Request for Proposal – Accounting System Implementation 

Statement of Purpose 

Meridian is looking to implement a new accounting system. The current system is out-of-date, heavily reliant on manual processes and needs significant upgrades and enhancements. The level of effort required warrants investigation of potential new systems. 

Background Information 

Meridian is a nonprofit, nonpartisan diplomacy center that connects leaders through culture and collaboration to drive solutions for global challenges. Founded 60 years ago, Meridian works with governments, the private sector and the diplomatic community to develop exchange, training, culture and convening programs to help leads better address global challenges and opportunities. 

Meridian employs approximately 115 employees and total revenues in 2019 were $42.5 million. The Finance Department includes ten employees focused on accounting, financial planning & analysis and compliance. We currently use Microsoft Dynamics SL version 2015 for general ledger, accounts payable and accounts receivable processing. Processes are quite labor intensive and paper-based. Planning and reporting is managed through Adaptive Insights, which was implemented in 2018. 

Meridian is primarily funded through Federal grants and contracts as well as contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals. There are some private sector contracts. Most programs are funded through Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State 

Scope of Work (SoW) 

The basic scope of work is to design, build and implementation a recommended cloud-based accounting system and provide requisite training. In addition to the core accounting system, we are looking for new systems to automate invoice processing and employee expense reporting. Specific items needed include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Redesign of the chart of accounts and cost center structure 
  • Redesign of accounts payable invoice processing to include automated workflow 
  • Redesign of employee expense reporting and credit card reconciliation processes to include automated workflow 
  • Improvement in automated allocations 
  • Improvement in revenue recognition processes related to grants and events 
  • Automated work flow in general ledger processes including storage and retention of journal entry supporting documentation 
Attributes to be evaluated include the following: 
  • Architecture – Multiple ledgers may be needed: actual, statistical and potentially cost share 
  • Modules & functionality – The new system should include core financial modules GL, AP, AR, bank reconciliation; project accounting, which is critical to managing Federally funded projects; user friendly adhoc query capability 
  • System integration – The new system must integrate with Paylocity for payroll purposes; Adaptive Insights for planning and reporting; and Salesforce for future grants management needs 
  • Reporting capability – Reporting capability should be user friendly. We are looking to be able to use and customize predesigned reports as well create reports, charts and graphs easily without a lot of downloading and rekeying of data into excel. We would hope to be able to accommodate changes in reporting requirements through drag and drop functionality if possible 

The proposal should include a detailed plan for the design & building of the new system, creation of a test & live environment, data migration, staff training and ongoing support. 

In addition to the system implementation assistance, Meridian will require a project manager to manage this project on the client side. As a separately priced item, please provide an estimate for such services. If your firm is not able to provide such a service, please provide a recommendation for someone who could serve in that capacity, if possible. 

Other deliverables 

Please include the following in your proposal: 

  • Experience and qualifications – Please summarize the experience and qualifications of your firm in managing system implementations and conversions especially with non-profit organizations. Please be specific regarding experience in converting form Microsoft Dynamics SL. Please summarize the experience and qualifications of engagement team members. Please be sure the team includes accountants as well as systems experts. 
  • Project management - Please summarize your project management approach and explain how you will manage the discovery, design & build, data migration, testing, go live and training phases of the project. 
  • Project plan – Please include a project plan with an estimated timeline for each phase 
  • Fees – Please estimate the time and fees required for this project. If you quote the project in terms of time and materials, please provide a not-to-exceed amount. 
  • Staff support – Please indicate the level of staff support needed from Meridian 
  • References – Please provide three references of clients who have converted to your recommended systems. It would be especially helpful if these clients were converting from Microsoft Dynamics SL. Also, these references should be for implementations that were relatively complex so as to be comparable. Our questions will focus on how challenges were managed. 

Contractual Conditions 

All contractors must adhere to Meridian’s policy on Human Trafficking and Privacy. 

Confidentiality

This RFP contains information that is proprietary and confidential to Meridian, who has all rights of copyright in it. Any dissemination, distribution, reproduction, or disclosure in any form of the content of this document is forbidden without prior written permission by Meridian contacts. This proposal document may not be used for any purpose other than by the vendors for developing their response to it, and all reasonable efforts must be taken by the vendors to ensure confidentiality of the document itself and any information provided therein. This document and any other information of a confidential nature which may be provided to the vendor during the course of the RFP process are and will be covered by the non-disclosure agreement in place between Meridian and the vendor. 

Obligations and Acceptance 

Meridian is not obliged to disclose the reasons behind any decision taken in response to this RFP to any parties. Meridian shall not be obligated to accept and reserves the right to, in its sole discretion, reject any proposal, in whole or in part. Meridian reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to waive non-compliance of any supplier. Meridian reserves the right to take any of the following courses of action, among other courses not listed below: 

  • Enter into negotiations with any vendor that provides the services to which this RFP relates; 
  • Develop a short list and re-issue a revised RFP; 
  • Meet with one or more firms to further discuss their proposals; 
  • Negotiate directly with one or more vendors; 
  • Re-package the offering and negotiate with one or more vendor 
  • Do nothing and keep the information on file for future reference. 

By submitting a proposal under this RFP, the vendor acknowledges that being selected as the winner of this RFP does not provide any guarantee or advantage toward being awarded any subsequent work in connection with the current subject matter or otherwise, including by being selected the winner of any subsequent RFP, and Meridian shall have no obligation to award any such subsequent work to the winner of the current RFP. 

Evaluation and Award Process

Meridian may ask for demonstrations and discussions regarding your recommendations. 

Proposals will be evaluated based on how well the proposed system meets Meridian’s needs and addresses current plan points including deliverables and SoW. Questions should be addressed to Theresa Furman, Chief Financial Officer at tfurman@meridian.org 

We anticipate the following schedule: 

  • August 10, 2020 Request for proposal issued by Meridian International Center 
  • August 24, 2020 Proposals due 
  • September 1, 2020 Selection announced 

We look forward to hearing from you. 

Theresa Furman | Chief Financial Officer, Meridian International Center