The Army partnered with KPMG International to assess the functionality of the Integrated Personnel and Pay System -- Army Release 2 and how it remediates Army Human Resources legacy system audit findings, May 14-16, 2019, during a visit with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
The visit assessed pay impacting business processes and transactions within IPPS-A, plus IPPS-A application controls, interfaces with other military pay systems and additional IPPS-A functionalities.
"The auditors were satisfied to see IPPS-A addressing many of the audit concerns seen in legacy processes," said Maj. John Schulke. "Areas like the reduction of paperwork, incorporation of workflow for process segregation of duties and orders driven by completion of transactions with no delay."
IPPS-A is the Army's new 21st Century Human Resources, pay and personnel system. The program is subsuming over 40 legacy systems used across all three components and is consolidating them into one single, comprehensive system.
"Creating one system reduces audit issues and funding by simply reducing the number of systems and data flows," said Col. Gregory S. Johnson, Functional Management Division Chief, IPPS-A."
Not only is IPPS-A consolidating processes, it is also providing an element that should help improve readiness across the entire Army; auditability.
The U.S. Department of Defense has been mandated by Congress to achieve clean audit opinion for their financial statements with the Unqualified Opinion being the desired designation.
An Unqualified Opinion is when the auditor reports the organizations financial statements are presumed to be free from material misstatements.
The opinion to avoid is the adverse opinion. An adverse opinion indicates financial records are not in accordance to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and are grossly misstated. An adverse opinion may be an indicator of fraud, and public entities that receive an adverse opinion are forced to correct their financial statements and have the financial statements re-audited.
"In the case of the government, our investors are the American taxpayers," said Schulke. "The funding provided by Congress needs to be fully tracked in order to show what funding we received and that entire amount was spent on A, B and C."
Tracking where funding is distributed gives investors' confidence in where their money is going, but it can also help improve areas within an organization that need improvement. In other words, the auditability of IPPS-A has the ability to make the Army an even stronger, more efficient fighting force.
"When we can do this, we can see where money is being spent on and make strategic decisions on where we can invest in other areas" said Schulke.
IPPS-A is currently live in four states and territories: Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and DC. The systems auditability and potential to impact funding distribution could have an immediate impact on Army National Guard readiness as it can help with something like incentive pay.
"IPPS-A can definitely help with language pay," said CW4 Louis Burge. "With the legacy systems, when a Soldier passed their particular language test, they would have to take the paperwork to a Human Resources professional and the information would be entered into DLAB (Defense Language Aptitude Battery), then have to go through a multi-step process in order for the Soldier to get paid. Now with IPPS-A, when the information is entered into DLAB, IPPS-A will automatically be notified and the Soldier will be paid much faster."
Having an up-to-date system is what allows errors like Soldiers not receiving incentive pay to get rectified, and an elite organization like the U.S. Army to become even more supreme.
"The elimination of over 200 legacy systems brings us into the 21st century," said Schulke. "IPPS-A will be the system that contains the human resource and pay record for every Soldier in the Army, active duty, reserve, and National Guard."