Like all branches of service, the U.S. Army puts many of its own soldiers to work making sure finances are in order. Financial management technicians at home and abroad handle all manner of accounting for the Army, including pay, bookkeeping, purchasing, and audits.
As entry-level enlisted soldiers, the minimum education required for financial management technicians is a high school diploma or GED and a composite score of 101 for the clerical line score of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) exam. Additionally, a high school diploma or GED is no guarantee the Army will accept an applicant. Those with at least come college will have a better chance.
After basic training, the Army trains qualifying recruits in the basics of accounting, pay, budgets, and financial analysis. Army skill training doesn’t result in any special certifications but it does put soldiers in a good position to develop their skills and qualifications through on-the-job experience and additional off-duty education.
Duties and Responsibilities
Financial management technicians receive and post documents to accounting/budget systems, process treasury checks for payment and pay for invoices, maintain files and prepare financial reports/travel vouchers, review contracts and invoices, and receive reports.
Typically, financial management technicians work in teams or shops within a given Army unit as well as coordinate (often remotely) with civilians at the Defense Finance Accounting Service. They ensure soldiers get paid and resolve any pay discrepancies, help soldiers submit official travel vouchers, and organize the unit’s budget on behalf of their commanding officer. Additionally, forward-deployed finance technicians are responsible for disbursing a portion of each soldier’s paycheck in cash. This is because installing armor takes priority over installing ATMs in these areas.
Army financial management technicians can expect progression opportunities comparable to their peers in other fields, including promotions and assignments. Postings are available in the Army Reserve and National Guard for those seeking less than full-time duty.
Soldiers in finance also can improve their chances for promotion and advancement through various off-duty courses and certifications. Many of these are directly related to their work, including Accredited Business Accountant, Certified Government Financial Manager, and Certified Financial Planner. The Army also offers promotion incentives to soldiers who seek some certifications that might be helpful in collateral duties, such as fitness instruction and sports medicine.
Many of these certifications are approved training programs under the Montgomery GI Bill. Depending on operational needs, soldiers may make arrangements with their superiors for time to take these courses or take them off-duty, with costs covered by their veterans benefits.
For those who plan to parlay their military experience into a civilian career, Army Credentialing Opportunities On-Line suggests several related jobs, including bookkeepers, accountants, and payroll and timekeeping clerks, as well as numerous federal positions.
The Bad and the Good
At times, it takes some thick skin to work in this kind of customer service. Sooner or later, someone’s pay is going to get screwed up, and soldiers who are impacted by a mistake are most likely to take out their frustration on the finance tech they are working with.
It may not be a match for every personality, but financial management technicians contribute positively to missions by doing a job that just has to be done. They keep fellow soldiers happy every day—keeping them paid, provided for, and a little happier.