By Betsy Kozak, 409th Contracting Support BrigadeMay 30, 2012
Lower your shields and prepare to be assimilated - resistance is futile! Star Trek fans are familiar with this command from the Borg, but now there's a new kind of Borg ready to establish a collective hive, the General Fund Enterprise Business System, or commonly referred to as GFEBS.
GFEBS is a web-enabled financial asset and accounting management system designed to standardize, streamline and share critical data across the Army. This financial system was fielded through a series of waves beginning with the pilot deployment in 2008.
The final wave is currently underway with the April kick-off of Wave 8a throughout the ACC headquarters and Wave 8b will start in July at ACC-Aberdeen Proving Ground. This is the largest wave deployment to date.
"GFEBS represents the first Army-wide attempt to change the way business is conducted," stated James Carroll, GFEBS site point of contact. "The system will produce vital, real-time information for Army leadership and overseers such as Department of Defense and Congress.
The main objective of GFEBS is to improve accountability and stewardship and to standardize financial and business processes. GFEBS will bring a majority of the Army financial management into a single system allowing the Army to fully assess performance and costs. The system also empowers leaders at all levels by providing real-time costs of operations and the costs that affect their budgets.
At full deployment, GFEBS will have more than 79,000 end-users at approximately 200 Army installations worldwide. GFEBS will be one of the world's largest enterprise financial systems."
Prior to GFEBS, the Army prepared reports to monitor and control the obligation and expenditure of financial resources. The enactment of government legislation such as the Chief Financial Officer Act of 1990 and the Government Management Reform Act of 1994 and subsequent accountability laws, Congress mandated that all federal agencies produce auditable financial statements to enable more effective internal management and to hold organizations accountable for their financial activities.
"Currently, a large percentage of time is spent processing transactions, controlling interfaces and generating reports," said Carroll. "As GFEBS is implemented, the goal is to reduce the time spent processing transactions and to focus on financial analysis activities. GFEBS will also enable audit readiness and real-time access to information for better financial decision making."
GFEBS will replace current legacy financial systems including the Standard Operation and Maintenance Army Research and Development System used by ACC.
After the initial launch of GFEBS, ACC users will face a transition period where GFEBS and SOMARDS are used simultaneously. SOMARDS will be used only to maintain legacy data until appropriations and accounts within the system are closed.
"I have experienced three main obstacles as ACC-APG approaches the go-live date," added Becki Eberhardt, Budget Branch chief. "These include the natural resistance to change, increased workload demands throughout the transition period and the numerous training requirements. As a team, we are working through these challenges and are dedicated to the GFEBS implementation."
User training responsibilities are aligned with GFEBS roles that correspond to nine business process areas: cost management; equipment and assets; financials; funds management and budget, manage accounts receivables/reimbursables, plant maintenance, project systems, real property, and spending chain.
According to Eberhardt, the role-based training is a combination of classroom and web-based instruction and includes roles such as cash balancing processor, funds execution controller, financial reviewer and vendor master data controller, just to mention a few.
There are more than 150 roles within GFEBS and each user is assigned multiple roles depending on their duty functions. Within each of these roles, there are at least one to five training requirements and this is in addition to the required global courses for every role.