|Burdened by the cost and inconvenience of paying dozens of contractors invdividually, USAID called on MBO -- and reduced its administration by 80%.|
Coordinator for Counterterrorism, USAID
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent government agency that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world. Among its many services, USAID uses contracted Investigative Special Agents to perform background investigations on existing and new employees, contractors, and Personal Services Contractors (PSCs). Before engaging MBO Partners, USAID paid its Agents using internal processes that increased error potential and overburdened its administrative personnel. Even worse, its internal processes resulted in frequent payment delays, which discouraged and irritated the Agents.
Why MBO Partners? USAID awarded MBO Partners (then MyBizOffice®) a five-year contract after a competitive bid process. It's main goals: reduce administration, reduce Agents' payment times, and provide access to a comprehensive benefits program. "Overall, I saw this as a win-win-win situation," said USAID's coordinator for counterterrorism, Jeff Denale. "The newer investigators are younger and... they're looking for a benefits package. We were looking for a reduc ed administrative workload." Further, USAID selected MBO Partners because its solution supported convenient online enrollment, online time and expense processing, and consolidated payment processing. The MBO Partners solution could also improve the efficiency and consistency of its financial transactions while gaining better visibility into Agents' financial activity.
The MBO Partners Solution MBO Partners implemented a customized solution for USAID that enables Agents to participate either as W-2 consultants in the MBO Exec program for self-employed consultants (with access to the MBO Partners group benefit programs) or as independent sub-contractors. MBO Partners produced a secure, USAID-specific online area through which Agents—regardless of their location or employment status—can learn about the MBO Partners service and provide the information needed for enrollment. This area interfaces with the MBO Partners independent contractor enrollment system, which enables Agents to begin their assignments quickly. The system also serves as the backbone for payment processing, benefits administration, and reporting services. Based upon USAID's approval of Agents' time and expenses, a convenient, consolidated bill is generated automatically and sent to USAID. "We had been exploring it with anybody who would listen and help offer a solution to [reduce] what we saw as a tremendous workload on us," said Randy Streufert, USAID's chief of personnel, information, and domestic security division. "That was our selfish concern."
The Results MBO Partners significantly decreased average payment time for USAID, resulting in happier and more productive Agents—and positioning USAID as a more desirable organization for which to work. Also, because MBO Partners consolidates all payments, USAID has dramatically reduced the overhead for Agent administration and has gained easier access to information about their activity. According to Streufert, "there are a lot of administrative actions, and you multiply that times 50-plus investigators, and it's a huge workload. Each time we had to add money to a contract, that involved our procurement office, and there were 50-plus pots of money they had to be tracking. The big advantage is now we're dealing with one pot of money." Streufert concluded that MBO Partners' payment and processing services reduced the "time spent administering [our] contractors by over 80%."