Fort McCoy News Oct. 27, 2017

Special duty: Comptrollers hone skills

at annual conference

STORY & PHOTOS BY AIMEE MALONE
Public Affairs Staff

Every year, the American Society of Military Comptrollers puts on the National Professional Development Institute. And every year, Fort McCoy sends one or two comptrollers from the Resource Management Office.

In 2017, Budget Analyst Brenda Cafferty and Budget Technician Karen Hanratty were selected to attend, and both agreed the May conference in San Diego was a valuable experience.

According to the American Society of Military Comptrollers' website, www.asmconline.org, the National Professional Development Institute is "the premier training event for resource/financial managers in the Department of Defense (DOD), U.S. Coast Guard, and public and private sectors.

Budget Technician Karen Hanratty with the Resource Management Office works on a project Oct. 19 in building 1913 at Fort McCoy.
Budget Technician Karen Hanratty with the Resource Management Office
works on a project Oct. 19 in building 1913 at Fort McCoy.



Budget Analyst Brenda Cafferty with the Resource Management Office works at her desk Oct. 19 in building 1913.
Budget Analyst Brenda Cafferty with the Resource Management Office
works at her desk Oct. 19 in building 1913.

This three-day training event features a full day of service and defense agency workshops; six general sessions with keynote speakers; 17 mini-courses aligned to the DOD Financial Management Certification Program competencies and associated proficiency levels; more than 50 financial management, audit, acquisition, and workforce management workshops; and other special activities."

More than 4,100 DOD comptrollers attended the 2017 conference. About 1,500 were from the Army, and more than 40 were from Installation Management Command positions.

Audit readiness was the focus of the 2017 conference. While the Army and other Defense agencies have always been audited, a new auditing system is going into effect in fiscal year 2018 for the Army.

Cafferty and Hanratty said Fort McCoy tries to send different people to the conference each year so everyone has a chance to take advantage of the networking and educational opportunities. The event offers a great chance to meet people throughout the DOD.

"The first day you do breakouts into your service — Army, Navy, Coast Guard — you do your breakout for your specific branch," Cafferty said. "The other days were courses that you can choose."

The available courses covered a variety of topics. While many of them focused specifically on financial management, classes on leadership, professional development, and technical skills were also available.

"I took more of the professional development courses," Hanratty said. "They didn't have a whole lot of classes (this year) for financial management on level one, which was the certification I needed." She opted for classes that focused on budgeting.

Cafferty said she was working on her level two financial management certification, so she focused mostly on those courses, knocking out some the continuing education credits required for her position.

"I thought they offer a wide variety — whether you're new to your position or you've been in your position 25 years, they gave a wide variety of courses we could take," Cafferty said.

Opportunities to learn extended beyond the scheduled courses.

"During our lunches, they had people come in and give speeches," she said. She said she really enjoyed the last day's presenter, who was an inspirational speaker.

Cafferty said she also enjoyed seeing the exhibitor booths that were set up throughout the conference. The displays covered topics like federal benefits, educational programs, and businesses offering services related to financial management.

Hanratty said the exhibitors kept track of who visited their booths and have used the information to connect with conference attendees since then.

"DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service) reached out to us, and they want to keep that communication open," she said. "Clearly what we do is going to route through DFAS." It gave them the opportunity to get a direct point of contact if help is needed with a DFAS system.

Networking was one of the biggest benefits of the conference, both Hanratty and Cafferty said.

"You meet people from all branches of service, you get ideas, (and) you have instructors from all over the world," Cafferty said.

Hanratty said she really enjoyed the chance to speak with other finance professionals and learn what sort of situations they deal with. She said it gave her a better idea of how her work and Fort McCoy fit into "the big picture."

Resource Management Officer Maureen Richardson said she thinks the conference and training are very valuable to Fort McCoy and is committed to seeking it for the Resource Management Office staff every year.

"I consider the RMO a learning organization, and what the people learn, they bring back and share with the entire office. They come back to Fort McCoy with a broader perspective," Richardson said.

"The training provides each participant with a 'big picture view' of resource management across all segments of government," she said.

It also allows RMO staff to earn credits toward their Financial Management certification, which is required by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

For more information about the American Society of Military Comptrollers and the National Professional Development Institute, visit www.asmconline.org. For more information about the Resource Management Office, call 608-388-3808.