Likes receives OUSD award for work on FBWT project
Story by Micki J. Young, DFAS Corporate Communications
COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 22, 2021 – The Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller (USD(C)) Financial Management Awards Program recognizes significant contributions of individuals or teams to financial management improvement. Jim Likes, Defense Finance and Accounting Service-Columbus, was selected from 86 submissions for the individual Comptroller Financial Management award for his project on Fund Balance with Treasury, FBwT/Statement of Differences (SODs) for 2020.

"I've been nominated a few times but this is the first time selected," Likes said about his nomination. "I knew I was being considered for a nomination along with many other deserving individuals. I was surprised when I was notified that I'd won."

Statement of Differences (SODs) are a component of FBwT (along with suspense accounts, unmatched, intransits, etc.) and represent reconciliation differences between Disbursing Officer and US Treasury records. SODs reached a peak in December 2018 with $6.7 billion in total and $2.7 billion aged over 60 days.

The project was one of three foundational DFAS efforts (SODs, suspense accounts, and Cash Management Report) to reduce large balances and prove FBwT was auditable.

Likes championed Department SOD efforts and were recognized for his vision, strategy, collaboration, and execution.

Likes' solution started with establishing a collaborative team across DFAS, focused on SOD reductions and auditability. He and the team then coordinated with auditors and US Treasury to define SOD audit success. They developed a SOD universe of transactions within 60 days of quarter end to facilitate the audit.

The team also created guidebooks to document sample requirements for existence, completeness, rights and obligations, accuracy, and valuation assertions. This resulted in high sample pass rates during the DISA audit.

"With the favorable opinion received for DISA working capital fund, we have the proven framework to create similar success for every other audit entity in the Department, which makes this a huge impact," Likes said.

The project results were remarkable. Total department SODs declined from $6.7 billion in December 2018 to $1.8 billion in September 2020. SODs were less than 1 percent of the Department's FBwT.

The total aged Department SODs also declined from $2.7 billion in December 2018 to $5.9 million in September 2020.

"It was fun to work on a project where we created a vision of success, enjoyed a team focus across the DFAS disbursing offices, and achieved a clean audit opinion from our hard work," Likes said.
Page updated July 22, 2021