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Sample Template


The ABC Nonprofit (ABC) is soliciting proposals from firms to provide audit and tax services. This request for proposal contains background information on ABC and specific information that must be included in the proposals submitted. The proposals must be submitted by no later than 5:00 PM, (insert date here), directly to our office at the following address or via email:

ABC Nonprofit
1000 Nowhere Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Attn: John Doe

Items to include are:

  • Type of organization – 501(c)(3) or other
  • Where and when it was incorporated
  • Where it is located
  • Mission
  • Budget size
  • Employee size and how many are full/part time
  • Description of the accounting function, number of the accounting employees, and job duties
  • Copy of the latest audited financial statements and tax returns


You want all the respondents to respond in accordance with how you lay out your request, so that you can easily compare them. The bidders should respond as follows:

  • Experience of the firm, size, location, and area of expertise. This tells you right away whether the firm can provide the expertise you need.
  • Engagement team assigned. Description of who will be working on your engagement and what their experience is compared to your organization’s size and mission.
  • Transition expertise. Description of plan for transitioning from prior auditors and what the auditors require your staff to do.
  • Approach.
    • Overall audit approach. Description of the overall audit philosophy and how it benefits your organization, including firm’s philosophy on communications with clients throughout the year, scheduling of engagements, and continuity of staff on audit.
    • Specific audit approach . Description of specific audit approach used in the audit to ensure that the auditors will cover all pertinent areas and also to know what will be required of your staff.
    • Audit effort. Description of where the engagement team will focus their attention, to ensure critical areas are appropriately covered.
  • Timing of the services. Detailed timetable by phase, to ensure it meets your needs, and to document expected delivery of the financial statements, management letter, and tax returns.
  • Nature of services. It is important to ensure that the proposal specifically sets out the exact nature of the services provided to ensure your organization knows exactly what it is getting for the fees quoted. (see below)
  • Fees. These need to be by service and by staff and hours, including professional fees and out of pocket expenses. Hourly rates by level of professional should be requested as well.

You should also ask for a client listing, resumes of the engagement partner and manager, 3 references, and copy of the firm’s most recent peer review report.

Scope of the Services Needed

Need a description of exactly what you want and when you want it. Services normally included are audit, pension plan audit, 990, 990-T, 5500 and state tax returns. If your organization receives federal funds, you may also be required to have an audit under the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-133.

Questions, Deadline, and Proposal Information

You need to set out if you want the proposal electronically or how many copies of the bound proposal you want and when you want it by. You also need to set out how you want to handle any questions from potential firms; do you want to have a meeting with them, have them send you written questions, or have them all attend a briefing meeting.