The Business of Defense

ASMC becomes SDFM, continues history of evolving with defense financial management

SDFM name reflects the wide range of current members — from accountants, budgeteers and auditors to data analysts, system engineers and data scientists.

Over its 75-plus years, continual evolution has been a hallmark of the American Society for Military Comptrollers, so it only makes sense that its name should also evolve to better reflect the needs of its members in the defense financial management community and the support the organization provides them.

To that end, ASMC is now the Society of Defense Financial Management, or SDFM.

The name change grew out of reflecting on the work of the nonprofit that serves financial management professionals across the public and private sectors, said CEO Rich Brady for SDFM’s The Business of Defense podcast on Federal News Network.

While doing a deep dive into the brand and its mission, the society’s team came to realize that the ASMC name no longer resonated with its members and was unlikely to connect with future members the society seeks to attract, Brady said.

“Specifically, it was those terms — ‘military’ and ‘comptroller,’ ” he said, “because the vast majority of the people who work in the defense financial management profession today are not in the military, and they’re not comptrollers.”

In truth, this is the organization’s third name change. ASMC began in 1948 as the Society of Military Accountants and Statisticians. It became ASMC in 1955.

Leaning into technology in financial management

“Over the roughly 70 years after that, as the computers of the profession evolved, ASMC continued to evolve,” Brady said. Today, its members range from accountants, budgeteers and auditors to data analysts, system engineers and data scientists.

“This name change, this rebranding, is really intended to be more inclusive of that broader diversity in the defense financial manager community to include those on the corporate side, the commercial side and the government side,” he said.

Brady, who served 32 years in the Marine Corps before joining SDFM, recalled that when he started out in the early 1990s, the job of a comptroller or financial manager involved capturing, recording and reporting financial information.

“Today, we largely have systems that do all of that for us, and they do a very good job that gives us more time as defense financial managers to do higher-value-added activities for our organizations — the data analysis, the data visualizations, the scenario planning, the forecasting — really forward looking for our organizations and not always looking in the rearview mirror just capturing, recording and reporting,” he said. “So again, a highly technical field today compared to what it was just 30 years ago.”

Tree-pronged mission of SDFM

As SDFM continues to evolve programs and services to meet the federal financial management community’s needs, its mission is threefold:

  • Promote the education, training and certification of defense financial managers. “We help the community upskill, so that they are up-to-date with the latest technology, and they can provide that support with modern technology and modern ways.”
  • Drive financial transformation in the defense sector. “We create this market for the government and commercial to come together, identify opportunities, create solutions, mitigate risks and ultimately create capabilities for our nation’s events.”
  • Uphold ethical and professional standards. “The foundation of any profession is being ethical and compliant with all laws and regulations. Because ultimately, we are stewards of the taxpayers’ dollar.”

It’s also critical to keep the work of its 18,000 members front and center: supporting the missions and capabilities — even the combat demands — of the military services and the Defense Department.

“We like to say, ‘Your proximity to the battlefield does not determine your contribution to the fight,’ ” he said. “Everybody in this field — whether you’re out there on the front lines, or you’re in the Pentagon, or you’re a contractor out in Tyson’s Corner — you have the ability to impact what takes place.”

To listen to the full discussion between Federal News Network Publisher Jeffrey Wolinsky SDFM CEO Rich Brady, click the podcast play button below:

Discover more stories about how to thrive as a federal contractor. Find all episodes of The Business of Defense podcast.

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