By Stephen Hickok
DCMA Public Affairs
Johanna Akinfenwa, left, a contracts group team lead with Defense Contract Management Agency International in Houston, Texas, stands with Jennifer Quinones, Defense Contract Audit Agency deputy assistant director for policy and plans; and Cassandra McDuff, Defense Finance Accounting Service Program Coordination Division chief at the National Contract Management Agency World Congress in Orlando, Florida. The three presented a breakout session on contract closeout for cost-type contract after Akinfenwa found that contract closeout was missing from the annual conference training schedule. (Photo courtesy of Babatunde Akinfenwa)
Last year, Johanna Akinfenwa attended one of the largest annual meetings of contract management professionals in the country and noticed something was missing. At the 2015 National Contract Management Association’s World Congress in Dallas, Texas, there was no mention of contract closeouts.
At this year’s conference, however, Akinfenwa, a contracts group team lead with Defense Contract Management Agency International here, was able to fill in the gap.
The NCMA’s largest training event of the year included panel discussions and keynote addresses to educate attendees about the future of contract management. It also featured breakout sessions including Akinfenwa’s presentation titled “Contract Closeout for Cost-Type Contracts.”
After discussing with her leadership and contacting NCMA, she was given the green light to present the training.
“Contract closeout is a priority across the Department of Defense,” said Akinfenwa. “To develop and deliver a training session to the NCMA community was a great opportunity to emphasize to all stakeholders how important it is to consider contract closeout throughout the life cycle of a contract.”
To build the course, she combined her expertise with representatives from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and the Defense Contract Audit Agency. “Since DFAS and DCAA both play a significant role in the contract closeout process, we collaborated in bringing best practices and initiatives for each respective agency,” she said. “Each representative shared their key roles in the closeout process. It’s my understanding that this is the first time the three agencies have collaborated in presenting closeout training to the industry.”
Along with the main goal focusing on the importance of timely contract closeout, Akinfenwa discussed the financial benefits of the process. “Timely and efficient contract closeout is imperative in order to protect government interests and for agencies to efficiently manage the remaining funds,” she said. “There are large financial impacts. Timely contract closeouts benefit all stakeholders because it helps to save money, time and resources.”
The breakout session also brought attention to initiatives put in place to streamline the closeout process. “Our agencies have created a tri-agency working group with a goal to strategically align priorities to ensure all actions are completed on the same contract to close out the contract,” said Akinfenwa. “Specifically, the tri-agency working group aligns DCMA’s closeout strategy with DCAA’s audit plan and the military services financial records maintained by DFAS.”
The executive director of NCMA, Michael Fischetti, in a letter, thanked Akinfenwa and the other presenters for their participation. “With all that’s going on with the federal budget we were thrilled to see nearly 2,000 attendees at this year’s event,” he said. “Your participation provided great value to these attendees, which has been reflected in the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received about this year’s event.”
Akinfenwa said the value of the experience was significant. “The World Congress provided an excellent and unique opportunity to share my experience, lessons learned and potential solutions, as well as the networking opportunities to make valuable connections with like-minded individuals and companies. The time and effort was well worth it.”
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