Watch your mouth!

Angry, confused and even highly agitated Airmen and family members are sometimes found at customer service kiosks in comptroller squadrons around the Air Force, but many issues can be fixed by the customer themselves.  Programs and applications are in place to increase understanding of finance actions and to help members take a more proactive approach with their pay and entitlements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marissa Tucker/Released)

Angry, confused and even highly agitated Airmen and family members are sometimes found at customer service kiosks in comptroller squadrons around the Air Force, but many issues can be fixed by the customers themselves. Programs and applications are in place to increase understanding of finance actions and to help members take a more proactive approach to their pay and entitlements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marissa Tucker/Released)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Finance. Comptroller squadron. Whatever you want to call them, they are probably one of the most loved and hated functions in the Air Force.

When things are going well with our pay and allowances, we have good thoughts about our financial gurus. But when something goes wrong, it's a different story! I'd be lying if I said I have not, at some point in my career, said a certain word with distain in my voice while sitting in the waiting area holding some form with a bunch of numbers and dollar signs on it - "Finance!!!" Admit it, you've been there too.

The next time you're tempted to take their name in vain, consider this: their career field has undergone significant changes in structure and has endured manning reductions over the past couple of years. One of the justifications for significantly thinning the ranks within the field is because a number of finance functions have been made available online.

If someone were to put you in a room full of cash and told you to help yourself (all on the up and up, of course), would you? The Air Force has created a "room" on the Air Force Portal where you can access a multitude of information such as rates (Basic Housing Allowance, Overseas Housing Allowance, etc), regulation references, rate calculators (Permanent Chance of Station, Temporary Living Allowance, terminal leave, leave sell back, final separation, etc). Are you going to help yourself now?

The point is this: if you've found yourself bemoaning the apparent lack of timely customer service in the finance office, realize they're doing less with less just like the rest of us. The intention was to have us wean ourselves from the comptroller's waiting room and link us up with all of the self-help options on the Internet.

"This doesn't mean you shouldn't still use your local Finance office if you need clarification or advice," says Master Sgt. Melody Jackson, 39th CPTS Financial Services flight chief. "This is just another means to get information."

The Virtual Finance page can be found on the Air Force Portal on the left side of the main page in the "Top Links" tab as well as in the "Life and Career" tab at the top of the page.