For as long as I’ve helped clients unravel their billing issues with the government, I’ve always been impressed with the service from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) help desk. Help desk agents are very knowledgeable about the DFAS payment system and the intricacies of Wide Area Workflow (WAWF). They quickly isolate the problem for any billing issue I have. True, it does take some time to get through on a call sometimes, especially during peak work hours. Still, whenever a voucher is rejected or placed on hold by DFAS, it usually takes only a few minutes on a call to find a solution.
Some weeks ago, DFAS instituted a new process rule that forbid third-party consultants (like ReliAscent) from calling the DFAS help desk on a client’s behalf. DFAS agents were telling us it is "illegal" for DFAS to assist third-party party consultants with their client issues concerning DFAS. In addition, DFAS agents instructed us to have clients write a letter on company letterhead stating they are authorized us access to DFAS on their behalf. This dated letter was to list all contracts and the CAGE Code. The letter was to be notarized and faxed to DFAS.
The other option suggested was to have a three-way call to DFAS to include the client.
This was not shaping up to be a high tech, low bureaucracy process.
In response, I sent this message through the DFAS feedback loop: “This is unfortunate since many small businesses struggle understanding the arcane ins and outs of government pay procedures and rely on 3rd parties to navigate the labyrinth. Surely there is a way this can be done, other than having a contractor stay on hold with their third party for DFAS assistance. My clients have given me the "legal" authority through WAWF to submit vouchers on their behalf. Why can't the same be done for DFAS payment issues?”
It appears I wasn’t the only one objecting to these latest hurdles, and the message got through to DFAS. They now have an option when you call in where you identify yourself as a small business. Once you select that option, you or any third-party you designate can get the help you need with your billing issues. No notarized letter is required.
My hat goes off to DFAS and I look forward to their continued great service.
If you need help processing your invoices/working with the WAWF system, please visit our WAWF/Government Invoicing Services page (and fill out the form on the left), or contact ReliAscent today. Our experts have assisted thousands of contractors, and are here to help!
-Dave Donley, ReliAscent