DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. — It’s that time of year again when budget officials and government card holders start burning the midnight oil to get their year-end close outs done by the end of the fiscal year.
A fiscal year for the government goes from Oct. 1 – Sept. 30, and organizations such as U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command often receive annual appropriations that must be obligated before the end of the fiscal year. According to Nicholas Hieser, TACOM’s Director of Program and Budget, funding must be obligated before the end of the FY and it can sometimes cause some additional stress if there’s issues spending the funds that have been made available to units.
“Year-end close-out is when you have less time to react,” said Hieser. “In FY21, AMC has implemented a year-end “soft close” on Sept. 22nd so TACOM and AMC are working hard to have all available dollars spent the week before the official end of the fiscal year.”
Hieser added, “TACOM has become very good at year-end closeouts. We track all open requirements at the line item level and have a team of stakeholders across the Command that review these lines daily. These reviews ensure consistent flow of communication and provide a forum to review and resolve issues. TACOM instituted these reviews over a decade ago and they have become a staple of our closeout, so I’m extremely confident we’ve got a handle on it.”
The knowledge that there is funding that can be redistributed requires that budget officials maintain a list of unfunded requirements, or UFRs. The UFR list allows for flexibility of one-time purchases for priorities that pop-up.
Hieser stated that TACOM is routinely the beneficiary of “year-end” fallout money because of our ability to quickly execute funding. During his 15+ years at TACOM, he does not recall a single year when additional funding did not come to TACOM in September.
“Fortunately, we have programs within TACOM that can quickly obligate, especially in the ILSC (Integrated Logistics Support Center),” said Hieser. “These programs are never fully funded, and we’re able to quickly obligate when these additional funds become available.”
Hieser’s advice for analysts burning the midnight oil is simply to, “Ask for help if you are stuck and over-communicate. A successful year-end closeout is a complete team effort that no one team can accomplish by themselves. It takes the entire team. It’s a great feeling when September 30th rolls around and you close the books on another fiscal year…then we show up to work the next day, and do it all over again!”