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Keeping the quality in the CDFM: ASMC's "Job 1".

When ASMC put its name and reputation on the Certified Defense Financial Manager (CDFM) program, it created and fielded the highest-quality program. This commitment to quality has never diminished. "In fact, quality has become our passion," asserts Mr. John Bunnell, Associate Director for Certification at ASMC and a former Department of Defense (DoD) financial management earner employee. "Everything we do absolutely has to be right!"

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There are two components to the CDFM program, the four examination modules and the Enhanced Defense Financial Management Training Course (EDFMTC). Because financial management n DoD is an ever-changing enterprise where new governance, new laws, and new financial systems are a way of life, both the certification examinations and the course materials are updated regularly to keep pace with the fast-moving DoD financial environment.

EDFMTC

Let's look first at the EDFMTC, a one-week course licensed by ASMC and offered by the DoD to its civilian employees and military members via a centrally funded program. The course gives an overview of the major competencies required by a journeyman-level financial management professional and is presented approximately 60 to 70 times a year at DoD locations worldwide.

To ensure that all EDFMTC enrollees have a similar learning experience, faculty members are required to teach from a standard set of ASMC-developed materials. ASMC reviews the credentials of all proposed faculty members for this program, and all are observed by their peers prior to independent teaching. Faculty members are chosen for breadth of experience and are subject to periodic evaluation of their teaching competency. Anyone who is not up to the high standards expected is not re-engaged as an instructor.

Once each year, EDFMTC faculty members convene in the Washington, D.C. area to receive briefings from top DoD officials concerning any new developments that will affect course content and teaching points. These include briefings on fiscal law, auditing, personnel systems, financial systems, the DoD budget, and congressional areas of interest. Faculty members are asked to comment on needed changes to the organization and content of the course that, along with the subject matter updates, form the basis for the annual revisions to the curriculum materials.

The American Council on Education (ACE) also reviews the EDFMTC every few years. ACE is The national umbrella organization for post-secondary education quality assurance in the United States. Its teams of business college faculty members have periodically reviewed both the content and the conduct of the course since its inception and have recommended that college credit be awarded for the EDFMTC, either at the undergraduate or the graduate level, depending on students' needs and, for graduate credit, completion of a research paper. ASMC also maintains an annual review with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), which recommends continuing professional education for certified public accountants. Both ACE and NASBA provide excellent quality assurance.

CDFM Examinations

The three examination modules that form the basic CDFM certification originally were developed with the assistance of the Chauncey Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey. That firm's consultants worked in conjunction with ASMC and DoD subject matter experts to develop the original pool of over 900 questions used in the tests. Each item was field-tested and psychometrically reviewed for validity and reliability and to ensure that it was referenced in law, DoD policies and procedures, or other federal guidance. The same stringent review process has been maintained: New material has been included in the examinations, and a fourth (optional) examination module has been added.

A Certification Commission provides governance for the CDFM program. Commission members include senior financial professionals from across the DoD components and representatives from the acquisition community and the private sector. The commission meets periodically, reviews program activity, and decides whether policy or procedural changes are needed. Alvin Tucker, former DoD Deputy Chief Financial Officer, currently chairs this commission. Mr. Tucker, who holds many certifications including the CPA and CDFM, says, "This program has been designed to help those professionals demonstrate their knowledge in a consistent and credible manner--and it has succeeded completely in doing so."

To summarize, every aspect of the CDFM program is constantly being reviewed and updated, with quality always a primary consideration. As ASMC Executive Director Robert Hale notes, "I urged ASMC to start this effort some years ago when I was Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Financial Management & Comptroller) so we could demonstrate to Congress and to the American taxpayer that our people knew their jobs. Today as ASMC executive director, I remain just as committed to this outcome!"
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Author:Raines, John
Publication:Armed Forces Comptroller
Date:Jan 1, 2008
Words:761
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