3 Key Themes Dominate the 2019 ASMC Regional Professional Development Institute Event
Last week, I attended the American Society of Military Comptrollers’ (ASMC) annual Regional Professional Development Institute, hosted by the Washington, D.C. Chapter. More than 1,600 Financial Managers (FMers) from the National Capital Region and beyond attended this one-day training event.
This year’s theme, “Who Dares Wins”, is the motto that originated with the British Special Air Service. The Deputy Chief Financial Officer (DCFO) of the Department of Defense (DoD), Mr. Mark Easton, was the keynote speaker – addressing this theme in a very thought-provoking and informative way. He conveyed that it’s a great time to be an FMer, and that while there are many challenges now and on the horizon, FMers are “Daring to Win” each day. Additionally, he provided a macro-level view of a few key financial management (FM) initiatives, including the undertaking of the largest audit ever, the impending roll-out of the FY20 budget, technological advances within the DoD, and more. It was great to hear about the progress being made by each of the Armed Services on their respective audits. They’re digging in, addressing findings, implementing corrective action plans, and establishing best practices.
There were three predominant themes woven throughout this training event, which are in lockstep with the overarching goal of building a more lethal and ready workforce:
- Recruitment, training, and maintaining of top tier talent
- Transforming the business of financial management
- FY20 budget priorities
Theme 1: Recruitment, training, and maintaining of top tier talent
With more than one-third of the DoD FM workforce comprised of military, civilian, and contractor employees being eligible to retire in the next five years, recruitment is a top priority for the Department of Defense. Almost half of the civilians are age 50 or older, and the challenge to attract new talent is being addressed through initiatives that are also designed to support employee retention. In addition to hiring challenges, human capital leaders must ensure that each of the 54,000+ member workforce attain and maintain their DoD Financial Management Certification. This Program was signed into law in 2012 and intends the continued professionalization of the FM workforce, through training, education, and obtaining of a third-party certification.
Theme 2: Transforming the business of financial management
Business transformation efforts are not unique to the DoD. The President’s Management Agenda (PMA) lists this as a priority for all Federal agencies. The PMA, the National Defense Authorization Act, the Chief Financial Officer’s Act of 1990, the FY20 Budget rollout, and the 2018 National Defense Strategy are foundational to the reforming of business processes in the DoD. Highly repetitive and transactional work of the past has shifted, requiring a more analytical thrust behind decision-making. The use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is moving work and people from the low value to high-value work of business and data analytics. This use of automation has improved the accuracy and reliability of data and enabled systems streamlining which collectively supports the auditability of financial statements and processes.
Theme 3: FY20 budget priorities
The impending roll-out of the FY20 budget is at the forefront of the minds of every FMer. The budget includes funding for the stand-up of a new Space Development Agency. To continually improve the lethality and readiness of the workforce, funding increases for research and development efforts to support artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other related programs are reflected in the upcoming budget. Looks to me like there are some exciting and interesting programs rolling out in the next fiscal year and beyond!
Management Concepts, an ASMC Silver Sponsor, was one of dozens of commercial and non-profit organizations represented at this event. We support the DoD FM Certification Program with 130+ mapped courses across multiple topic areas and also provide world-class training in Auditing, Accounting, Budgeting, Internal Control, and Analytics. We pride ourselves in helping the DoD reach a clean audit opinion and in maintaining a lethal and ready workforce through timely and relevant training.
Claudia Carr serves as the Financial Management Practice Director for Management Concepts and has previously worked in the budget and program management areas for the Department of the Navy and Defense contractors. Throughout her career, she has served as credentialing and accreditation expert and Program Management Office lead for DoD organizations as well as a non-profit organization.