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Savannah accountant earns highest USACE honor for resource management

USACE Savannah District Public Affairs Specialist
Published Sept. 24, 2013
Virginia "Ginger" Auld, a supervisory accountant with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, reviews financial documents in her office. Auld was named the USACE Resource Management Professional of the Year for her accomplishments in fiscal year 2012. USACE photo by Tracy Robillard.

Virginia "Ginger" Auld, a supervisory accountant with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, reviews financial documents in her office. Auld was named the USACE Resource Management Professional of the Year for her accomplishments in fiscal year 2012. USACE photo by Tracy Robillard.

Col. Thomas Tickner, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, presents Virginia "Ginger" Auld with the USACE Resource Management Professional of the Year award, Aug. 27, 2013. USACE photo by George Jumara.

Col. Thomas Tickner, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, presents Virginia "Ginger" Auld with the USACE Resource Management Professional of the Year award, Aug. 27, 2013. USACE photo by George Jumara.

SAVANNAH, Ga.—Budgets, financial reports, audits…most people without an accounting background would dread these types of things. But for Savannah District supervisory accountant Virginia "Ginger" Auld, those things are her forte.

In fact, Auld does these tasks so well that she was named the Resource Management Professional of the Year by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters for her outstanding accomplishments in fiscal year 2012. This award is the Corps' highest honor for recognizing resource management employees.

"When I found out that I received this award, I felt honored," Auld said. "I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to work with such a great group of people."

Auld began her career with the Corps 22 years ago as an accounting intern at the Transatlantic Programs Center in Winchester, Va. After working various positions there, she packed her bags and moved to Savannah in 2001, where she is currently a supervisory accountant.

Auld says her most significant accomplishment related to the award was helping to make changes in the Corps' regulations and processes to ensure compliance with the Chief Financial Officers Act, commonly referred to as the CFO.

The CFO is a government-wide set of regulations to improve efficiency and accountability of federal financial management.

Auld was part of a USACE-wide Project Delivery Team for CFO compliance.

"Our team developed a road map for how we would implement these changes, and over several years we started changing processes within the Corps," she said. "We strengthened our internal controls, standardized business processes, and significantly improved working relationships across functional lines."

Along the way, Auld contributed to countless successes at the district, regional and national level. Just one example—in FY12 she organized a team to coordinate and facilitate CFO Training for Savannah District employees. This training tackled some of the most crucial problem areas in the financial arena, and it was recorded and shared at the Corps' regional and headquarters levels.

She worked closely with the Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA) to improve the financial reporting process for the district's hydropower accounts, while also serving as a liaison with SEPA's auditors. Her work with SEPA inspired wide-spread changes in the district and division civil works financial management process.

Auld, along with the entire Savannah Resource Management culture, emphasizes the importance of developing standard operating procedures for every process to better enable cross-training among employees.

"It helps tremendously when employees know what their other team members are doing," she said. "It's all about open communication and sharing information within the Corps."

In her opinion, the Savannah District sets the example within USACE for excellence in resource management.

"We lead the Corps," she said.

The best part of her job, she says, is working with the team.

"We draw all the different offices together and join as a team," she said. "We start out with a task or a goal, knowing it could take months or years to get there. But when we work together and share information, we achieve our goal."

"And the best part is looking back at all the people who made it happen and seeing the relationships that developed over that time," she added. "It's incredibly rewarding to see the hard work of all those people come to fruition."