Financial Management Officer
United States Department of State
An Equal Opportunity Employer
How to Apply
Announcement No: FMO-2016-0001
Position Title: Foreign Service Financial Management Officer
Open Period: April 7, 2016 – April 20, 2016
Series/Grade: FP – 0501 04, FP – 0501-03
Salary: FP-04 – $54,610 – $80,197
FP-03 – $67,395 – $98,972
Promotion Potential: FP-OC
Duty Locations: MANY Vacancies Throughout the World, WW
For More Information:FMOVacancyInfo@state.gov
Who May Apply
Must be a U.S. citizen. Potential applicants should read the entire announcement to ensure that they meet all of the requirements and understand a Foreign Service career.
Applicants may not reapply for one year after the previous application for the same positon.
If a State Department Suitability Review Panel denied suitability in the last two years, you may not apply (except Diplomatic Security Special Agent (SA) candidates whose denial was based solely on the unique requirements for SAs.)
Security Clearance Required
Permanent after tenure granted by a Foreign Service Specialist (FSS) Tenure Board.
About the Agency
The U.S. Department of State, our country’s lead foreign policy agency, provides a rich international experience whether at home or abroad, and opportunities to become responsible leaders.
Each day, our employees make a difference as they contribute to our global society and defend and advance our country’s interests and values. They work on the business of diplomacy and high priority issues that impact the safety, security, and prosperity of our world – human rights, environment, energy, food security, public health, and technology – all while experiencing a unique career.
Our talented workforce reflects and champions all of our strengths and diversity – personal, professional, and educational. We offer a workplace that values and rewards leadership, collaboration and innovation, and personal and professional development.
Foreign Service Financial Management Officers (FMO) serve at any of approximately 130 Foreign Service posts throughout the world and the United States (U.S.), including the Regional Financial Service Centers in Bangkok, Thailand, and Charleston, South Carolina. Overseas, they are responsible for the management of the financial activities of diplomatic and consular posts, including services to other U.S. government (USG) agencies.
Areas of responsibility include:
- Budgets and Financial Plans Services
- Accounts and Records Services
- Payrolling Services
- Vouchering Services
- Cashiering Services
The Department of State is developing a rank-order list of eligible hires for a limited number of FSS vacancies based on the needs of the Department.
To learn more about the Department of State and a career as an FSS, please visit us at https://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/specialist/career-tracks.
After completing orientation and initial training in Washington, D.C., an FSS usually is assigned to two overseas tours, each two years in length, directed by the Department. After the initial two tours, assignments will be for periods of one to three years overseas or in the U.S.
An FSS generally spends the majority of his/her career assigned to the Department of State’s overseas missions and at times, lives away from family and/or in difficult or isolated conditions.
Selected applicants will be notified of an Oral Assessment (OA) requirement in Washington D.C. For the selected applicants, all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the OA are the sole responsibility of the applicant.
- Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.
- Be able to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
- Be able to obtain an appropriate Foreign Service Medical Clearance.
- Be able to obtain a favorable Suitability Review Panel determination.*
- Be at least 20 years old and at least 21 years old to be appointed.
- Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).**
FMOs are responsible for the management of the financial activities of our diplomatic and consular posts abroad, at our Financial Services Centers, and in Washington, D.C. Typical duties include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Serve as Chief Financial Officer at the assigned location and act as certifying officers for USG agencies, with responsibility for the correctness and propriety of all payments.
- Provide a full range of financial services including development of budgets and financial plans, control of obligations and expenditures, preparation and audit of payment vouchers, administration of payroll plans, salary and allowance payments, cashier operations, the purchase of foreign currencies, and disbursement of funds.
- Negotiate and administer agreements with other USG agencies to provide administrative support services through Department of State facilities and personnel.
- Establish and maintain close relations with local banking officials and fiscal authorities, and conduct negotiations concerning exchange rates and banking services.
- Assist managers in program decision-making and planning by analyzing financial aspects of various programs so that managers can determine the best use of limited resources.
- Help develop and maintain the Department’s financial management system, ensuring compatibility with requirements of the Office of Management and Budget, the General Accounting Office and the Treasury Department, and that it meets user needs for accurate, timely financial data and processing.
- Utilize computers to record, analyze and report financial data and plans.
- Train and supervise Locally Employed Staff, U.S. Direct Hire Staff and contractors who provide continuity to the accounting and financial work done overseas and domestically.
- Establish controls, using policy guidelines and generally accepted accounting standards, for the prevention of waste, fraud and mismanagement.
Qualifications and Evaluations
Education: Applicants must possess at least a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 24 semester hours (36 quarter hours) in accounting or finance earned at the undergraduate or graduate level from an accredited school. Professional certifications such as CPA (certified public accountant) or graduate degrees from an accredited in business, government, or public administration are preferred with concentrations in accounting or finance.
Substitution of Education for Specialized Experience
Applicants may substitute graduate educational achievement earned at an accredited school (18 semester hours or 27 quarter hours is equivalent to one year) for specialized experience as follows:
- For one year of specialized experience: One full academic year of graduate education in business or public administration, with a concentration in accounting or finance.
- For two years of specialized experience: Completion of all requirements for a master’s or equivalent degree, or two full academic years of graduate education, in one of the fields described in paragraph “1” above.
- For three years of specialized experience: Completion of all requirements for a doctoral degree (Ph.D. or equivalent), or three full academic years of graduate education, in one of the fields described in paragraph “1” above.
You must submit a copy of your transcript(s). If you do not submit transcripts to support your educational achievements, you will not be given credit.
Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet federal job requirements for this position if the applicant provides an international education evaluation certifying the degree earned is equivalent to education received in the United States. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide such evidence when applying for federal jobs. For more information, please view How Foreign Education is evaluated for Federal Jobs.
Candidates will be evaluated on their total background including experience, education, awards, training, and self-development as it relates to the position. Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications. Part-time work experience will be prorated.
Applicants with finance-related higher education and specific experience in financial management or accounting are preferred. The education and specialized experience cited must be of a quality and depth that demonstrate your aptitude and potential to master the complex skills required of FMOs.
As USG certifying officers, with responsibility and personal liability for the correctness and propriety of all payments, FMOs must be able to personally verify the authenticity of documents relied upon for payment authorizations, which may involve visual inspections (e.g., handwritten receipts, stamped invoices, etc.)
In addition to Education requirements, applicants must possess a minimum of:
- Three years of Specialized Experience for consideration at FP-04 level or
- Four years of Specialized Experience for consideration at FO-03 level
Refer to the Education section about substituting educational achievements for Specialized Experience.
Specialized experience is professional work of progressively responsible nature which demonstrates that the applicant has acquired and can apply the specific knowledge, skills and abilities appropriate to an FMO.
Specialized Experience examples include, but are not limited to:
- Experience in financial management involving the preparation, justification, or management of an organization’s budget, or participation in budget hearings on appropriations for a USG agency.
- Experience as a financial management officer in a government agency or in a business or industrial concern with responsibilities for program planning, organization, methods and procedures.
- Experience in government or private sector accounting including interpretation and use of financial data for informed decision-making and the efficient and optimal use of resources.
- Teaching comprehensive budget, fiscal or accounting courses in an accredited educational institution above the high school level.
- Experience in the development and/or implementation of internal controls and compliance with laws and regulations related to financial management. This includes experience in the audit and financial management review of procedures and requirements.
- Experience in banking, currency purchasing or treasury operations.
- Experience in payroll plan development and/or administration.
Note: Consumer loan management/approval and individual tax preparation are not considered to be specialized experience.
Specialized experience must have been of a progressively responsible nature in a medium or large organization(s) with a multimillion dollar budget(s). Specialized experience must include more than one area listed below:
- budget preparation and execution,
- accounting and reporting,
- accounts payable,
- accounts receivable,
- cash management,
- tax reporting,
- audit and internal controls.
Supervisory experience, work with automated financial management systems, and evidence of working and/or living successfully in a multicultural environment is desirable. Such experience in the Foreign Service, or other USG agencies or organizations having international operations is preferred. For the FP-3 level at least one year of specialized experience must have been equivalent to the GS-11/FP-4 level; and for the FP-4 level at least one year must have been equivalent to the GS-9/FP-5 level.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA)
- Finance: Knowledge of the fundamentals of economics, statistics, accounting, banking and financial markets through requisite academic background in order to serve as a principal financial adviser to senior management.
- Budgeting Requirements: Knowledge acquired through training and experience, to formulate, present, justify, and execute budgets involving millions of dollars.
- Financial Procedures: Knowledge of financial procedures, applicable laws, regulations and other guidance in order to prepare financial plans that are accurate and timely to inform post management decisions, and to meet external reporting requirements.
- GAAP and GAAS: Knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) and interpretation and use of financial data for decision-making ensuring that all claims and payments are properly documented and in accordance with applicable rules and regulations.
- Accounting: Knowledge of the principles and application of cost accounting by preparing a variety of complex reports and analyses that aid management in setting priorities and allocating scarce resources in a way that best meets objectives.
- Banking: Knowledge of banking, currency purchases, foreign exchange rates, as well as disbursement including cashiering in order to use an organization’s financial systems to meet payment and collection obligations using the most effective means available.
- Fraud Detection: Knowledge of fraud detection, both in cash operations and financial systems.
- Management Principles: Knowledge of management principles as demonstrated by delegating responsibilities, providing guidance, leading by example, supervising subordinates, counseling employees, resolving conflicts, effecting disciplinary measures, and implementing basic EEO guidelines in order to effectively supervise staff.
- Management Controls: Knowledge and understanding of a strong system of management controls by using policy guidelines and generally accepted standards through checks and balances and constant monitoring of management controls to correct deficiencies and in order to maintain fiscal integrity and ensure resources are safeguarded against fraud, waste, and mismanagement.
- Pay and Benefits: Knowledge of payroll and benefit programs in an organizational setting including maintaining accounting and payroll databases.
- Accounting: Applying accounting concepts, including auditing and program evaluation concepts in order to promote sound business practices and process improvements.
- Financial Management: Management of financial resources by determining how funds will be spent in order to maximize benefits from limited resources and accounting for these expenditures in a way that is consistent with applicable rules and regulations.
- Communications: Communications in both individual and group contexts through written communication and oral communication on technical financial rules and issues such as budget allocations, financial obligations, pay and allowances, etc., with all levels of employees in a clear and concise manner and is easily understood by persons without a financial background. Preparing budget proposal documentation.
- Teamwork: Developing and working in teams encouraging teamwork on a daily basis in order to reduce conflict and enhance cooperation.
- Customer Service: Customer service with US and foreign nationals through interpersonal skills and cross-cultural sensitivities including providing information to provide information, balancing clients’ interests, readjusting priorities and resolving complaints.
- Conflict Resolution: Understanding the principles and techniques of persuasion and conflict resolution.
- Analyzing Financial Data: Acquiring and analyzing financial data, discerning relationships and trends, making projections, understanding host country and U.S. financial rules and regulations, and communicating results.
- Computer Programs: Using financial, communication and presentation applications.
- Personnel Management: Human resource planning and workforce planning
- Ability to Say No: Adroit at turning down requests and offering and offering acceptable alternatives when possible.
Superior oral and written communication skills: Applicants must demonstrate a strong command of the English language to include grammar, spelling and punctuation. FSS must consistently meet a high standard for English, both written (overall structure as well as grammar, spelling and punctuation) and spoken (overall structure as well as delivery, clarity and succinctness).
Benefits and Other Info
Review our Benefits
Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, paid leave, a chance to see the world and experience different cultures. While serving overseas benefits include tax-free housing and tax-free education allowance for dependent children between K-12 overseas.
For information on FS Salary, please visit https://careers.state.gov/faqs/faqs-wiki/foreign-service-salary-matching-pay-tables-danger-pay-overseas-moving-expenses-and-taxes.
*The Department of State Suitability Review Panel and standards are defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more information please visit: http://www.state.gov/m/a/dir/regs/fam.
**For more information about Veteran’s Preference and how it is applied in the FSS Selection Process, please visit: https://careers.state.gov/faqs/faqs-wiki/are-veterans-given-hiring-preference-.
No applicant will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service under sections §607, §608, §610 or §611 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu of separation under these provisions. In addition, no applicant will be considered who has previously been separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section §306 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu thereof.
An FSS separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 may not re-apply to be an FSS in the same skill code, but may apply for another skill code (or to be a Foreign Service Generalist).
Executive Branch agencies are barred by 5 US Code 3303 as amended from accepting or considering prohibited political recommendations and are required to return any prohibited political recommendations to sender. In addition, as mandated by 5 US Code 3110, relatives of federal employees cannot be granted preference in competing for these employment opportunities.
It is the policy of the Federal Government to treat all of its employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination whether discrimination is based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, membership in an employee organization, age, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors.
The Department of State provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodations for any part of the application or hiring process should so advise the Department at ReasonableAccommodations@state.gov, within one week of receiving their invitation to the oral assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.
How to Apply
Steps to Apply:
- Register on USAJOBS at www.usajobs.gov.
- Create an online federal resume. Your online resume may be typed or you may cut and paste an existing resume into the space provided. Your resume must include your work history for the last 10 years or since completing formal education, whichever is the shorter period.
- From the announcement, select the Apply Online button. This button will transfer you to Gateway to State.
- Follow the instructions at Gateway to State and answer self-assessment questions for the specific job to which you are applying, complete the required Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest in the online application.
- Your application is automatically saved as you proceed through it. You may interrupt your application process and return to it until you submit it. As specified in the announcement, upload or fax required or supporting materials.
- For those uploading or faxing documents, multiple pages must be sent as a single document. Only the most recently uploaded documents will attach to your application and will replace previously uploaded documents.
- If faxing, you will be prompted to print out a fax coversheet once you have successfully completed your application. It is essential that you use this coversheet for all faxes, because it is bar-coded to link your fax to your application.
- Complete, review, and submit.
- After you complete and submit the above including attaching all required documents, this becomes your online application and will be used to evaluate your qualifications for this career.
- You have until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date of this announcement to complete the application process and successfully upload or fax any required documentation outlined in this announcement.
- Application packages must be complete and received by the closing date to be considered. There are no exceptions.
- You should submit your application early, and may make changes as often as needed, up until the closing date of the announcement. We strongly recommended that you go back into your application and verify that your documents are attached. Due to the volume of applications, fax lines can become jammed and documents may not successfully attach to your application on the final days/hours of the announcement.
If you are having technical difficulty with the application process, please contact the Help Desk by calling 1-866-656-6830 or by emailing email@example.com. The helpdesk is available Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm Eastern Time.
For more information on the FSS hiring processes, please visit our FAQs at https://careers.state.gov/faqs. If you have any questions regarding FS careers, please visit our careers.state.gov site and post your question(s) on the appropriate Forum in the Connect section: https://careers.state.gov/connect/forums.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all required documents are uploaded and the application is fully completed before the closing deadline of this announcement. Any missing required documents or incomplete applications will result in the application not being considered further.
- Completed online application which contains the completed required Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest.
- Transcripts or other educational documents as stated in the “Qualifications Required” Section.
- Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted for the application process. It is essential that your transcript include your name, the school’s name, the degree and date awarded. A transcript missing any of the key elements above will not pass the minimum qualifications and the candidacy will be ended.
- Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.
- Additional required documents such as certifications or professional licenses as stated in the “Qualifications Required” Section.
- If claiming a 5 pt. veteran’s preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214. If claiming a 10 pt. veteran’s preference, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15, in addition to your DD-214.
The required questions provide an opportunity to describe examples and accomplishments from your education, life, and/or work experience that demonstrate your qualifications for becoming an FSS. Examples can be drawn from any part of your professional or personal experience. The information you give may be used in your oral assessment should you be invited and is an important factor in the competitive evaluation of applicants. Responses are limited to 300 words or fewer (maximum length 2,000 characters) for each item. You should compose your replies carefully, as one of the skills necessary to succeed as an FSS is the ability to write clearly and concisely. These items must be completed in the online application, not as attachment.
Substantive Knowledge: Describe your skills, knowledge and experience that are applicable to performing the work described in this vacancy announcement including the supervision and performance management of subordinate staff.
Intellectual Skills: Describe an example of when you used such skills to respond to unanticipated circumstances to solve a problem. (What was the situation? What steps did you take to think through the situation? How did your action address the situation? What were the results?)
Interpersonal Skills: Describe how you have used your interpersonal skills in a specific situation to resolve a problem or achieve a goal. (What was the goal or problem? What specific steps did you take? What was the result?)
Communication Skills: Describe a situation in which you used your communication skills, including foreign language skills if appropriate, to further an aim or achieve a goal. (What was the situation? What steps did you take to deal with the situation? What was the result?)
Management Skills: Describe a project you managed or helped to manage and how you planned and organized, set priorities and allocated time and resources to achieve the project’s goals. (What was the project? What steps did you take to manage the project? What was the result?)
Analytical Skills: Describe how you reviewed a large data set and developed a coherent analysis showing meaningful trends or themes for a management and/or other stakeholders.
Statement of Interest
Required narrative Statement of Interest equivalent to two-to-three pages typed and no more than 5000 characters, which discusses your:
Motivation for joining the Foreign Service,
Comments about your work experience, including special skills (e.g. computer), current licenses, honors, awards, special accomplishments, and/or training (with date completed) relating to this position,
Experience living or working in a multicultural environment, overseas or in the U.S.
The Statement of Interest must be completed inside the online application, not as an attachment.
What to Expect Next
Once the vacancy announcement closes, your application status on USAJobs will change from “received” to “referred to hiring agency only”. Within a few days of closing, all “referred” applicants will be notified via e-mail from the U.S. Department of State of the status of their applications.
Please note that the “referred” status on USAJobs will not be updated throughout the entire evaluation process.
Due to the high volume of applications, we ask all applicants to remain patient and await communication. It is not uncommon for several months to pass before you are informed of the results of your applications.
We recommend adding the Department of State domain (@state.gov) as an approved sender.
For more information, please visit https://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/specialist/selection-process.