Klier receives ASMC Distinguished Individual Award in FInance
by Steve Lawson, DFAS Corporate Communications

– Creating a process to improve the timeliness of unmatched disbursements (UMDs) processed and cleared in the accounting system was just the right challenge for Defense Finance and Accounting Service - Columbus employee Haley Klier.

Klier, a financial specialist with Accounts Payable - Defense Agencies, worked with the Robotic Processing Automation (RPA) team at the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Data Transformation Office to implement a new tool utilizing RPA that reduced the amount of manual effort required by the accounts maintenance technicians to process and clean unmatched disbursements (UMDs).

Klier is the 2021 recipient of the Distinguished Individual Award in Finance from the American Society of Military Comptrollers for her efforts.

Implementation of the software increased processing capacity while reducing the amount of time spent on posting transactions by 50 percent. This reduction of time spent processing transactions resulted in one work year or $70,000 in labor costs avoided for DFAS. This automation also increases the capacity of the Accounts Payable team members to focus on research and perform vital root cause analysis for other projects.

Klier said she was excited about the chance to work with something that could make a difference.

"It's such an honor to be recognized for this work," Klier said. "I was so excited when my management team initially approached me with this opportunity as I love trying out new systems/technology.

"We are always looking for ways to improve our customer service and I believe robotics/automation are the way forward to ensure that we continue to improve."

From the write-up for the award, "Continuing this proactive approach to enhancing the manual process of posting and clearing UMDs, Haley took a deliberate and targeted effort to shorten the processing time for high dollar and aged transactions needing to be expedited. Due to her one-on-one assistance with team members and customers, Haley's effort directly led to the automated posting of 3,376 transactions, removing the need for DFAS to touch over $300 million in customer unmatched disbursements."

Klier's work on the project led to an improved audit standing for multiple Defense Agencies, including the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA).

By leveraging the OUSD Comptroller Data Transformation Office (CTDO) and the DFAS Information Technology Office, Haley built a strong coalition to assist with continued enhancements and improvements to the RPA software.

By engaging with subject matter experts (SME) within the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), Klier leveraged their research and knowledge to increase the effectiveness of the RPA tool further. This effort to leverage resources and SMEs within the customer base allowed Klier to obtain their support for the tool, identify areas of opportunity for further software improvements, and incorporate their research to reduce the amount of time DFAS spends manually processing transactions.

Lastly, she was able to extend the impact outside just financial savings. The effort to implement robotic software within DFAS provides further benefits from an audit perspective. Having high volume and/or high dollars of UMDs can reflect negatively on a customer's financial outlook. By establishing an automated process that increases the timeliness of processed transactions, Klier's efforts directly impact the improved audit position for both DCMA and DISA. By ensuring the 3,376 transactions totaling $305 million were processed to a matching project in DAI, DFAS provided assurance the correct accounting impact occurred. This includes the proper reduction to an existing outstanding payable and obligation at the project level as well as reduces any misstatement risk affiliated with the AP (Balance Sheet), Gross Costs (Statement of Net Cost), and New Obligation Incurred (Statement of Budgetary Resources) financial statement line items.

"This automation that I worked on is really just the beginning," Klier related. "I look forward to seeing the new and different ways that DFAS can implement automations in the future to help us provide exceptional customer service throughout my career."

Klier received her award in a virtual ceremony during the Association of Military Comptrollers Professional Development Institute.