Finance team brings home top AFRC award

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U.S. Air National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Neil Ballecer

The 452nd Financial Management (FM) team, March Air Reserve Base, recently won the 2015 Air Force Reserve Command Financial Services Office of the Year Award.

The AFRC-wide competition is an annual award comprised of four FM sections for which bases are judged: military pay, travel pay, civilian pay and disbursement.

“We submitted it like any other award up to AFRC and we won,” said John Florence, financial service officer, 452 FM. “This is an award for all of March ARB.”

A brief sampling of the achievements the unit was recognized for include examining 28,500 Air Force Reserve Order Writing System orders to ensure accuracy of $58.7 million in pay and allowances; auditing 9,800 Defense Travel System vouchers; reducing processing time for resolving government outstanding orders; reducing space constraints by electronically scanning more than 100,000 records; and executing a compliance program resulting in zero failures for travel, reserve pay office, operations and management and reserve personnel application audits.

Additionally, the accomplishments were achieved during a 60 percent personnel cut to the office.

The top contributors of success, even after the reduction in manning, were the resiliency of the existing staff, bringing in reservists and doing more with less, explained Jason Brown, financial management specialist, 452 FM. Staff members were encouraged to innovate while reservists were provided advanced training in various processes.

An example of the innovation included the government outstanding orders tool, which provided the office an aggregation of information from multiple systems to create a more accurate product, explained Florence. The system saved approximately 100 hours per month in research activities.

“It’s great and I can see all the changes and advancing that we’ve gone through,” said Wendy Love, accounting technician, 452 FM, who uses the upgraded Government Outstanding Orders (GOO) tool. “It feels good to be recognized that our job is getting done and that it’s getting done better as we go,” Love said.

In addition to the award showcasing how the 452 FM team provides value to March ARB, Brown participated in an AFRC manpower study in June to also highlight how Team March leads the way AFRC-wide.

“I had the opportunity to meet with seven other bases and communicate the volume of work March receives,” said Brown. “When they put our numbers on the board it dwarfed everyone else’s numbers.”

Brown explained that during the metrics presentation portion of the trip the other bases’ total processed DTS vouchers averaged approximately 200-300 per month. In contrast, March ARB’s volume averaged approximately 1,400 vouchers processed per month, yet also included added complexity by supporting some financial services for Hawaii, Guam and the local 362nd Recruiting Squadron.

“It was a group effort, from leadership to timekeepers to certifiers to technicians,” said Florence. “It was a combination of everyone across the base and everybody played their part.”

The FM team’s accomplishments will soon be submitted to compete against all other finance offices for an Air Force-wide competition.