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By Airman Alexis Christian, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 08, 2019
1st Lt. Danielle Sease, 21st Comptroller Squadron flight commander and financial analyst, works at her computer in the finance office Sept. 30, 2019 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Sept. 30 marked the end of the fiscal year and the end of year closeout for finance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Alexis Christian)
Members of the 21st Comptroller squadron gather to discuss how end of the fiscal year closeout is proceeding Sept. 30, 2019 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Peterson’s Finance Office doesn’t just cover the 21st Space Wing, but also all tenant units located on Peterson AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Alexis Christian)
For the 21st Comptroller Squadron, everything throughout the year leads up to the big day, Sept. 30, which is the end of the fiscal year closeout.
“It’s a process that goes all year long,” said Gordon Hauser, 21st CPTS civil engineer budget analyst. “It’s not just Sept. 30, that’s just a deadline to work toward during the year.”
Closeout is an important end of year accounting for every dollar spent in the 21st Space Wing and at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Airmen in the Peterson finance office are behind all of the numbers and balancing that goes on during the year. According to Tech. Sgt. Jillian Novak-Stinson, 21st CPTS flight chief and financial analyst, this event is not just a quick sign off, there is a lot of work and communication that goes into it.
“It’s the last day of the fiscal year for finance, so we have to ensure that all the accounts for everyone on our base are closed and balanced,” Novak said. “It’s a lot of communication, I work on the tenant side of the house and it’s over $2 billion that we manage and we can’t do that in house.”
Novak and Airman 1st Class Kaci Martin, 21st CPTS financial analyst said they work as the go between for the tenant units and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, to make sure that money that has been set aside to pay for certain things has been officially approved.
“Tenants were just added to our checklist for this year, so it’s been a whole new beast,” said Martin. “It can be hard because the tenants may have set aside money to go toward a project or equipment, and if DFAS hasn’t approved it yet, we can’t count it as fully closed out. So we have to take the accounts and call DFAS for approval to do our part.”
Closeout involves a lot of research and tying up loose ends, according to Martin, and making sure no one is overspending on their budget.
“In basic terms, it’s balancing a big check book. We have to go through and make sure all the transactions have been done correctly and that everything balances out properly,” said Novak.
With a focused team, the Peterson finance office worked some late nights to make sure that closeout was completed, and according to Novak the hours weren’t easy.
“It’s a work day that doesn’t end until headquarters tells you you’re done. You run reports and call to get info from people who have already gone home,” she said. “Luckily it’s just a few days a year, it’s not constant and I have a huge amount of respect for shift workers and people who work 12 hours at a time.”
The hardest part can be new people joining the team, according to Martin. She says you can’t teach people how to do closeout operations ahead of time, because every year is different. You can only learn it by doing it.
“I think it’s something that is important to everyone, everyone it affected in one way or another,” Hauser said. “This year, for instance, the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron is getting carpet, and the dorms are getting a new lock system put in. All of this goes through our office and we account for it all.”