By Ms. Kari Hawkins (AMCOM)October 26, 2016
Speaking about Enterprise Resource Planning, the Joint Reconciliation Program, and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, it's evident that Dinah Snodgrass, Latoya Sims and John Ogles are well versed in the policies that control the Army's financial snapshot.
In their world of financial reports and resource analyses, that snapshot refers to the policies and procedures they follow to ensure the Aviation and Missile Command adheres to the Resource Management regulations put in place to meet accounting requirements in support of the Army Materiel Command, Department of the Army and Department of Defense. They are among the 150 AMCOM Resource Management (G-8) employees who work through year-end closeouts in September in preparation for the new fiscal year Oct. 1.
"Nothing happens without money and manpower and our mission in the G-8 is to account for the taxpayer money spent by AMCOM each year," said Christina Ridgeway, director of AMCOM G-8.
"It's important to realize we are on a critical path forward and without resources the AMCOM mission can't be accomplished. If we don't account for those resources correctly, then not only is our mission disrupted, but failure to expend those resources on time is detrimental to our ability to get funds for the next fiscal year. If we don't demonstrate a critical requirement, then it won't get priority the following year."
Every year, AMCOM's Resource Management employees expertly manage through numerous requirements to meet year-end financial goals. For them, Sept. 30 is a crossroads between what AMCOM looked like financially yesterday and what it will look like in the year ahead.
"We must have a clean financial report before year end," said Snodgrass, a senior system management analyst for AMCOM Resource Management (G-8).
"Everything has to be at a balance of zero in the four financial systems we use before we can leave here on Sept. 30. AMCOM has a lot of business out there and it's a team effort between us and employees at the subordinate elements to reach our year-end closeout goal."
Those four systems -- the Standard Operations and Maintenance Army Research and Development System (known as SOMARDS) along with the three systems that make up the Army's Enterprise Resource Planning business process management software -- General Fund Enterprise Business System (known as GFEBS), Global Combat Support System-Army (known as GCSS-Army) and Logistics Modernization Program (known as LMP) -- provide reports of AMCOM's financial dealings throughout the year, including payroll, supply purchases, travel, reimbursables and contracts.
This year, AMCOM G-8 employees submitted more than 33 year-end reports to AMC through an online SharePoint portal, which made the process more efficient and transparent.
"We updated and pulled daily reports during September. We worked daily to correct accounting reports to help employees resolve issues in the field," Sims said.
Each AMCOM directorate and each organization, including the depots, Aviation Center Logistics Command, Security Assistance Management Directorate, Test, Measurement and Diagnostic Activity, worked with AMCOM G-8 as part of year-end closeout reporting.
Ogles, who is matrixed from G-8 to AMCOM's G-3 Operations and G-5 Plans and Strategy, said reports included supporting documents for even the most miniscule spending requirements involving travel, credit card purchases and vouchers.
"We had to assure that every expense was accounted for," Ogles said.
Supporting documents are a key factor in a successful closeout, and audit readiness, which has been ongoing at AMCOM, has an increasingly positive impact on year-end closeout.
"It is an enduring requirement to ensure adherence to accounting principles and discipline in substantiating documents for the record," Ridgeway said. "These basic tenets influence actions every day and are necessary to pass an audit. The senior leader emphasis and individual engagement level of this has made availability of supporting documents easier and the documents are accurate."
Every year, as AMCOM approaches the Sept. 30 deadline, G-8 employees keep a watchful eye on funding to ensure financial obligations are met and that all funding is accounted for within the organization's $16 billion enterprise.
"We have to ensure that all funding for AMCOM programs and supported missions is fully expended, returned to the customer or higher headquarters, or legally accounted for to use in a future year," Ridgeway said.
"The transaction load becomes heavy in the fourth quarter, especially in September, as we are required to complete funds transfers, make final accounting corrections and assure contract awards."
Because of budget constraints in the last several years, spending throughout the fiscal year is kept at a minimum. Consequently, there are usually funds left toward the end of the fiscal year that become available just before budget closeout.
"Budget constraints result in many unfinanced requirements for important missions not being fulfilled throughout the year," Ridgeway said. "As accounting comes to a close in September, often resources become available to cover at least a small share of these unfinanced requirements, but only if we are fully prepared to execute on short notice. These opportunities require intensive management to make them complete.
"We are successful when the most critical missions are funded, including all planned contracts, and no funds have to be returned to higher headquarters."
At year end, AMCOM G-8 employees are focused on budget execution and accounting functions, working through all Army accounting systems and relying on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles to ensure an accurate budget report.
"Troubleshooting financial accounts that are out of balance to determine root causes and recommending fiscally appropriate corrections are essential skills in the last stages of closeout," Ridgeway said.
AMCOM's success with year-end closeout marks a successful beginning of another fiscal year.
"Successfully closing out fiscal year 2016 allows G-8 personnel to focus on setting up fiscal year 2017 accounting lines and issuing funds received to prevent disruption of work as the new year starts," Ridgeway said. "The success of contract awards also mitigates the risk to programs and functions as we bridge through the Continuing Resolution period to the National Defense Authorization Act."
And, on Sept. 30, as the year's financial records were completed, AMCOM G-8 submitted specified substantiating documents for certification reporting to AMC for approval and then to DA for finalization.
"Everybody did a great job in coming together at the end of the year. We walked out of here at 12:45 a.m. on Oct. 1 with all financial systems and transactions stopped for fiscal year 2016 and a fully balanced and annotated financial statement," said Ridgeway, who has overseen the process at the G-8 director during the past three years.
"We have a good team and everyone chips in; we get things resolved."