With 100 Percent FPA Conversion, PAM Focuses Ahead to Release 4.0
By Gary M. Beets, Kansas City Regional Financial Center
Give pause for a moment and just think about the size of a project that would be responsible for updating and consolidating more than 30 different applications used to issue one billion payments per year by check, ACH, and wire. Mix into that new accounting requirements, new formats to carry those accounting requirements, and numerous interfacing applicationsóboth internal and external to FMS. Now sprinkle in a large variety of federal agencies with an equally varied set of requirements that need to be converted to the new formats. What do you have? The ingredients for a major opportunity to improve the government's ability to issue payments along with enhanced accounting and reporting capabilities. This is exactly what the Payment Application and Modernization (PAM) Project is all about!
For the PAM Project, 2010 and 2011 have been eventful and the proof is in the significant accomplishments and milestones the Project Team successfully delivered. For example, the deployment of Release 3.0 into production in November 2010 is but one of many achievements over the life of the Project. Release 3.0 put into place the majority of the functionality needed to make conventional ACH and check types of payments such as salary, travel, vendor, and miscellaneous. The Regional Financial Centers (RFC's) have been busy working with approximately 200 Federal Program Agency (FPA) customers to transition them to the new PAM payment process and as of mid-June 2011, 100 percent of FPA's have been converted to PAM.
Future releases of the software will accommodate additional functionality and other payment types such as wire transfers and CTX (Corporate Trade Exchange) payments. Both of these payment types are scheduled to be included in the new PAM application by November 2012. This will also roughly correlate to the point in time by which agencies can begin using the payment application to report new accounting requirements to Government-wide Accounting (GWA). This also sets the stage for FPA's to comply with using the PAM standard format to report the new accounting requirements. The sunset date for FPA's to comply with this requirement is October 2014, as outlined in Commissioner Lebryk's letter (dated January 11, 2011) to FPA Chief and Deputy Chief Financial Officers.
With each new release and agency conversion to the PAM payment process, FMS becomes more efficient. This is already evidenced by the FPA conversions to date requiring less manual intervention to process and handle. It is estimated that as much as 85 percent of manual handling associated with the legacy payment process can be eliminated under PAM. An improved payment process means that FMS is not just meeting taxpayer expectations for efficiencyóbut exceeding them!