Fear Not the Software
This column, the second of two parts, is excerpted and adapted from "Buyers Guide to Audit, Anti-Fraud, and Assurance Software," by Richard Lanza, CFE, CPA, CMP, with Mort Goldman and Dean M. Brooks. ©2007 Ekares Analytical Inc. The book is available in the ACFE Bookstore on www.ACFE.com. Here we review the remaining three steps in hiring the right vendor.
STEP 3: DRAFT REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
After the business case, deliverables, and success metrics are set, they can be rolled in as the first part of the request for proposal (RFP).
It might be good to leave out some of the sensitive information from the RFP. For example, if a new system will save the company $500,000, giving the vendor such information provides them a bargaining chip in negotiations. (See Step 4.) Further, if you outline all the success metrics, the vendor might say, "Sure we can do that," when it might have never completed the task before. In these cases, keeping some of the success metrics unspecific allows room in the due diligence process to understand if a vendor truly understands what needs to be completed for the task.
If you're concerned with finding appropriate vendors, they can be identified through various sources. Some of the most common methods for identifying a vendor are reputation/references, publication advertisements, the Internet, published articles, and marketing literature.
After you've set the deliverables and success metrics for the project and identified the vendors for solicitation, the remaining task is establishing evaluation criteria. These criteria will drive the questions you'll ask external parties and vendors in the RFP and the final decision analysis. (See Step 5.) Below are suggested evaluation criteria and sample questions to ask vendors in RFPs.
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