NACM’s Government Business Group (GBG) presented a teleconference aimed at helping credit professionals navigate the contract payment system of the Department of Defense (DOD). The teleconference, held December 6, was entitled, "Columbus Centralized Customer Service Directorate." The Columbus office of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) is the main center through which DOD contract invoices and payments are processed. Charlotte Hurst, a Financial Specialist at the Columbus center, presented the information.
Noting the commitment her office has to DOD contractors and suppliers, Hurst said, "We try to provide the best customer services we can." Conferees were provided a detailed PowerPoint presentation to refer to and use as a valuable resource guide that contains various phone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses and websites that provide assistance to DOD contractors. The Centralized Customer Service Center in Columbus not only receives communications and inquiries but researches and resolves payment issues and accommodates customer visits and conferences. Another helpful resource mentioned by Hurst was the myInvoice website (https://myinvoice.csd.disa.mil/) where contractors and suppliers may go to track the status of their invoices. MyInvoice replaced the former system, called VPIS, in April 2006. Users of the website must register and provide a user name and password and Hurst pointed out that if a contractor or supplier registered on myInvoice wants to receive communications to more than one e-mail address, they would also have to register the holder of both e-mail addresses.
Hurst advised that in a growing number of contracting situations, there is a requirement to electronically send in invoices. "If you have to send in an invoice electronically, faxing it won’t facilitate payment," she said. "Check your contract to make sure you should be sending your invoice electronically. If the contract requires electronic invoicing and you sent in a hard copy of an invoice, it will be returned." Of the several payment systems DFAS uses to pay on government contracts Hurst said, "WAWF (Wide Area Work Flow) is the best of the three systems, if you have a choice to use it." Hurst also recommended staying with the same customer service representative until a particular contract payment problem they are handling is resolved.
Hurst highly recommended attending one of the four upcoming open houses held at the Columbus facility in the next year. She said those who attend could learn how contracts flow and get hands on training in the electronic payment system used by DFAS.
Source: NACM and Charlotte Hurst, Financial Analyst, DFAS Columbus