USDA Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) must be well qualified for the position to receive consideration for special priority selection.  CTAP and ICTAP eligibles within the local commuting area will be considered well qualified if the applicant meets the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors, and is rated in the Well Qualified Category as described in the How You Will Be Evaluated section.  Employees seeking CTAP/ICTAP eligibility must submit a copy of the agency notice, a copy of their most recent performance rating and a copy of their most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level and duty location.  Please annotate your application to reflect that you are applying as a CTAP or ICTAP eligible.  
CLICK HERE for additional information on CTAP and ICTAP.


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A benefits package is authorized for this position. CLICK HERE for more information concerning federal benefits. 

Travel and relocation may be authorized.


Selective Service System:
Males over age 18 who were born after December 31, 1959, must have registered with the Selective Service System (or have an exemption) to be eligible for Federal employment. CLICK HERE for further information.

Optional Form 306, Declaration for Federal Employment:
If you are selected for this position, you will be required to complete this form before an offer may be made. CLICK HERE to access the Optional Form 306.

Financial Disclosure Requirement:
The Research, Education and Economics (REE) agencies inspire public confidence in our missions by maintaining high ethical principles. Employees are subject to Federal government-wide regulations and statutes as described on the REE Ethics Webpage. You may be required to submit a financial disclosure report if hired for this position.

False Statements:
If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; may be fired after beginning work; or may be fined or jailed.

Reasonable Accommodation:
Reasonable accommodation is provided to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, or have questions regarding reasonable accommodation and/or accessibility for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact the Disability Program Manager on 202-720-6161 or through the DC Relay Service on (202) 855-1234 (TDD). The decision to grant reasonable accommodation is made on a case-by-case basis.


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Your application package must be complete by 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, September 02, 2013.  You must apply online or by fax (see below for details).  Applications sent by mail (including e-mail) or hand-delivered will not be accepted.  Certain individuals are entitled to file a late application and must contact the Agency Contact listed below for details and application instructions.

Choose either Option A or Option B to apply for this position:

Option A:  Online Application

Click the Apply Online button to create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account.  Follow the prompts to complete the occupational questionnaire and upload (or reuse) supporting documents.  You must click the Submit My Answers button at the end of the process.

To verify your application is complete, log into your USAJOBS account,, select the Application Status link and then select the more information link for this position. The Details page will display the status of your application, the documentation received and processed, and any correspondence the agency has sent related to this application. Your uploaded documents may take several hours to clear the virus scan process.

To return to an incomplete application, log into your USAJOBS account and click Update Application in the vacancy announcement. You must re-select your resume and/or other documents from your USAJOBS account or your application will be incomplete.

To fax supporting documents that you are unable to upload:
1. Click here to print a fax cover page
2. Complete all blocks on the cover page using Vacancy ID 935355.  Documents will not be processed if information is missing.
3. Fax the completed cover page and your documents to 1-478-757-3144.

Option B:  Fax

If you cannot apply online, follow these steps to fax your complete application package.

1. Click the following link to print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire
2. Print the 1203FX form, which you will use to provide your responses to the occupational questionnaire, and  
3. Fax the completed 1203FX (all 6 pages), your resume, and supporting documents (including those specified in the Required Documents section below) to 1-478-757-3144.  The 1203FX will serve as the cover page for your fax transmission and must be placed on top of all other documents.


The following documents are required:

  • Resume (OF-612 will not be accepted)
  • Assessment questionnaire (completed online or submitted by fax using the 1203FX)

In addition, you may need to submit supplemental documentation (as outlined below).  Failure to submit supplemental information by the closing date of this announcement will result in the loss of the particular consideration you are requesting.

Veterans' Preference:  To determine your eligibility for Veterans' Preference, CLICK HERE.  To claim 5-point veterans' preference, submit a copy of your DD-214 or other proof of eligibility.  To claim 10-point veterans' preference, submit an SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference, plus the documentation required by that form.  

Transcripts:  If you indicate that you possess any form of post-secondary education, you must submit transcripts detailing your coursework and/or degree(s). At the time your education was obtained, the entire institution, applicable school within the institution, or the applicable curriculum must have been appropriately accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education. You may lose consideration for this position if you fail to provide this information. CLICK HERE for more information on this topic.

Foreign Education:  To receive credit for education outside the U.S., you must show proof that the education has been submitted to a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign educational credentials and that such education has been deemed to be at least equivalent to that gained in conventional U.S. education programs. There is normally a fee associated with this service. For a list of private organizations that are accredited to evaluate education, visit National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.


Wahkeela Hines
Phone: (301)504-2373
Agency Information:
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
800 9th Street SW
Washington, DC


Once your complete application package (including all required documents) is received, we will conduct an evaluation of your qualifications and determine your ranking.  The best qualified candidates will be referred for further consideration and possible interview.  You will be notified of the outcome.

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