Financial management personnel race the clock to complete certification

Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville Public Affairs
Published Feb. 26, 2016
Financial management personnel race the clock to complete certification

Huntsville Center has 27 personnel required to complete the DOD Financial Management Certification Program by June 2016. So far, 18 have been certified, with the remaining nine not far behind.

The sound of the proverbial clock ticking down has the financial management workforce at the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville taking extra time to complete training certification.

Department of Defense employees know each year they must complete what seems like an endless list of training requirements. However, some job specialties, like financial management, require an additional certification.

In 2012, the National Defense Authorization Act allowed the Secretary of Defense to establish a certification program for financial management career fields. In June 2014, the DOD Financial Management Certification Program was implemented, giving the workforce two years to complete all required training.

“The clock is ticking away on the DOD Financial Management website,” said Huntsville Center’s Finance and Accounting Chief Frank deBoer. “June 2016 is right around the corner.”

The program was designed for both military and civilian financial management workforce career fields with the purpose of providing a framework to guide professional development in key areas such as decision support and audit readiness.

For civilians, the program is primarily focused on the 05XX occupational series.

“However, the program includes civilians who perform financial management tasks, but are not assigned in the 05XX Occupational series,” deBoer said. “For example, program analysts assigned to 0343 occupational series that primarily work in the financial management field are required to complete the certification.”

Huntsville Center has 27 personnel required to complete the certification program. So far, 18 have been certified, with the remaining nine not far behind.

The certification program has three certification levels. For GS-07 and below, Level 1 is required; GS-09 through GS-13 must complete Level 2; and GS-14 and above must complete Level 3. Dependent on the Agency, some job positions may require a higher level of certification.

Huntsville Center Financial Management Analyst Loren Norgren recently completed the program’s Certification Level 2. While the program wasn’t academically rigorous, the process was, he said.

When Norgren tried to transfer his certification from the Department of the Navy to Huntsville Center eight months ago, he discovered a problem.

“I thought I had completed the certification, but it got kicked back,” he said. “They had to transfer my account, and I basically had to start the process over, but I was able to use most of the courses I had already completed toward my certification.”

Through his first attempt at certification he learned he had taken some courses he didn’t need.

“One of the biggest issues was determining what classes to take and in what order to take them,” Norgren said.

Overall, being efficient with your time and understanding the program’s requirements are key, Norgren said.

“Identify the courses you need to take by writing them down on the worksheet the program provides. This ensures that you are not taking courses you don’t necessarily need,” Norgren advised. “Challenges that people have had are shared challenges, so talk to someone who has been through it because they will probably be able to give you good advice.”

And remember, the clock is ticking. There are only four months left until the June 30 deadline for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers financial management professionals.