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Finance Soldiers Beat Military Pay Accuracy Rate

2nd Lt. Andres Leon, 16th Sustainment Brigade


Finance Soldiers from the 101st Financial Management Company, spread out into five detachments across Multi-National Division North, work hard to improve the accuracy of military pay transactions.

Since arriving in theater in September 2008, Maj. Claude A. Barfield, commander, 101st FM Co., set a goal to exceed the Defense Finance and Accounting Service coding standard for all military pay transactions.

The DFAS standard for coding military pay transactions is 98 percent, a very difficult standard to obtain, and one that is rarely achieved, Barfield said. On a consistent basis, detachment non-commissioned officers conduct multiple audits with their detachment commanders to meet the stringent goals set for the unit.

"MILPAY is one of the most important missions that a financial company has, whether deployed or in a garrison environment," Barfield said. "Miscoded documents or transactions will cause a reject and could cause a financial hardship on Soldiers and their families."

The 101st FM Co. is composed of five detachments that are spread throughout northern Iraq: C/106th Det. is at Contingency Operating Base Speicher; D/106th Det. is at COS Marez-East; B/126th Det. is at Forward Operating Base Warhorse and FOB Sykes; E/208th is at FOB Warrior and COB Q-West; and E/398th Det. is at Joint Base Balad.

Financial management detachments process several thousand transactions each month, and if finance Soldiers make mistakes, Soldiers and their families don't get paid. For every 10,000 documents processed, if there is a one percent drop in accuracy it impacts 100 deployed Soldiers and their families.

"I take great pride in ensuring my finance Soldiers are properly coding documents," said Sgt. Daniel Epperson, military pay non-commissioned officer in charge, Charlie Det., 106th FM Co., at Speicher. "We trust combat arms Soldiers to keep us safe, they should be able to trust that we will make sure their pay is on point."

Anytime a Soldier needs something updated in regards to allowances, allotments, savings deposit program, starting or stopping basic allowance for housing, family separation pay or other types of pay, a finance Soldier must code a transaction on the system.

If a Soldier who inputs the transaction mistypes a social security number, a name or inputs the wrong code for the transaction that needs to be done, the transactions will be rejected.

For example, when Soldiers arrive in theater, a finance Soldier must start special pays, including hazardous duty pay, family separation pay and others. If the finance Soldier mistypes any of these inputs, the transaction will reject and that Soldier will not be paid his entitlements on time.

Sgt. Lashannia Jackson, military pay non-commissioned officer in charge, Bravo Det., 126th FM Co., at FOB Warhorse, says that one way to ensure that her Soldiers code transactions correctly is to let them know they will do push-ups if their transactions reject. If a Soldier mistypes a Soldier's name or social security number, they owe her 100 push-ups.

Over the past seven months, her Soldiers have become more proficient, exceeding the lofty DFAS standards. As their muscles grew, her Soldiers realized it might be easier to reach 99 percent accuracy than try to pump out 200 push-ups a day, Jackson said.

Echo Det., 208th FM Co., has two MILPAY NCOICs. Sgt. Michael McCue from Cook, Minn., supports Soldiers at COB Q-West, and Sgt. David Norman from Lead Hill, Ark., supports Soldiers at FOB Warrior. Both NCOs understand the importance of ensuring all transactions are properly coded. They work with customers and their Soldiers to ensure they exceed 98 percent accuracy every week, said Barfield.

As the finance Soldiers improve pay for the warfighters, it allows their combat arms brothers and sisters to focus on operations outside the wire and not worry about pay issues, said Barfield.

To date the financial company has consistently exceeded the 98-percent accuracy rate and is now working to close the less than two percent accuracy gap before completing the deployment.

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