The 88th Comptroller Squadron went virtual recently after the Air Force Comptroller Services Portal launched. The CSP now serves as the primary route for finance customers to submit pay requests.
Tech Sgt. Jackie Summers, 88th CPTS Financial Operations NCO in charge, said they’ve been working on the CPS program since receiving the results of a 2018 survey conducted at 29 bases.
According to Summers, the majority of the survey’s participants said they wanted better communication with their finance offices and preferred for that communication to be in an electronic format.
Finance customers can access the portal and submit accounting, budgeting, civilian, military and travel pay inquiries by going to https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/SAFFMCSP/portal/SitePages/Home.aspx. The only user exceptions are reservists and traditional guard Airmen.
Summers said those Airmen should be able to access the portal sometime next year.
To access the site, customers will not need VPN access, but they will need a computer with a common access card reader since users will need to use their CAC to access the portal. New customers will also be prompted to update their user profile with their Department of Defense ID number, email address, supervisor’s information and base finance office information prior to creating their first inquiry in the portal.
“It’s pretty quick,” said Summers. “It takes about two minutes, and then the system is theirs.”
Currently, 88th CPTS customers send their finance inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
“We’re not removing payhelp,” Summers said.
“We’re not eliminating any form of communication with our office,” he added. “We’re just adding this as our primary source for customers for tracking purposes, so they have better oversight of what’s going on with their request.”
When customers submit a request through payhelp, they may send emails back and forth with finance technicians until the request is rejected or the process is completed. Requests can be rejected due to missing documents. Submitting documents that were encrypted because they include PII can also present a challenge for customers and their servicing technicians.
Summers said technicians aren’t always able to view those encrypted emails and must email the customer and request that the document be sent using a secure access file exchange like DoD SAFE.
“CSP has those PII (personally identifiable information) capabilities, so you can actually upload that document into CSP and send it to us,” said Summers. “It’s not only that. You can track what you send in real time.”
Customers will be able to see the status and who has their inquiry each step of the way to include the technician assigned to the request and any elevations required to process the request added Summers. Customers will also be able to communicate with the assigned technician throughout the process, upload missing or required information and still remain in queue.
The portal is set up to send automated emails notifying customers of updates during the inquiry process.
Summers said customers whose email addresses end in us.af.mil will receive email notifications automatically. Users whose email addresses end in anything else will still be able to track their inquiries. The only difference is they will have to log into the portal to see those updates until the CSP developers are able to fix that glitch.
The portal’s real-time notifications allow customers to be notified of any requested documents or information as it’s requested, which can impact processing time and limit delays in processing inquiries.
Summers said the portal is a relatively new program with only a couple of command’s currently using it to serve their finance customer support needs, so feedback is critical to improve services offered and user experiences.
“The system is going to get more robust as we continue,” said Summers. “It’s really just based on what the customers want to see.”
Summers added that they’re planning to add a Frequently Asked Questions section and to make commonly requested document packages (retirements, separations, etc.) so that they’re available, and customers won’t have to request them.
Other sections that are being added to the portal include quick links, knowledge articles, announcements, policy memos and guidelines and points of contact.
Summers said he recommends finance customers to use the portal due to its time-saving capability and its ability to streamline the process to ensure pay accuracy.
For questions or assistance with the portal, contact the 88th CPTS Finance Customer Service Office by sending an email to email@example.com.