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All agencies hire a large number of specialists in this field including auditors, accountants, budget Analysts, payroll technicians, cash clerks, quality control, forensic accountants, to name a few. Many of the positions are in the GS-500 Accounting and Budget Group. Jobs do extend to other families including GS-1805 auditor / investigator positions and in the GS-301 series for program managers and supervisors.

This group includes all classes of positions, the duties of which are to advise on, administer, supervise, or perform professional, technical, or related clerical work of an accounting, budget administration, related financial management, or similar nature.

There are 115,685 federal workers employed in this group of which 1,511 work in the U.S. Territories or overseas in foreign countries. All cabinet level and large agencies employ a fair number of workers in this series.

The largest employers of this group are the Department of the Treasury with 33,058 followed by the Department of Defense with 15,804 and the VA with 8,982. There are positions available in most agencies.

The following information is compiled from numerous federal documents including qualification standards, job announcements, career articles, occupation flysheets, FEDSCOPE, OPM, Agency websites, interviews with federal employees, The United States Government Manual, and from the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.


Accounting, Finance, & Budget Jobs Menu

Job Listings by Occupation

Click the job title for job listings, number employed, job series definitions, duties and qualifications.

Financial Admin & Program GS-0501
Financial Clerical & Assistance GS-0503
Financial Management GS-0505
Accounting GS-0510
Auditing GS-0511
Internal Revenue Agent GS-0512
Accounting Technician GS-0525
Tax Technician GS-0526
Cash Processing GS-0530
Civilian Pay GS-0544
Military Pay GS-0545
Budget Analysis GS-0560
Budget Clerical and Assistance GS-0561
Tax Examining GS-0592

Job Series Definitions

These position descriptions are excerpted from the qualification standards for each job title in this group. In the General Schedule position classification system is established under chapter 51 of title 5, United States Code. The term “General Schedule” or “GS” denotes the major position classification system and pay structure for white collar work in the Federal government. Agencies that are no longer subject to chapter 51 have replaced the GS pay plan indicator with agency-unique pay plan indicators. For example, the Bureau of Prisons uses GL instead of the GS designation. For this reason, reference to General Schedule or GS is often omitted from the individual qualification standard sheets.

A brief introduction for major occupations within this group is provided below.

Financial Administration Program, GS-0501

This series covers positions that perform, supervise, or manage administrative work of a fiscal, financial management, accounting or budgetary nature that is not classifiable to another more specific professional or administrative series in the Accounting and Budget Group, GS-0500.

There are no titles specified for this occupation. Agencies may construct titles that appropriately describe the work. The title, Financial Manager, is to be used only for positions classified to the Financial Management Series, GS-0505.

The federal government employs 28,058 in this occupation of which 355 work overseas. The Department of the Treasury employs 5,328, the Department of the Navy employs 6,472, and the Department of Defense has 3,220 workers in this series. There are workers in this series in all cabinet level departments, most large agencies and many small agencies.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

Financial Clerical and Assistance GS-0503

This series includes positions that involve performing or supervising clerical or technician work in support of accounting, auditing, budgeting, or financial management functions when no other established series in the Accounting and Budget Group, GS-500, is appropriate. The work requires a knowledge of the procedures and techniques involved in carrying out the work of an organization and involves application of procedures and practices within the framework of established guidelines.

The federal government employs 6,958 in this occupation of which 121 work overseas. The Department of the Treasury employs 2,160, the Department of the Navy employs 919, and the VA has 2,158 workers in this series. There are workers in this series in all cabinet level departments, most large agencies and many small agencies.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series. Click on “Private Sector Job Listings” to search for related occupations in the private sector.)

Employees in this series perform clerical and technician work in support of accounting, budget, financial management, or fiscal operations not readily classified to another more specific series, or that includes a combination of work classifiable to two or more series in the GS-500 group when no one series predominates. Clerical work involves compiling figures, maintaining records, compiling reports, or performing other procedural work which represents the transactions or business of an organization. Technician work involves various kinds of duties which require applying a practical knowledge of regulations and precedent cases. Technicians apply specific procedures and established methods. Some technicians may perform specialized non administrative work preparing data for automated financial systems or may support professionals by writing synopses of audits or financial reports or deciding entitlement against definitive criteria.

The discussion of clerical and technician work in the grading criteria in this guide presents valuable criteria concerning the nature of the two types of work.

Titles are not specified for positions classified to this series. In constructing titles, follow guidance in the Introduction to the Position Classification Standards. Positions graded GS-4 and below should have a Clerk title. Positions graded GS-5 and above should have a Technician title.

Financial Management Series, GS-0505

This series includes all classes of positions the duties of which are to manage or direct a program for the management of the financial resources of an organizational segment, field establishment, bureau, department, independent agency, or other organizational entity of the Federal Government when the duties and responsibilities include: (a) developing, coordinating, and maintaining an integrated system of financial staff services including at least accounting, budgeting, and management-financial reporting, and sometimes also one or more of such related staff services as auditing, credit analysis, management analysis, etc.; (b) exercising effective control over the financial resources of the organization; (c) coordinating and synthesizing financial and management data so as to interpret the composite financial results of operations to all levels of the organization’s management; (d) advising on, developing, coordinating, and carrying out financial policies, procedures, and plans; (e) reviewing, analyzing, evaluating, and reporting upon program accomplishments in financial terms; and (f) advising and assisting the management officials of the organization served by supplying financial management advice required to make management decisions, establish organizational goals and objectives, and in all respects to manage the organization.

The federal government employs 1,139 in this occupation. The VA employs 287 and the Department of the Navy and Army employs 266 civilians in this category. This series is used in all cabinet level departments, most large agencies and many small agencies.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

(Note: Although the title “Comptroller” is widely used, there is no uniform meaning or application of the term in the Federal Government. Therefore, it has not been used as a title in this standard. Some positions which have been titled “Comptroller” may well be classified in the Financial Management Series, GS-0505; some may well be classified in other series, such as the Program Management Series, GS-0340, the Administrative Officer Series, GS-0341, the Accounting Series, GS-0510, etc.)

Accounting, GS-0510

This series covers positions that advise on or administer, supervise, or perform professional accounting work that requires application of accounting theories, concepts, principles, and standards to the financial activities of governmental, quasi-governmental, or private sector organizations. The work includes:

  • designing, developing, operating, or inspecting accounting systems;
  • prescribing accounting standards, policies, and requirements;
  • examining, analyzing, and interpreting accounting data, records, and reports; or
  • advising or assisting management on accounting and financial management matters.

Accounting theories, concepts, principles and standards address these types of duties:

  •  determining the boundaries of an accounting entity;
  • recognizing and measuring revenues;
  • matching revenues and expenses by applying methodologies such as accrual accounting and depreciation;
  • defining and measuring costs by applying methodologies such as standard, process, job-order, and activity-based costing; and,
  • full disclosure on financial statements.

The federal government employs 13,283 in this occupation of which 79 work overseas. The DOD is the largest employer of this series with 2,893 accountants, the VA employs 909 and the  Department of the Army employs 1,147 civilians in this category. This series is used in all cabinet level departments, most large agencies and many small agencies.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

Accountants design and develop financial information systems. They also operate, maintain, improve, and evaluate established systems for determining the cost of an entity’s activities, for financial reporting, and for cash management and internal control purposes. The accountant engaged in accounting system operation and maintenance may address the adequacy of system design, the adequacy of current data in providing financial information, or ways to use the system to satisfy new information requirements. The accountant engaged in cash management or internal control operations may address the efficiency and economy with which funds are obligated, transferred, controlled, and reported.

Major Accounting Functions

Three major accounting functions are financial reporting, cash management and internal controls, and cost accounting.

Auditing, GS-0511

This series covers positions that apply professional accounting and auditing knowledge, standards, and principles when performing these duties:

  • advising on, supervising, or performing work consisting of a systematic examination and appraisal of financial records, financial and management reports, management controls, policies and practices affecting or reflecting the financial condition and operating results of an activity;
  • analyzing work related to the developing and executing audit policies and programs;
  • conducting performance audits; or
  • conducting activities related to the detection of fraud, waste, and abuse.

The federal government employs 10,306 in this occupation of which 192 work overseas. The Department of Defense employs 4,361, the Department of the Army employs 1,043, and HHS has 681 workers in this series. There are workers in this series in all cabinet level departments, most large agencies and many small agencies.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

Types of Auditing Positions

Auditors perform two broad types of work – the financial audit and the performance audit.

The Financial Audit – Financial audits include financial statement and financial related audits. Financial statement audits provide an opinion on whether the financial statements of an audited entity present fairly the financial position, results of operation, and cash flows in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles. Financial related audits include determining whether:

  • the array of financial information meets established or stated criteria;
  • the entity adheres to specific financial compliance requirements;
  • the entity has an adequate internal control structure over financial reporting and the safeguarding of assets; and
  • the financial information systems comply with applicable requirements.

Financial audits may cover a broad range of subjects. The subjects include financial statements such as statements of revenue and expenses, statements of cash receipts and disbursements, and statements of fixed assets. They also include financial information in items and matters such as those governing the bidding for contracts, amounts billed, amounts due, safeguarding assets, and responses to allegations of fraud. Financial audits may include response to Congressional requests, hotline allegations, allegations of fraud, and support for investigations of fraud.

The Performance Audit. The performance audit is an objective and systemic examination to provide an independent assessment of the performance of a government organization, program, activity or function. Performance audits are of two types – the economy and efficiency audit, and the program audit.

The economy and efficiency audit determines whether an entity acquires, protects, and uses its resources such as personnel, property, and space economically and efficiently, the causes of less than maximum performance, and whether the entity complies with applicable laws and regulations on matters of economy and efficiency. In an economy and efficiency audit, the auditor may examine such matters as:

  • procurement practices,
  • acquisition of the appropriate type of resources at appropriate cost;
  • duplication of effort, idleness and overstaffing;
  • valid and reliably reported measure of economy and efficiency; and
  • information system development and security.

Internal Revenue Agent GS-0512

This series covers positions that determine or advise on liability for Federal taxes when such work requires a professional knowledge of accounting theories, concepts, principles and standards and, in addition, a knowledge of pertinent tax laws, regulations, and related matters. This series is unique to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Internal Revenue Agents conduct independent on-site examinations or participate in team examinations of the Federal income tax returns of individuals, businesses, corporations, and other entities to determine correct tax liabilities.

The federal government employs 8,642 in this occupation. All work for the IRS.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.

Agents select returns for examination from a batch that has been reviewed for possible disputed issues. The issues in individual returns typically involve questions about such matters as sources and amounts of income, reporting requirements, pensions, the amount of and whether deductions are allowed, gains and losses from sale or exchange of personal property or income-producing assets, and credits. Other issues may relate to profit and losses from a profession or business such as calculations for expenses, deductions for interest and taxes paid, losses and bad debts incurred, depreciation, repairs, and amortization of capital expenditures, employment taxes, and capital gains or losses. Corporate business issues involve issues such as business income and expense, alternative minimum taxes, intangibles, capitalization of inventories, related party transactions, changes in accounting methods, and built-in gain tax questions.

Agents may also decide to examine based on operating division program emphasis on such areas as specific industries, certain categories of taxpayers, and inventory controls/valuation.

Agents identify issues they will pursue based on large, unusual, or questionable items in the return or information missing from the return. They decide which issues should produce significant tax or compliance effect and the potential for collection. When determining the scope and depth of an examination, the agents identify the appropriate tax laws and facts needed to resolve the issues, prepare an audit plan and a schedule for conducting the examination, identify sources of information, and determine any need for functional area specialists.

During the early stages of the examination, agents gather information about the taxpayer’s economic status, business history, operations, organization and structure, accounting practices, internal controls, and record-keeping systems. They modify the examination approach based on information gathered and research related to trends in the specific industry, effects of the economy on the business for the period under examination, and laws specific to the business.

They find areas of error or abuse, including isolating instances of non-filers and possible fraud. They are aware of trends in tax evasion methods and techniques and recognize indicators of fraudulent activities, such as understatement of income and improper deductions.

The examination includes the investigation and audit of tax returns and corroborating records. Agents reconcile the return with the records.

Accounting Technician GS-0525

This series includes account maintenance clerical and accounting technician support positions requiring a basic understanding of accounting systems, policies, and procedures in performing or supervising the examination, verification, and maintenance of accounts and accounting data. Also included are positions that perform technical audit functions, develop, or install revised accounting procedures, or perform similar quasi-professional accounting work. Positions in this series require a knowledge of existing accounting systems, standard accounting codes, classifications, and terminology; an understanding of agency accounting policies, procedures, and requirements; and the ability to apply various accounting methods, forms and techniques, but less than the broad understanding and theoretical knowledge of accounting acquired through professional education and training.

Employees in this series classify accounting transactions, maintain and reconcile accounts; close accounts and prepare reports and statements; analyze accounting data; and examine accounts. The federal government employs 5,303 in this occupation of which 87 work overseas. The Department of Defense employs 2,703, the VA employs 662, and Homeland Security has 367 workers in this series. There are workers in this series in all cabinet level departments, most large agencies and many small agencies. Accounting technicians classify accounting transactions that include verifying the accuracy and completeness of the accounting data; determining the general ledger accounts, journals, and subsidiary accounts affected and the debit and credit entries to be made. They also summarize transactions and prepare control documents or other posting documents reflecting the entries to be made.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

Accounting technicians maintain accounts by reviewing documents to verify accounting data as necessary, entering data into the system, and taking a trial balance. They reconcile accounts comparing account balances with related data to assure agreement; reviewing records and source documents to identify the sources of discrepancies; and determining the entries required to bring the account into balance. They close accounts and prepare balance sheets and financial statements. They also abstract data reflecting financial condition and operating results; and present this data in the form of statements and reports. Accounting technicians examine accounts to verify the accuracy of accounts and adequacy of supporting data. They also prepare worksheets or reports reflecting the examinations made, discrepancies noted, and the corrective entries required to adjust accounts. Some accounting technicians review the efficiency of clerical processes and compliance with prescribed procedures, and recommend improvements such as the need for coordination, additional training, or clarification of procedures to reduce errors or processing delays.

Tax Specialist, GS-0526

This series covers positions that determine, supervise, educate, advise, and perform work related to Federal tax liability, and as required duties, and tariffs when such work involves contact with taxpayers, manufacturers, producers, importers, third-party organizations and/or their representatives. Work involves these types of duties:

  • analyzing programs that provide tax, duty and tariff, and revenue-related accounting advisory and consultation services; and/or,
  • examining and/or reviewing of financial documents, or practices affecting the financial condition of an activity.

The basic title for this occupation is Tax Specialist.

Work requires knowledge of financial accounting principles, practices, and methods as well as knowledge of pertinent laws, regulations, and rulings pertaining to taxes, and/or as required duties and tariffs.

The federal government employs 893 in this occupation. All work for the Department of the Treasury.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

Tax Specialists determine, educate and advise on the Federal tax liability of individual and business taxpayers.

Work requires contact with taxpayers, their representatives, and third party organizations on one or more of these types of matters:

  • examining and/or reviewing financial accounts, financial reports, and practices affecting or reflecting the financial condition of an activity; and
  • analyzing the design, development, execution and operation of programs that provide pre-filing and post-filing technical tax advice and assistance, and/or tax-related accounting guidance and assistance.

Tax Specialists resolve collection issues and arrange and accept payment of taxes including installment agreements, and Offer-in-Compromise (OIC), and Automated Collection System (ACS) liens and levies.

All grade levels require knowledge of elementary financial principles, practices, and methods. Higher grade levels require knowledge of accounting at the intermediate level.

Cash Processing Series, GS-0530

This series includes positions that involve clerical work in the receipt, disbursement, examination, deposit, custody, or other clerical processing of cash items, when this includes (1) direct handling of the cash items and (2) use of cash accountability control methods. The work requires application of a knowledge of (a) the negotiability, validity, and genuineness of cash items, (b) the acceptability requirements of supporting documents, and (c) cash processing procedures of Federal agencies and commercial institutions.

The federal government employs 841 in this occupation. The Department of Defense employs 467, the VA employs 286, and the Department of the Treasury has 69 workers in this series. There are workers in this series in all cabinet level departments, most large agencies and many small agencies.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

Cash processing work involves the development or application of methods, procedures, records, and forms that are used to insure the propriety of cash items such as currency, checks, notes, money orders, coupons, food stamps, and documents supporting cash transactions.

Some cash clerks and tellers work in offices that process voluminous mailed remittances of monthly mortgage insurance, retirement, taxes, or other payments. Cash clerks and tellers typically perform clerical review of cash supporting documents (e.g., vouchers, checks, money orders, and bonds) to see whether signatures are authentic; whether correct automatic data processing codes have been entered; whether written and numerical amounts agree; whether dates are within prescribed limits; whether arithmetic computations are correct; and whether appropriate authorities have certified the documents. They also operate cash registers of cash and cash processing documents; collect for counterfeits; disburse funds; maintain change and impress accounts funds; and perform other related cash processing duties.

In all positions in this occupation, the ability to work accurately with figures is required. Reconciliation of any discrepancy in balancing accounts involves the recount of totals and subtotals of the cash and cash items, and the review for accuracy of individual entries and totals in registers, cash books, and similar records.

Civilian Pay Series, GS-0544

This series includes positions that involve the determination of pay, the maintenance of payroll records, and the completion of related reports pertaining to civilian employees of the Federal Government, and/or with the establishment, maintenance, review, and disposition of time and leave records for civilian employees of the Federal Government. The work requires (1) substantial knowledge of civilian pay and/or leave rules, regulations, procedures, programs, and systems requirements, and (2) usually, a knowledge of those civilian personnel rules and regulations that affect pay.

The federal government employs 1,351 in this occupation. The Department of Defense employs 314, the VA employs 691, and the Department of the Interior has 96 workers in this series. There are workers in this series in all but two cabinet level departments, and in many large and small agencies.

Civilian Pay employees perform clerical and technician work that results in the bi-weekly or monthly determination of pay for civilian employees. Employees examine personnel actions, pay changes, and employee requests and make appropriate changes to master records which serve as a basis for pay and leave computation and affect the disbursement of pay. Employees answer requests from and provide advice to employees, supervisors, financial management specialists, and to personnel specialists on rules, regulations, and procedures relating to pay.

Some employees post, examine, compute, and balance hours on time and leave records and other required bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual reports. They also answer questions on leave regulations, procedures, and balances. Some employees may make collections not specifically related to pay and leave, maintain retirement records, or process health benefits forms. Employees post, examine, balance, compute, and extract data from the records, and prepare a variety of reports or vouchers.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

Military Pay Series, GS-0545

This series includes positions that involve performing or supervising work to establish, maintain, correct, and close pay accounts for active, reserve, or retired armed forces personnel and their annuitants. Work in this series requires a knowledge of military pay entitlement laws, regulations, and procedures.

The federal government employs 1,535 in this occupation. The Department of Defense employs 1,256 and the remaining work for the military departments and for a few other agencies.

Military pay employees examine and process substantiating documents to pay armed forces personnel and their annuitants. There are four specializations within military pay–active, reserve, retired, and annuitant. The work in each specialization typically involves authorizing payments for the specific period of time and auditing and reconsidering previous pay determinations. Employees perform such functions as in processing, out processing, and separating service members; responding to pay inquiries; reviewing military pay debts; processing adjustment actions; and reviewing military pay actions.

Some employees handle problem cases or inquiries which involve auditing past pay records of both in-service and out-of-service members. Some employees perform work primarily involving debt collection of pay accounts of service members, former service members, or annuitants.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.

Budget Analysis, GS-0560

This series covers positions that perform, advise on, or supervise work in any of the phases of budget administration when such work requires knowledge and skill in applying budget- related laws, regulations, policies, precedents, methods, and techniques.

The federal government employs 13,309 in this occupation of which 341 work overseas. The military departments employ 6,360, the Department of Defense employs 738, the VA employs 730.  There are workers in this series in all cabinet level departments, and in most large and many small agencies.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

Budget Analyst Article and Interview

Budgeting in the Federal Government is a cyclical process consisting of three major phases:

  • budget formulation,
  • budget presentation/enactment, and
  • budget execution.

The three phases co-exist during the fiscal year. When the approved operating budget for the current fiscal year is in the execution phase, the proposed budget for the following fiscal year is in the presentation/enactment phase, and the budget request for two years hence is in the formulation phase.

The budget cycle for a single budget year covers nearly three calendar years.

Budget officer and budget analyst positions function in organizations that are large enough to warrant establishing full-time positions to do budget administration work. The positions exist in nearly all agencies and departments of the Executive Branch. Tight timeframes, and rigid milestones and deadlines for completing budget actions characterize much of the work.

The budget officer is normally responsible for the full complement of budgetary operations necessary to support the programs and personnel of the organizational component and level in which employed. At a minimum , these responsibilities include formulation of the budget request and execution of the approved annual operating budget for the employing component.

In addition to performing a wide range of analytical, technical, and advisory functions related to the budgetary processes, most budget officers also perform supervisory duties and responsibilities over a subordinate staff of budget analysts and administrative support positions. Many budget officers report to a Chief Financial Officer or other management official in the supervisory chain with authority and responsibility for the total financial management of the employing organization.

Budget Clerical and Assistance GS-0561

This series includes positions that involve performing clerical and technician work in support of budget analysis and administration when such work requires primarily knowledge of the procedures which facilitate budgeting as conducted in the Federal Service. The work requires practical understanding and skill in the application of administrative rules, regulations, and procedures associated with recording, reporting, processing, and keeping track of budgetary transactions, e.g., the credit, receipt, transfer, allotment, withdrawal, obligation, or outlay of funds.

The federal government employs 591, 20 work overseas. The Department of the Army employs 247, the Air Force employs 180, The Department of the Interior 137, the VA with 131, the Agricultural Department employs 59 and Health and Human Services employs 36.

Budget clerks and technicians maintain ledgers much like those used in cost accounting operations. Some positions are concerned with salary and administrative expenses and require less sophisticated record-keeping techniques. Budget clerks and technicians participate in the budget formulation process by compiling, consolidating, checking, and arranging funding data in requests to cover projected annual operating expenses. Employees may also submit organizational funding requests in proper format through channels for inclusion in the budget request prepared at higher echelons in the agency.

The kinds of budget accounts maintained by an organization depend largely upon the kinds of programs and activities in which the organization is engaged and the nature, source, and uses of funds available for the operation of those programs.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

Tax Examining Series, GS-0592

This series includes positions that perform or supervise work in the Internal Revenue Service involving the processing of original tax and information returns, establishing taxpayer account records or changing such records based on later information affecting taxes and refunds; collecting some taxes and/or obtaining tax returns; computing or verifying tax, penalty, and interest; and determining proper tax liability. The work requires knowledge of standardized processing and collection procedures to record tax information and knowledge of applicable portions of tax laws and tax rulings to accept, request proof of, or reject a variety of taxpayer claims, credits, and deductions.

The federal government employs 12,334 in this occupation. All work for the Department of the Treasury.

Tax examiners perform a variety of clerical and technician work in checking and correcting the information in returns in order to establish or maintain automated account records for each taxpayer or using the information from such records to adjust taxes. They enter information from returns into computer stored account records. They also contact taxpayers by letter or telephone concerning payment of delinquent taxes or for documentation of claims and deductions. They answer questions about and adjust established tax accounts based on information obtained from taxpayers. Many tax examiners compute a variety of penalty and interest liabilities. Some employees prepare simple tax returns from information on other documents or obtained from taxpayers.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

  • USAJOBS GS-0592 Federal Vacancy Lists
    • Tax Examining Clerk – The title covers all nonsupervisory positions at grade GS-4 and below.
    • Tax Examining Technician – The title covers all nonsupervisory positions at grade GS-5 and above.