AFIMSC innovation streamlines comptroller tasking process
By Ed Shannon , Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs
/ Published December 10, 2019
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- After three years of brainstorming and research, Linda Alcala and her finance operations team found a way to simplify management of Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Resources Directorate tasks to installation comptroller squadrons.
Alcala, the AFIMSC financial operations chief, and her team launched the Due Out Tool, an innovative task management solution, Dec. 9, to help squadrons respond ‘on the DOT.’ The rollout includes half of the Air Force’s major commands with the other half having access to the tool by the middle of the month.
The Due Out Tool eliminates the need for workflow email accounts and provides transparency and visibility on workload associated with tasks at AFIMSC and installations enterprise-wide, Alcala said. Comptroller squadrons will no longer need to rekey requirements when the tool assigns tasks to team members, freeing time for additional customer service support and other financial management functions at the installation.
Upon arriving at AFIMSC in 2016, Alcala said she immediately noticed the enormous amount of workload levied on her team just to manage important tasks and information requests from comptroller squadrons.
“In my first briefing with my team, I told them my first order of business is to find a better way to do this with a goal to streamline or shut down our six organizational workflow email boxes,” Alcala said.
Tasking squadrons by email requires an additional email-management effort to track not only which units responded but whether or not the responses fully completed the tasker. Comptroller squadrons also expend enormous independent efforts to close out deadlines. DOT tracks all of that information and much more in one location, saving time and effort.
Beta testing began in October at Dyess AFB, Texas, with enthusiastic, positive reviews.
“We really like the tasker life cycle feature,” said Senior Master Sgt. Fabio Horton, 7th Comptroller Squadron superintendent. “The Due Out Tool reflects the status when someone from our team researches, responds and completes a tasker. With this new asset, the days of having to figure out whether or not a response was sent will be long gone. It will be a more efficient and effective way to operate.”
Retired Chief Master Sgt. Lance Watkins, an AFIMSC Resources Directorate program manager, presented a DOT roadshow at Dyess AFB a few weeks ago to Horton’s delight.
“We enjoyed Chief Watkins’s enthusiasm,” Horton said. “It was special to attain the perspective from a retired chief with over 30 years of experience, especially since he came from the financial management career field. They didn’t send just a programmer; they sent somebody who understands our language and how we operate. His expertise was key to providing further insight to the questions and concerns that were addressed.”
The DOT includes an auto-reminder feature specific to installations that have not responded.
“We can generate automatic reminders in the system that will go only to installations that have not responded,” Alcala said, “and we can generate a report on the status of the tasker without sending repeat emails.”
With requests for information from installations originating at the Air Force Accounting and Finance Office, the tool links the office with comptroller squadrons through AFIMSC.
“AFAFO is our big partner,” Alcala said. “They will send requests to us in this tool rather than by email, which will help us respond more quickly because we won’t have to build the tasker in the tool.”