JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., –
When thinking of banking or finance, people may have a tendency to think: short hours and a relatively simple job. However, this is a superficial view of a very detailed occupation.
Not only are the finance team's hours much longer than the lobby sign indicates, the job is much more complicated and detail oriented than commonly understood.
"We don't go home at three like everybody thinks," said SrA James Hauck, 628th Comptroller Squadron budget analyst, "First off, we have to handle the people that are still in the lobby come three o' clock; we can't just kick them out. Secondly, we have to finish whatever audits are left at the end of the day. Besides all that, we have to catch up on any other work and complete whatever training we may have scheduled for that day as well."
Having to do so much at the end of the day, most of the finance team doesn't leave work until well after 3 pm and, approaching one of their busiest times of the year, they stay even later than usual.
Hauck said "We just finished close out. Close out is basically the end of the fiscal year so come October first, we have to have all funds closed out and audits finished to ensure we have no 'fallout' money. When we have money for all of our base operations, we ensure it is spent appropriately and that there is none leftover. Otherwise, we lose the money and the next time we need to ask for money for operations like that, it would be more difficult to get the amount we ask for."
"Because of how hectic close out can be, we stay after hours for most of September, as well as some weekends," said SSgt. Tiffany Whitmore, 628th CPTS financial advisor and resource advisor. She added, "When it came to the last day to get everything done, a lot of us were here until two in the morning just to ensure everything was complete."
Despite working long hours and being as diligent as finance is, their work is often overlooked because so much of it is behind the scenes.
Whitmore said, "So many people think our job is easy but, I can promise you, it is quite difficult and a lot of the time it can be a thankless job. People think that our Airmen up front don't know what they're doing because sometimes they're slow to provide answers. The reality is they're trying to find the exact answer they need."
With all the difficulties there are positives to being in the finance world.
Hauck said, "Some benefits that come with working in finance are that it's easily transferrable to the civilian world for work. Additionally, the people here are great. They help the squadron stay calm things get hectic. I really like this squadron."
"A big positive for me is that the finance office environment is flexible for my family needs," said Whitmore. "If I have to get off early to pick up my son, they usually let me. For the times they can't let me go early, they still let me go get him, I just have to come back and have him stay with me as I work," She added.
Operating like a giant clock, the finance office needs everyone on the finance team to function properly. Though there are challenges, the team meets them as a unit. The finance team is an integral part of the base and the Department of Defense.
Whitmore said, "The things we do help everyone. We make the entire base run. Without us, bases couldn't function and completing any mission would be nearly impossible."