By 2nd Lt. Kenny Green, 460th Comptroller Squadron
/ Published October 23, 2009
Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. -- In May 2007, the Air Force envisioned a system that no longer brought the customer to the finance office...a system where every Airman possessed the financial management knowledge to file PCS vouchers and update their pay records from the convenience of their own office.
From this idea, eFinance workspace was born, which contained the PCS In-Processing System and eFinance systems. These online resources evolved for filing PCS vouchers and updating pay records, respectively. However, Air Force members would not become financial services experts overnight and would require some additional form of hands-on education to facilitate the process.
Buckley Air Force Base seized the opportunity to educate the customer and increase awareness with the fully functional Financial Resources Self-Help Center, dubbed "The Source." When customers walk into the Military Personnel Flight customer service area, there is no secret as to what the three self-help workstations are for. A kryptonite green banner revealing the name and function soars above to draw attention to the computer area.
Although simple in nature, the banner has been carefully designed to ensure no confusion to what these computers are for. The letters are bright green to relate to money, the "O" in Source is an outline of a computer mouse to show that it is a computer based system, "Source" is used to imply a one-stop location for all needs, and the subtitle "Self-Help Finance Resource Center" is there to clear up any misconceptions. "Resource Center" also implies that the computers provide more than a means to use eFinance Workspace. Located on the desktops of all computers are additional resources that are essential to the warfighter; Defense Travel System, LeaveWeb, MyPay, Cash Forms-Lite, Finance FAQ's, etc.
In case a customer misses the boisterous sign, brochures are located at all three workstations providing vital information about both the finance office and eFinance/PIPS. The brochures list office hours, a hyperlink to the systems so you can access them from your office, instructions for initial log-in, and additional resources available. The customer has "The Source" to prepare themselves for the future when they will no longer be required to leave their office to update their military pay or file vouchers.
What clearly distinguishes Buckley's self-help area from other bases' is its ease of use. Whether you're new to the base, visiting or assigned to Buckley, anyone can access the systems. A local account was created for members who are not in the Buckley database, so they can complete a PIPS voucher or eFinance document even if their servicing finance office is on the other side of the world. There are also three scanners/printers attached to each of the workstations that allow members to upload documents, such as receipts and orders, into their submitted vouchers. Furthermore, they can print useful items like a copy of their LES or backup copies of any vouchers for their own record. If at any point they need assistance from an expert financial technician, they can sign-in to the triage system and someone will be there to assist them within a matter of seconds. So far, more than 200 people have in-processed through "The Source" and countless others have utilized the resources available through the workstations.
Italian Air Marshall Giulio Douhet once said, "Victory smiles upon those who anticipate the changes in the character of war, not upon those who wait to adapt themselves after the changes occur." The change was unavoidable. "The Source" is the result of our efforts to continually improve and stay ahead of the power curve.