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In preparation for the big annual April 15 income tax filing deadline, state and local government agencies have published bids and requests for proposals (RFPs) for auditing services. According to Onvia’s Project Center, these opportunities appear to be front-loaded in the months leading up to the April 15th tax deadline. In Q4 2014 and Q1 2015, state and local governments issued 408 bids & RFPs and issued 88 awards.

ExampleYork County in South Carolina issued an RFP on February 3, 2015 for performing property tax audit services. The county wants to keep property owners complying with the state’s requirements for filing property tax returns. Services will include discovery of businesses not providing listings to the auditor, valuation assistance on businesses that provide no support information and auditing existing accounts for accurate reporting.

ExampleThe City of New Brunswick in New Jersey awarded Samuel Klein & Co. an $87,125 contract in January for auditing services for 2015.

Here's a look at which states align and don't align with the Federal income tax deadline, as well as those with no income taxes:

Which states have the April 15 tax filing deadline?

Map: Odd tax dates and no state income tax

Quarterly Trends for Targeting State & Local Financial Auditing Bids & RFPs

Onvia data shows that the fourth quarter, followed by the first quarter of the year tend to be the strongest for bids & RFPs. The fourth quarter may be slow for some industries with the holidays, but for auditing firms pursuing state and local contracts, the bid & RFP opportunities increase significantly and should be targeted during this time. In 2013, solicitations jumped by 78% from Q3 to Q4, and by 50% in 2014. This trend of fourth quarter bid & RFP increases should continue in 2015.

ExampleThe District of Columbia’s Department of Housing and Community Development released an RFP in December 2014, seeking a contractor to provide internal audit, accounting and compliance technical assistance. The work also would include supporting the department’s transition to a new financial structure.

Solicitations for financial auditing services, though fewer in quantity, continue to be announced throughout the year and it should be on the radar for auditing firms looking to take advantage of these opportunities in the second and third quarters of the year:

ExampleThe County of San Diego in California issued an RFP in March 2015 for sales and use tax auditing, recovery, analysis, and reporting services. The county gets its revenue from the sales and use taxes collected throughout its unincorporated areas. Officials expect to issue an award July 1, 2015.

ExampleThe City of Mission in Texas released an RFP on March 28, 2015 for a three-year contract for its annual audit requirements for fiscal years ending September 30, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Strongest Quarters for Auditing bids & RFPs:

Year (Quarter) Bids-RFPs Awards
2015 (Q1) 202 43
2014 (Q4) 206 45
2014 (Q1) 213 30
2013 (Q4) 291 43
2013 (Q1) 181 190

Quarterly Trends for Financial Auditing Contract Awards

The highest number of awards over the last two years were published in the second quarter. In Q2 2014, contract awards for various auditing services rose by 76% over Q1 to 124 awards. The third quarter of the year may be the second strongest for awards based on award data from Onvia’s Term Contract Center.

ExampleThe Dunkirk City School District in New York awarded a one year contract in October 2014 to Drescher and Malecki, LLP for annual compliance and financial statement auditing services.

ExampleIn January of this year Edgefield County in South Carolina awarded a one year utility auditing services contract to Troy and Banks to ensure that the county is not being charged erroneously utilities such as electricity, gas, water and sewer, telephone cellular and internet services.

Strongest Quarters for Auditing Awards:

Year (Quarter) Bids-RFPs Awards
2014 (Q3) 138 60
2014 (Q2) 180 124
2013 (Q3) 123 89
2013 (Q2) 154 72

Key Takeaways for Auditing Firms Pursuing State & Local Contract Opportunities

The average contract value for financial auditing services range between $25,000 and $100,000, and minority-owned and woman-owned businesses receive their share of the awards. In 2013 and 2014, these firms steadily received between 3% and 8% of awards. So far in 2015, 23% of financial auditing awards were awarded to minority, woman and disabled-veteran-owned firms.

Public entities release their solicitations for auditing services mainly in the first and fourth quarters of the year with awards coming early in the year. So far in 2015, opportunities and awards for auditing services are continuing at the same pace compared to the previous two years.