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In Memory of 15 ASMC members killed in the Pentagon attack.  9/11/2001

    

[The suspense for the Winter ASMC Washington Chapter Newsletter input is 14 January 2000.  Provide all your input--committee updates, articles, Newsnotes, symposium registration, PDI2000 update, etc--to Carolyn J Herbst, Newsletter Editor.]

Fall 1999 Newsletter


FROM THE PRESIDENT

Charlie Cook    "I would never join a club that would have someone like me as a member!" ..Groucho Marx

I subscribed to that same theory for many years when it came to joining ASMC.   Groucho Marx was funny, but my delay in joining ASMC was a case of bad judgment.   And those who know me would probably ask, "What else is new?"

Now that Iím intimately involved with the activities of this Chapter, I find myself in awe of the dedication of the many members who give of their time to ASMC.   I am also equally impressed with their commitment to continually raise the quality of our Chapter.  From the National Headquarters level down to this Chapter Ė good things are happening.

Our March 8th Spring Symposium is not to be missed.   The Symposiumís primary focus--certification for the defense financial manager--couldnít be more timely as National Headquarters will embark on formal certification testing soon thereafter.   Please read the accompanying articles and notices about the Symposium carefully.   Donít delay in registering for this event.  For the co-chairs of this event, Cindy Bogner and Jeannie Karstens, my gratitude and praise of their inspired efforts are well beyond words.  They have constructed a fabulous team that brings you this yearís program.

Liz Banta (703-941-5069) and CDR Marci Pinkerton (703-602-8396 x613) (Program and Hospitality chairs, respectively, for PDI 2000) are still looking for volunteers.    Please contact them to offer your assistance.  There are many opportunities to work both behind the scenes and in front of your fellow ASMC members.   Come be a part of the inner workings of ASMC.  You will not be disappointed.

As a personal request, please, please, please, please, PLEASE confirm through your Service/OSD/Corporate Vice President your attendance at our monthly luncheons.  Our attendance has been growing and we nearly exceeded room capacity when Mr. Hale was our guest speaker (the next time he speaks, weíre reserving FedEx Field).  If you come to the luncheon unannounced, we are delighted youíve come and we will always try to seat you.  But it does play havoc with our Luncheon Committee in trying to ensure that enough food has been ordered and that there are seats enough for everyone.

Having started with Groucho, I will end similarly.  To paraphrase, "If I told you, Ďyou are a great organization,í would you hold it against me?"   Keep up the good work.

 Charlie Cook


GETTING TO A CLEAN OPINION Ė THE DoD CHALLENGE
By Ms. Sandra G. Lyons
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)

Producing acceptable and accurate financial statements is arguably the most difficult challenge facing the Departmentís financial community.  In order to meet this challenge, the Department has initiated the most comprehensive reform of financial management policies, systems, and practices in Defense history and has made significant progress.  The objective is to produce financial statements that accurately reflect reality and that receive favorable audit results.

Why is it important that the Department of Defense (DoD) meet this challenge? Accurate financial statements are important for three main reasons:

First, reforming financial business practices is all about getting better and more timely information.  This effort should generate better management information to support better decisionmaking.  It should enable decision-makers to better answer questions about the cost effectiveness of activities or functions; the full costs of activities, functions or programs; or life cycle costs of weapon systems.  Better management information is the foundation for other reforms.  When you have better and/or new information, you can use it to make more informed decisions, or it can provide additional insight into other options or operations.

Second, accurate financial statements are needed to improve public confidence in the Department as stewards of billions of taxpayer dollars.  It is already difficult to explain to the American people why federal agencies cannot do what every publicly traded corporation must do, and that is to produce financial statements that can stand the scrutiny of auditors.   Further, continued failure to meet generally accepted accounting standards could be corrosive to public support for defense spending.

Third, law requires acceptable financial statements.  These laws include the Chief Financial Officer Act of 1990 (which requires audited financial statements from federal agencies), the Government Management Reform Act of 1994 (which mandates a consolidated financial statement for the federal government), and the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996 (which requires the use of government-wide federal accounting standards).

Additionally, the Secretary of Defense has made it clear that the DoD must do its utmost to achieve a clean opinion on the Departmentís financial statements as quickly and effectively as possible.

Potential Impediments:  Getting to a clean, or unqualified, opinion is a monumental mission.  It will require that everything of financial significance be reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting standards.  The size and complexity of the Department alone makes getting to a clean opinion a tremendous task.   There is no other organization in the United States, perhaps in the world, as large and diverse as the DoD.  The Department manages over a trillion dollars in assets and maintains hundreds of bases in over 100 countries and territories throughout the world.  The size of the three Military Departments collectively dwarfs the largest organizations in the private sector as well as all other federal agencies.

Beyond size and complexity, an especially difficult challenge for the DoD is its current accounting systems.  The current accounting systems are too numerous and incompatible and they were not designed to incorporate generally accepted accounting practices.  They were designed primarily to account for how the DoD spends monies appropriated by the Congress.  Similarly, the DoDís nonfinancial systems were designed to meet the needs of various other communities rather than provide information to the Departmentís accounting systems.  This is significant since approximately 80 percent of the data needed to prepare the Departmentís financial statements originate in nonfinancial feeder systems, such as acquisition, logistics, personnel and medical systems.  The Department cannot produce financial statements that get a clean opinion without engaging all the necessary functional communities within the Department.

Another obstacle is the unprecedented acceleration in the move to implement newly approved federal-wide accounting standards and requirements.  In fiscal year (FY) 1998 alone, each applicable DoD reporting entity was required to prepare four new auditable financial statements.  This is in addition to the three statements required for FY 1997.  Still additional new reporting requirements continue to be imposed on all federal agencies, including Defense.

The Game Plan. While the Department faces significant challenges in transforming its financial operations, much progress is being made. The DoD is getting the job done--one step at a time--and is moving toward acceptable financial statements with a combined long-term and a short-term strategy.

The long-term strategy recognizes that a lasting effective solution requires a Defense-wide management information overhaul.  Why?  Because the primary reason the Department has not received a clean opinion on its financial statements is that its systems were not designed to capture and report the total cost of its varied missions in a manner that meets recently imposed federal-wide accounting standards.  To overcome this problem, the Department intends to improve or replace current financial systems with systems that will meet current standards.  This is an enormous undertaking and DoD does not expect to have financial systems that can produce fully auditable financial statements prior to the year 2003.

While system changes are the long-term solution, there is much the Department can, and must, do between now and FY 2003.  The short-term strategy recognizes that. The short-term strategy employs interim approaches that will allow the DoD to achieve an acceptable level of accuracy in its major accounts and attain more favorable audit opinions on the Departmentís financial statements.  To be successful, senior Defense officials are meeting on a regular basis with senior members from the Office of Management and Budget, the General Accounting Office (GAO), and the DoD Inspector Generalís office to apply accounting and auditing standards in ways that make sense for the unique requirements of the DoD.  This collaborative effort has identified major deficiencies that prevented the Department from receiving more favorable audit opinions in the past.  Methodologies to overcome these deficiencies have been developed, and organizational responsibilities and milestones have been established.   To ensure DoD stays on track, organizations both inside and outside the financial management community are being asked to report on their progress and, as appropriate, update their plans on a regular basis.

The Department also has hired respected commercial accounting firms to help implement acceptable alternative methodologies.  For example, one short-term strategy involves reporting the value of general property, plant, and equipment--that is personal property and real property owned by the DoD.  The GAO estimates that the value of the property owned by the Department is four times the value of property and equipment owned by the rest of the federal government combined.  Stated differently, the DoD has approximately 100 times more property than the average federal agency.  As a result of new government-wide standards that became effective in FY 1998, the Department now is being asked to report a value for this general property, plant, and equipment that is based on the initial purchase price, and record depreciation for the asset since the initial acquisition date.  However, much of this property was acquired decades ago, some over a century ago, and many of the original documents needed to substantiate the initial acquisition cost of these items no longer are available.   Therefore, the Department is working with the auditors, and the contractors, to develop an acceptable method for establishing a value where adequate documentation does not exist.

Another short-term strategy involves quantifying the Departmentís long-term future liabilities, such as environmental cleanup of DoD properties, disposal of weapons and hazardous materials, and health care for DoD military retirees.  These are liabilities that the Department may not be required to pay until 10, 20, or even 40 years from now, and that--until recently--the Department was not required to report.   Clearly, it will be an enormous endeavor to capture and report these liabilities, but the Department is working hard to make it happen.

Conclusion:  Acceptable financial statements are a mandatory initiative, and the Department is making tremendous progress.  Over the past several years, financial operations have been consolidated; the number of noncompliant finance and accounting systems have been significantly reduced; standard systems have been designated; ambitious deployment schedules have been established and implemented; and business practices have been reengineered to adopt best practices from both the private and government sectors.   In addition, the Departmentís financial management community has over 150 initiatives underway to improve and streamline financial management and improve the timeliness and accuracy of its accounting data.

Success in these reform efforts requires dedication from the Departmentís financial community and the cooperation of every community that feeds data to the Departmentís financial management systems.  The dedication is there, and so is the needed cooperation! It is a Department-wide management initiative to overcome constraints, correct weaknesses and improve the reliability of its financial information.   There have been notable successes, but it is impossible to reverse decades-old problems overnight, and producing acceptable financial statements with an unqualified audit opinion will require several years of transition, reengineering and modernization.

About the Author:  Ms Sandy Lyons has over 23 years experience in DoD financial management to include accounting, budgeting, manpower analysis, quality and productivity planning, and business management theory and application.  Sandy has held a variety of positions within the OSD and currently serves as a senior financial management analyst within the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller), Directorate for Accounting Policy.


NEWSNOTES

Welcome Mr. John Kohler to the Army Budget Office.  Mr. Kohler is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Budget).   Johnís last position was ADCSRM, USAREUR.

Farewell to BG Flohr on his retirement from the Army. BG Flohr was the Deputy Commanding General, US Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

New to SAF/FMCCol Gordon D. Kage II from AMC/FM

New to FMBPóto work the PBD cycle:

Ms. Sharon Latzen from AFMC

Maj Carol Giachetti from ACC

Maj Dan Watson from AETC

New to FMBOI:

LtCol Paul Hough from USAFE

LtCol Paul McClure from ANG

Maj Allen Blume from ACSC (School)

New to SAF/FMBOO:

Mgen Everett Odgers to AFMC

Bgen(S) Frank Faykes from USAFE

Ms. Denise Cavanaugh from HQ AMC

Ms. Marilyn Wright from Los Angeles AFB CA

Mr. Tom Anderson from SAF/FMBIA

Mr. Keith Hicks from SAF/FMBOI

New to FMBIAMr. John Uperti from SAF/FMBOO

New to AFCAA:

Ms. Michele Lewis from AF/RECB

Maj Gloria Reed from AF/XOI

Congratulations to Lt Col Dave Weinberg, SAF/FMBOP, on his selection to Colonel.

CDR Marci Pinkerton has been designated a DAWIA Acquisition Professional by the Navy AP Selection Board.

Congratulations to Mr. Tom Anderson, SAF/FMBOO, on his promotion to GS-13.

Congratulations to Mr. Elmo Gladden, SAF/FMBOT, on his promotion to GS-13.

Congratulations to Ms. Karen Taylor, SAF-FMBOP, on her promotion to GS-12.

Winners of the 1999 Presidential Rank Awards were recognized at a ceremony 14 Oct 99.   Congratulations to the following winners:

Mr. John R. Kohler, Asst Deputy Chief of Staff for Resource Management, HQ, USAREUR

Ms. Erin J. Olmes, Asst Deputy Asst Secretary of the Army for Army Budget, ASA (FM&C)

Congratulations to Mr. Chris Heyde, OUSD (C), on the birth of his 8 pound, 11 ounce son.  Welcome to Joel Edward Heyde, a future ASMC member!

Welcome to Mr. Robin Farley, a new member of the Directorate for Operations, OUSD (C).

Attention Retired ASMC Members. Contact Mr. Joe Riggio to be kept informed of ASMC events at Joeriggio@msm.com with your name, phone number, and e-mail address. If no e-mail, call Joe at (703) 327-3323.


HOLIDAY SOCIAL

The American Society of Military Comptrollers Washington Chapter will be hosting the Annual Holiday Social on December 9, 1999 at the Fort McNair Officers Club.  Social begins at 1730 with a Joint Color Guard presentation at 1800.  There will be an excellent holiday buffet for $5.00 per person.  We will have our usual raffle and a wonderful assortment of door prizes.  We encourage all to bring an unwrapped gift for the Toys for Tots or a canned good item do be included in a holiday care package.

Hope to see you there!!


ASMC Calendar of Events
See Calendar page


EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING MINUTES

Executive Board minutes are read and approved at each meeting.

Treasurerís report is read and approved at each meeting.  Ms. Anderson commented that the progress on the official report is moving slowly.  There is a positive balance in the account.  The luncheons have been providing a positive cash flow.

PDI 2000.  Liz Banta, chairperson, addressed the status of the workshops.   The Program Committee has been very active.  Workshops and subjects are being identified.  Cindy Bogner, Spring Symposium Chairperson, is working with Liz as the Symposium may be an opportunity to showcase some of the workshops.  A concern about paying for costs associated with volunteers working was raised.  Liz said financing would be addressed at the next meeting.  Capt. Ackley also questioned if it is a legitimate concern about Commands not funding PDI volunteers.

Spring Symposium.  Cindy Bogner reported on the progress.  Meetings have been taking place.  Committee chairs have volunteered for symposium 2000.  Credit cards will be accepted for pre-registration.

Corporate.  Joe Riggio, in coordination with Carolyn J Herbst, proposed advertising/marketing rates for the newsletter.  Advertising, per newsletter, will be limited to two pages.  It was moved and accepted to implement the new advertising rate policy.

LTG (Ret) McCall was the speaker at our September luncheon.  Mr. Alan Hale was the October speaker.  Both speakers were well received.

Membership Committee.  Again, it was asked about the capability to download membership information from the database.  The objective is to download the membership data from the database and then sort by service.

Newsletter.  Carolyn Herbst indicated that the Summer Newsletter was mailed and thanked everyone for their support.  Next suspense is 4 November for Fall Newsletter input.

Photographer.  The photographer has been photo happy at luncheons.  The photos appear on our website.

Publicity.  Maureen Raines has forwarded notices for the luncheons for inclusion in the papers.

Competition.  Mr. Gene Covey is the new Competition Chairperson.

1999 Symposium.  There are still some outstanding checks/payments.

Webmaster.  Capt. Ackley reported on the number of hits occurring on our website.   He asked that he be included on e-mails so that he can extract data to post to the website.


Executive Board Meeting Minutes
Link to Meeting Minutes


Washington Chapter ASMC 2000 Symposium
By Ms. Mary K. Tompa

Plans are underway for the 2000 Symposium to be held on March 8, 2000 at the Sheraton Crystal City.  This yearís theme will be focused on the future for financial managers and ways for us to manage changing roles and expectations.

What's new for 2000: Are you ready?  The Symposium will explore, with a variety of high-level speakers, current issues in financial management; including a discussion of FY 2001 budget issues, forecasts of congressional action, compliance with the CFO Act, and, most importantly, the development of our most important resource--our people--to be ready to meet the challenges of the future.  To address these challenges, a major portion of the symposium will focus on our personal development as financial managers.

Take charge and Move Out!  The Symposium will provide a chance to engage in a dialogue with DoD Comptroller and key congressional staffers as well as other key leaders in budgeting, accounting and financial execution.  In addition, it will provide detailed information about the Defense Financial Management Certification (DFMC) program.

Certification of the Financial Management (FM) workforce is receiving high level visibility in DoD.  Top level officials are interested in improving the credentials and technical qualifications of their staffs.  DoD/ASMC formed a joint partnership and have been developing preparatory training and instructions for the Defense Financial Management Certification (DFMC) program.  Testing is scheduled to start next spring. The Symposium will offer DFMC informational briefings for the attendees.

Learn details about the three topical modules: Resource Management Environment; Accounting and Finance; and Budgeting and Cost Analysis.  In addition, an overview will provide current status, training opportunities, examination fees, time restrictions, and maintaining your certification status.  So take charge and move out on your career!  Sign up to attend the Washington Chapter ASMC 2000 Spring Symposium by completing the attached registration form today.

Spring 2000 ASMC Symposium Committee Chairs

Co-Chairs: Cindy Bogner (703) 697-8580 bognerc@osd.pentagon.mil
Jeanne Karstens (703) 695-5589 karstenj@osd.pentagon.mil
Program: Lynne Caroe (703) 695-7486 lynne.caroe@hqda.army.mil
Protocol: Gwen Brown (703) 697-0021 browng@osd.pentagon.mil
Corporate: Richard Pineda (703) 607-1489 X145 rpineda@soza.com
Pre-Registration: Sylvia McDowell (703) 697-8128 mcdowsa@hqda.army.mil
Registration: Theresa Witten (703) 696-5151 theresa.witten@bolling.af.mil
Treasurer: Ralph Proctor (703) 697-1880 proctorr@osd.pentagon.mil
Facility: Ken Schreier (703) 697-3135 schreierk@osd.pentagon.mil
Publicity: Mary K. Tompa (703) 695-5827 tompa.mary@hq.navy.mil

About the Author: Ms. Mary Tompa is the Publicity Chairperson for Symposium. She works in OASN(FM&C) FMB-3.

Registration form:

3dsquare.wmf (948 bytes) Download REGISTRATION FORM (MS Word format)


Thinking Outside the Box on the Navyís Purchase Card Program
By Mr. Walter D. Best

Recently I attended the Government Smart Pay Card Conference in Nashville Tennessee.   During the DoDís breakout session the Department of the Navy reported that they have $5.6M dollars delinquent on their Official Purchase Card.  Compare this to the Air Force and the Army, with $200K and $300K, respectively.

As a Major Claimant Activity Program Coordinator for our Commandís Purchase Card Program, I was greatly disturbed by the Navyís delinquency rate.  It was clear to me that the Navy has to try another approach to the program that will be more efficient and effective in validating and paying their Purchase Card invoices on time.

Under the current system, the card vendor (Citibank) runs on a standard 30-day period in which bills are received and compiled onto a billing statement.  At the end of the designated cycle the statements are downloaded and printed onto a billing invoice (a 2-3 day process) that is mailed at the end of the billing cycle.  After 3 to 5 days the bill arrives at each activity using the purchase card.  Under current guidance the activities have 5 days to review and certify the invoice and mail it to the Defense Finance and Accounting Office (DFAS).  DFAS then has 15 days to verify the accounting is correct, all totals and accounts match, and only then issue a payment.  The funds are then electronically transferred to Citibank, where they post them against the proper accounts.

The description above is somewhat simplified.  The bottom line is that there is a lot riding on the fact that everything and everybody has to be in sync, and everything done right the first time in order for the bills to be paid in a timely manner.   Failure to pay accounts in a timely fashion can result in loss of rebate money, suspension or cancellation of the card holderís privileges, or even suspension of the entire Commandís accounts with Citibank.  There has to be a better way.   And to that, I am proposing a different approach.  Since everyone budgets at the beginning of the FY the amounts they anticipate spending on various appropriations, my suggestion is to take those funds that are budgeted for purchase card expenditures and depositing those funds into a holding account with Citibank at the beginning of each FY.   As the activities make purchases and those purchases are billed to their purchase card account, the Activity will review the charges daily, as they hit their account, validate the expenditures, and then, themselves, perform a fund transfer from their holding account (at Citibank) to their purchase card accounts, thus paying the bill.   This removes DFAS from the loop, and cuts up to 20 days or even more from the approval and payment process.

Since Citibank provides on-line and live access to accounts, reconciliation and payment of charges could be done on a daily basis, allowing the Navy to take full advantage of the rebates offered by Citibank.  This method would also allow the Navy to maintain better control over the purchase card program; since billed items could be approved and paid within a few days of the purchase as opposed to weeks after the purchase has taken place.

Some might fear that by paying charges so quickly, improper or fraudulent charges would be paid in error.  Citibank told me that currently over 99.5% of all the charges placed on purchase card accounts are never disputed as fraudulent, duplicate, or improper.   Furthermore, it is the Navyís policy that all other charges are to be paid on time, even if under dispute with the vendor.  An example would be a dispute with a vendor over service or productís condition/delivery.  In these instances, the vendor and not Citibank, is responsible for issuing a credit to the buyer.  By reconciling and verifying charges on a daily basis, an activity could spot and investigate any fraudulent, duplicate, or improper charges much sooner than the 15 to 17 days average from the time of charge under the current system (where the activity waits for the statement to see charges).  By removing DFAS from the payment loop, Navy receives the added benefit of reducing the number of distributions from DFAS and thereby saving money by reducing the transaction fees charged by DFAS to our activities.

When I asked Citibankís David Reed, Vice President of Government Business Development, what he thought of this proposal he was very enthusiastic.  He indicated that Citibank could be willing to help the Navy with implementing this new procedure by providing ADP improvements--that would facilitate daily account reconciliation and improve controls--in exchange for the Navy maintaining funds in a holding account.    Citibank could not by law pay the Navy interest on moneys on account, since it is against the law for Government enities to make money on Government funds.  By providing the Navy with ADP technology compatible with Citibankís new software and systems, and vice-versa, forcing Citibank to maintain its system to be compatible with Navyís exiting technology, it would result in a win-win strategy.  The ADP improvements might be in the form of providing the Navy the of state-of-the-art computers with the latest smart card and biometric technology.  These ADP improvements would serve to expedite the process of certifying payment, and increase control and the overall management of the purchase card program.

Initially, the ADP improvement would be provided at the upper hierarchy levels where the responsibility of certifying for payment charges from their subordinate activities would reside.  As the technology could be disseminated downward and proper controls implemented, so could the responsibility for certification.  During the initial phase, performing the certification at the higher levels would require a 10-day temporary certification category to be formulated in which unusual or unverified charges would be placed.  Those unidentifiable charges would then be disseminated directly to the chargeable activities for verification before final certification and payment allocation could take place.  The lower command or activity would be required to give either a certification or dispute on those charges within 10 days to the upper command.

A process such as this would also benefit the fleet since they could certify and pay their credit cards within a short timeframe of departing out to sea and have no outstanding debt on their accounts with 24 hours of departing port.

The main point I am trying to make is that we, the Navy, DoD and the Government overall should view contractors as team players and take advantage of this to derive a mutually beneficial relationship.  Contractors realize that entering into contracts with government entities may mean some investment on their part in order to implement their methods of doing business efficiently and effectively, but obviously with long-term gains on their end for having been awarded the contract.  Likewise, we in the government should be willing to work flexibly with a potential contractor, and "think outside the box," if significant value can be received by adopting new methods.  In this case, by adopting a new method of certifying and paying purchase card charges, the embarrassment of having DoDís highest delinquency rate could be erased, as well as gaining improved technology, proper rebates, and clean credit.

About the Author: Mr. Walter Best works for the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Command (NCTC) as an accountant.  Walter is the Activity Program Coordinator for the Government Travel Card and Purchase Card Programs, as well as the Commandís Prior Years Accountant.  NCTC was one of the few naval activities that received rebate checks from the previous Purchase Card vendor.  Walter has developed controls and issued guidance to NCTC one of the best Commands within the Navy in both Card programs.


DEFENSE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATION (DFMC)
By Ms. Gwen Brown

Is there growing anticipation about the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC) Certification Program?  Judging by the attendance at the Washington Chapterís September luncheon, the answer is a resounding YES!  Almost three times the expected number of people attended the September 15th luncheon to hear James F. McCall, LTG (Ret.), USA talk about the progress that has been made on the program.  LTG McCall was the featured speaker for our September luncheon. His presentation was well received and appreciated by all those attending.

The ASMC Executive Director informed the audience that development of the Defense Financial Management Certification (DFMC) exams by Department of Defense and Service-designated subject matter experts and an educational testing consultant has been completed.  The "purple" (non-service specific) exams have been organized into three separate modules Ė budgeting, accounting, and financial management.   Each module exam will consist of eighty multiple-choice questions drawn from a bank of approximately nine hundred questions.  It is anticipated that each exam will take about two hours to complete.  Participants can take the exams for all three modules at one time, or each exam may be taken separately.

The beta test of the DFMC exams will be given to three hundred randomly selected candidates between December 6th and December 15th, 1999.  (If you applied to participate in the beta test and are one of the candidates selected, you will be contacted.)  The results of the beta test will be analyzed during January and February 2000 and regular testing should begin in March with world-wide testing starting in May or June.  There will be a $55.00 application fee to take the exam and the cost of the exam itself will be $100.00 for each module.  Although the DFMC program was conceived for Department of Defense employees, participation has been opened to contractors supporting the Department. Many ASMC corporate members will require employees supporting financial management efforts to be certified.  Many other defense contractors are expected to follow the corporate membersí lead.

Classroom training for exam preparation will begin in January.  Classes will be one week in length with one day dedicated to financial management and two days dedicated to budgeting and accounting, respectively.  Each class will be limited to approximately twenty-five students.  There will be a fee for the training classes that the participantsí agency can pay for.   (Agencies cannot pay for the application fee or the exams.)  A hard copy: study guide will be available soon and may be purchased for $10.00.  Until the study guide becomes available, those interested in obtaining certification should visit the DFMC program training pages on the ASMC website at http://www.asmconline.org.   The website will point users toward information needed to prepare for the DFMC exam and help on the journey for certification.  The site has four major sections: Exam Prep, Forum, Feedback, and Links. A self-assessment test will be available on the website to guide participants towards those subject areas where additional training is required.

About the Author: Ms. Gwen Brown is an analyst in the Directorate for Program and Financial Control, OSD(Comptroller. Gwen is the Washington Chapter secretary for OSD, as well as the Assistant Editor for this newsletter.


Military comptrollers keep labor resources in ship shape with comprehensive frontline labor management systems
By Mr. Lance Daughtry
Senior System Representative
Kronos Incorporated

Thousands of employees in dozens of departments work on hundreds of different jobs in one day.  How to keep track of their attendance, time worked, time allotted to each job, and productivity?  These are the concerns for comptrollers in any industry.   The difference for Department of Defense comptrollers is that they continually face public scrutiny, slashed budgets and governmental expectations for sustained production levels with less funding.

Managing all of this information with less resources while still running an efficient operation is no mean feat.  Doing so without a comprehensive, automated system that tracks productivity and costs is tantamount to trying to build a stealth bomber with some sheet metal and a few nuts and bolts.

Frontline labor management is the business process of measuring and processing employee work data and converting it into valuable strategic information.  Frontline labor management systems immediately tell managers whether the work done compares to standards so they can deploy their workforce optimally, better manage their labor costs, and deliver quality products and services.

Military comptrollers tracking this type of information manually or with a simple time and attendance application may want to consider a comprehensive frontline labor management system.  Comptrollers responsible for a sea of hourly and salaried employees in several different departments will want to deploy a labor management system that allows them to conduct activity-based costing analyses so they can more effectively gauge productivity.

Activity-Based Costing: By utilizing an automated system with activity based costing capabilities, military comptrollers can track what jobs hourly and salaried employees perform, and measure employee productivity for that job.  Activity-based costing takes frontline labor management beyond simple time and attendance by enabling comptrollers to track employee activities during a given work day, shift or specified timeframe.  It also allows managers to monitor the associated output of the activity.    Comptrollers can then use this information to benchmark performance via comprehensive reporting features against standards for a concrete measure of employee productivity, and ultimately reduce labor costs and optimize operations.   Such a comprehensive system enables comptrollers to provide timely, relevant, actionable decision-making information to frontline supervisors.

This is particularly handy for military comptrollers who must manage projects with set time frames and tight budgets.  For example, a comptroller managing the development and integration of the advanced radar systems on a new stealth fighter could use activity-based costing to gauge progress measured against costs at different times during development.  This will help the comptroller to ensure the project comes in under budget and on time.

Managers and supervisors in the military need to know how their employees are spending their time during any given day.  The ability to view this activity information in a number of different ways ó by departments, jobs, projects, etc. enables them to assess productivity, identify any variances across their operations, and take corrective action.

A good frontline labor management system will provide an organization with a set of seamlessly integrated applications that gives every level of management immediate access to essential time and labor information.  This Web-based access improves managementís ability to plan, measure, and act on real-time information.  This system should also enable supervisors to edit crucial labor data over the Internet.

Conclusion: The Defense Department, or any organization that wishes to better manage employee productivity, needs frontline labor management systems that capture employee hours and activities, manage benefit time, produce employee schedules and analyze labor productivity through activity-based costing.  Once they have these capabilities, military comptrollers can ensure that critical Defense Department projects come in on time and under budget.

About the Author:  As Senior Systems Representative at Kronos, Lance Daughtry helps federal customers choose the appropriate system configuration to meet their labor management needs.  For more information, contact Lance by phone at (301) 902-5138 or by e-mail at ldaughtry@kronos.com.

 Kronos is a Washington Chapter Corporate member.  Kronos is the worldís #1 provider of solutions for frontline labor management.  Founded in 1977, Kronos has been universally recognized as the pioneer of labor management systems with more than 50 percent market share and 30,000 customers worldwide.  The Waltham, Mass-based company offers the industryís broadest suite of applications for managing employee time and activity data, scheduling the workforce, and providing frontline managers with the tools they need to measure and improve labor productivity.


Washington Chapter Officers 1999-2000
see the Chapter Officers page



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