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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Dec. 6, 2021

FSMS, the Coast Guard's financial system is delayed

By Kathy Murray, MyCG Writer

The Coast Guard is running four weeks behind schedule in its transition to the Financial Systems Modernization Solution (FSMS) which will continue to delay regular processing of invoice payments. Vendors will receive interest on late payments in accordance with the prompt payment act. 

FSMS, the new financial system adopted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was due to come online at the Coast Guard Nov. 17. Transferring years of financial data from the service’s legacy system is a huge undertaking. The delays in data migration processing are largely caused by the transition from the legacy appropriation structure and lines of accounting to the common appropriation structure and new project/task structure, says Cmdr. Thomas Crowley, who is helping with the integration.  

So, what does this mean for the transition to FSMS?  

Over the long run, not much. FSMS is replacing a legacy collection of 13 separate financial systems with an integrated commercial system boasting strong internal controls and technical support. Nobody expected a transition that Rear Adm. Mark Fedor has called “a once-in-a-career event” to be easy.     

And in the short term? 

The Coast Guard is still conducting business, Crowley says. Since the service shut down its Core Accounting System (CAS) and Financial Procurement Desktop (FPD) on Sept. 29, all financial transactions have been stored in an interim financial system.  

The biggest impact will be on vendors who will have to wait a little longer to be paid. Fortunately, the service has been transparent about this and set up a system where vendors can request a payment sooner, if necessary.  

Meanwhile, a transition team of Coast Guard, DHS, and IBM personnel has been working to complete the migration of financial obligation data from FPD and CAS to FSMS, to ensure it is ready for Coast Guard use. Once complete, most obligations from the cutover period will be transferred to FSMS, as well. Due to the delay, some of this data will have to be manually entered into FSMS.  

Is this why my travel claim hasn’t been reimbursed? 

Yes. Your claim will be paid once the new system is online. That’s assuming you’ve submitted it correctly and it’s been properly approved.  

The Coast Guard has made some temporary changes to reduce the burden of travel costs on members.  

You can book air and train travel on the central billing account (CBA) during the cutover period, for example. You can also use your government travel credit card (GTCC) for certain PCS expenses and TDY travel as long as your card was not in an overdue status at the start of the cutover period.  

How do I make a purchase on the new system and how soon will I be able to do this?  

If you’re a cardholder (someone who can make a purchase), there are iPro and CLM trainings available on the FSMS Common Core Learning Platform that can walk you through the process. If you’re unsure how to get training, reach out to your supervising finance and procurement professionals or check out the resources outlined on MyCG.  

Keep in mind that there are several procurements being delayed during the cutover period. Even if you have immediate access, expect a backlog delay as the purchase process comes online in the new system.  

What should I do before accessing FSMS? 

All users need to get a new role. If you were a fund manager in FPD, you might be called something else in FSMS. In order to be granted access, you will need to have submitted a role request through ALM. If you did this by Nov. 12, you should have full access to FSMS when it goes live.  

If you didn’t submit to ALM, you can still submit a request, but some roles won’t have full permissions in FSMS for the first several days.  

Anyone who has user roles set up in Access Lifecycle Maintenance (ALM) and is approved will be able to use the system immediately upon go-live. Otherwise, you’ll need to request access and be approved before you’re good to go. The quickest way is to follow the directions sent to you from Common Core’s LIBERTI tool, or use the steps outlined in the CGCC Customer Service Center Job Aid.   

How do I access training? 

You can access training through the Common Core Learning Platform, through the FSMS homepage. The CCLP offers Web-based training (WBT) for basic users as well as specialized service providers. Some users are also being asked to sign up for certain instructor-led (iWBT) courses.  

Remember, before signing up for training, you’ll need to confirm your roles.  

Is there anywhere else that I can get help with FSMS? 

Yes. The FSMS Assistance Support Team (FAST) offers crowd sourcing quick solutions to common problems, and allows you to chat with your peers and subject matter experts about an issue. So far FAST has resolved hundreds of questions. If you can’t find an answer that way, you can fill out a FAST ticket and be referred for further help, or if your problem is a technical issue with FSMS, you can submit a FSMS helpdesk ticket here.  

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