By Mr. Gail Anderson (USARC)February 15, 2011
FORT JACKSON, SC - Following the Army's lead, beginning April 1, most of the directorates within the 81st Regional Support Command will change the way they do business on a daily basis. They will begin using the General Fund Enterprise Business System.
According to its' website, GFEBS is the Army's web-enabled financial, asset and accounting management system that will standardize, streamline and share critical data across the active Army, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.
Steve Seyfried, who works in the resource management directorate, is one of the 81st RSC's three command management directors for the GFEBS implementation and he describes GFEBS as a program that has been around for a couple of years now.
"Most people have the incorrect idea that GFEBS is a new finance system, but it's much more than that and it actually started 13 months ago," said Seyfried. In reality, the only thing new about GFEBS is that it's new to the 81st RSC.
GFEBS uses a Systems Applications and Products (SAP) software platform. A format initially designed in 1972, by German employees of International Business Machines, the Department of the Army chose to mandate this system of financial accounting as its standard for the way all business will be conducted in the future.
The Army began implementing GFEBS on April 1, 2009 and will continue implementing the system through a series of eight "waves." Fort Jackson was included in the first wave of the system deployment. The Army's Program Executive Office, Enterprise Information Systems is currently under its fifth "wave" and the 81st RSC and the 88th RSC will be the first Army Reserve RSCs to use the system.
Unlike the National Security Personnel System (NSPS), which was supposed to replace the old system of hiring federal employees, GFEBS is here to stay and is not going to go away.
"In the beginning a lot of people believed that this would be a 'hit and miss' deal and they would eventually do away with it and not implement it, but that is not the case. SAP systems like the Navy's Business Management System have been used for a few years now and the Army has spent a lot of time, manpower and money on making this work," said Seyfried. Ultimately, this system will allow the 81st RSC to more accurately report it's spending to the Department of the Army.
In turn, "GFEBS is a real-time system that will allow the Army to provide Congress a more accurate financial audit," added Seyfried.
Paul Roseboro of the 81st RSC Resource Management Office said that some 81st RSC employees began taking computer based GFEBS training back in January of 2010, in preparation for the April 1 implementation. "Both computer based training and instructor led training will continue right through the last week of March." said Roseboro.
For example, real property space management is just one of 13 instructor led courses that will have been taught between January 25 and April 1.
Fred Eastwood, from the Department of Public Works, said the number of courses you have to take depends on the number of roles you have in working with the system.
"If you're a resource manager, you'll realize that this is a resource management system that tracks more than just dollars. GFEBS is subsuming about 77 systems that the Army currently uses and a lot of the old systems will run parallel to GFBES until those old systems phase out," said Eastwood.
Maria Clark, a budget analyst with DPW, said she sees the biggest advantage of the 81st switching over to GFEBS will be consolidation. "We will be using one system to do everything and we'll still have access to our legacy systems to refer to for about five years, until they're phased out, Clark said.
1st Lt. Luis Rivas is excited about the future change and is looking forward to mastering any challenges GFEBS may present to him.
"I will continue in engineering positions for the remainder of my Army Reserve career so learning GFEBS will not only help me now, but also in the future, wherever I go," Rivas said.