New fast cash process

By David L. Yost, 446th Airlift Wing on May 4, 2017

The Rainier Wing Financial Management Office successfully tested managing vouchers at the wing level, and now members can receive their travel voucher faster when using eFinance.

A now permanent program used by the Financial Management Office, eFinance local voucher processing was tested throughout 2016 before the wing received permanent authorization to process vouchers in-house.

Previously, the vouchers were processed at Ellsworth Air Force Base, San Diego, and the 446th Airlift Wing FM Office was one of five organizations chosen to test it in the Air Force Reserve.

While the workload for financial management specialists decreases, eFinance users may not consider the website to be user-friendly. An update is scheduled to be completed April 28, but it remains to be seen if this update will change the overall user experience.

"It walks the member through step by step," said Tech. Sgt. Jesse Hughes, a 446th AW travel pay technician. "It just takes a long time."

The extra time spent using the program allows travel voucher payments to be received more quickly in a process that is secure and paperless.

About 250 vouchers are processed through eFinance a month, with another large number also processed through DTS. Eventually the two systems in use now could be merged into one. According to the Financial Management Office, they don't receive lots of positive feedback. The thinking is that citizen airmen like options as much as they like receiving payments quickly.

"Instead of having three parties involved, we just kind of do it in-house," said Patricia Gaura, a 446th AW financial management specialist. "Instead of twelve people doing it, only about a graveyard of four is doing it, and we were able to pay them out within a week."

Currently, a dual system is employed for processing travel vouchers. The Defense Travel System (DTS) for temporary duty lasting longer than 44 days, and eFinance is for shorter periods. Travel vouchers previously were sent through DTS from the 446th AW to the 62nd Airlift Wing and then to Ellsworth AFB. Any necessary changes or adjustments would send the voucher back to the member.

Guarda gives an example of why the voucher process would take longer due to needed adjustments.

"Let's say the member decides to be one penny off on DTS. We have to spit it back," said Gaura. "That's their regulations; there's no supplemental. You can amend it later, but still we won't pay you; we'll say you need to change that one penny. And then that costs more time for routing."

Those vouchers are now processed by the 446th AW, and can be partially paid without resubmitting the entire voucher. The remaining balance owed can be paid after submitting a supplemental voucher. This helps decrease payment wait time and delinquent government travel card accounts.