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USDA Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington , D.C. 20090-6090
(202) 205-8333
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ABS Frequently Asked Questions

Questions are grouped in the following categories to aid you in finding an answer quickly:

Aviation Business System Tips return to top

  1. What level of e-authentication access do I need to work with ABS?

    What level of e-authentication access do I need to work with ABS? All users require only USDA e-authentication level 1 access; Forest Service employees who have a USDA e-authentication profile are automatically granted level 2 access; if you don't have a profile, be sure to create an USDA employee account.

    • Manager (data entry) - Non-FS employees can get a USDA e-authentication profile directly from the website: http://ibs.fs.fed.us/aviation
    • COR - The Contracting Officer will grant a COR access through EaTIS to the specific contracts they are assigned to. The CO will issue the COR a PIN number for electronic approval of payment packages.
    • Vendor - e-authentication profile granted from the website; vendors also need a PIN and their DUNS number to access ABS. The CO will issue the vendor a PIN number.
    • CO - only Forest Service employees at this time.

    Requesting a USDA e-authentication profile takes just a few minutes; registering with ABS takes only minutes, but activation of the account can take up to two days.

  2. How do I get help with ABS?

    The ABS helpdesk can be reached at 1-866-224-7677 or helpdesk@dms.nwcg.gov. The helpdesk can answer ABS application or functionality questions. If the question is business related it will be elevated to a business area Subject Matter Expert.

    The ABS website may also be helpful; http://www.fs.fed.us/business/abs This website has frequently asked questions (select FAQ from the left side menu), training modules, and general information about the application.

  3. I'm with BLM and I can't get access to the ABS application.

    I'm with BLM and I can't get access to the ABS application.
    BLM at the national level is aware of the issue and working on a solution. Some BLM employees working with their IT departments and the Bureau Networking Division have successfully gained access.

  4. Do I need the Disconnected Client?

    Only users who are frequently or permanently located at remote sites with no internet access should request the disconnected client version of the software. The disconnected client is not recommended for laptop users who are only occasionally assigned to a remote area. In these situations it may be better to record information on paper and enter data in the web based application as soon as possible.

    To get authorization for the Disconnected Client, contact the helpdesk at 1-866-224-7677, follow the instructions in the e-mail authorization you receive from the helpdesk.

  5. Does My eAuth account ever expire?

    Your eAuth accounts automatically disables itself if you do not log into it at least once within 13 months. This criteria will change to probably 6 months, but no information on an implementation date of when this will happen has been provided.

    If the eAuth account is disabled due to inactivity, the User simply has to e-mail the aAuth Help Desk to have it activated again. The eAuth website is as follows: www.eauth.egov.usda.gov

Shortcuts & Tricks for Data Entry return to top

  1. Finding a Contract

    In ABS, there is a field where you can enter a partial contract number ... in this field, enter the LAST 4 digits of the contract number, and the system will pull all contracts that have that same last four digits (this should be a pretty short list). This is much faster than if you click on the "Get Contracts" button. NOTE: If you enter the first digits of the contract number (like "AG-84M8-C...") your system will likely freeze up.

  2. Approving an Invoice

    If you are having a problem Approving Invoices and you are using the Approve All button, try approving them individually. That may help approve the invoices that only have AV on the Flight Use Invoice.

  3. Job Code Validation

    ABS requires a valid Forest Service job code in order for data to be submitted. The majority of calls to the helpdesk involve job code questions. Users can check out valid incident job codes at: http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/ibp/incident_payments/incident_payments.html look under firecode logs. Forest Service users can access job code data on the intranet ASC site at: http://fsweb.r3.fs.fed.us/asc/bfm/programs/financial-operations/incident-business Go to the bottom of the page and select "2007 fire codes".

    Project WFSU codes may be on the annual incident job code list; also on this site is a list of override codes for all Forest Service units: http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/ibp/incident_payments/incident_payments.html

    • Override Codes listing (MS Excel)
    • Incident and Support Codes list (MS Excel) This document has 9 tabs; one for each code type

    If the code it is not on this list, you may need to check with the project manager to ensure you have the proper code.

  4. Whoops! Forget to print your flight use report?!

    If you didn't print a flight use report after it has been sent to payment, you can still print at any time:

    1. Select "View/Modify Package" menu option
    2. Search for the package (use wide date range as ABS uses package creation date and not the date of the invoice in the package)
    3. Enter contract number contract item number and select Next.
    4. Choose the package and click on "View/Modify Package" button
    5. All the invoices will be hyperlinked on the cumulative summary screen.
    6. Select the hyperlink which will open up the invoice, select "View/Print 122"
  5. Splitting charges to different job codes

    Example: an aircraft that spent 1/2 day of availability on one incident and was dispatched to another incident for the other half of the day. While its not very obvious on how to split charges to different job codes, there is a way to do it. Put in a full day of AV under one of the job codes. Save it. Go to the add/edit portion for that invoice. Go to the accounting portion. Select Add Accounting Line. Manually enter the second code with a 1/2 day of availability and edit the full day of availability to a half day.

  6. Remarks

    When someone (COR, inspector, helicopter manager, dispatcher, etc) enters the data for the 122s into ABS, their name is appears in the "Government representative" block. It is helpful to also put a phone number in the "Remarks" field -- this gives the COR, vendor, and/or ASC someone to contact if they have a question regarding a particular 122.

Vendors & Contractors return to top

  1. How long will it take after I log into ABS for the first time and register before I can work in ABS?

    You will have access within two business days.

  2. In the ABS sign-on screen, under "Enter the User Name and Password," is the User Name and Password case sensitive?

    The user name is not case sensitive, but the password is case sensitive.

  3. When I enter a partial contract number, do I have to enter the dashes

    Yes. If the part of the contract number you are entering contains dashes, the dashes must also be entered. For example, the contract number AB-0123-4-56, could be partially entered by the first or last four digits, but must also include the dashes. For example: AB-01 or 3-4-56.

  4. The helicopter manager/fixed wing manager forgot to include a flight leg in a daily invoice, what must I do to amend the invoice to include the missing flight?

    Vendors are NOT allowed to enter missing flight legs. You can only modify existing flight legs. You must make a request in writing for including the missing flight leg to the Contracting Officer or the COR.

Helicopters, Fixed Wing Managers, COs & CORs - Web Application return to top

  1. Who needs a PIN number?

    Vendors, Contracting Officers (CO) and Contracting Officer Representatives (COR's). A PIN is NOT required for Data Entry of FS-6500-122 information.

  2. When I enter a partial contract number, do I have to enter the dashes?

    Yes. If the part of the contract number you are entering contains dashes, the dashes must also be entered. For example, the contract number, AB-0123-4-56, could be partially entered by the first or last four digits, but must also include the dashes. For example: 3-4-56.

  3. Do I use ABS for Forest Service owned aircraft?

    ABS is not available for WCF aircraft at this time. However that functionality will be added in the near future. Until then, FS owned aircraft use will be tracked using the current process.

  4. Do I have to use, "Add Flight Legs" for each line item I want to enter on the 122?

    Yes. Each leg within the main body of the 122 is created individually by selecting the "Add Leg" button then entering the details for that leg in the "Add a Flight Leg" window. Note: Miscellaneous charges that are shown in boxes 25-31 of the 122 can be added by selecting "Additional Charge" or "Add Tax Information."

  5. The aircraft was unavailable for part of the day. How do I enter the non-availability time on the 122?

    Once the invoice has been created for the item number and date of unavailability, select "Add Leg." Enter the details for the unavailability, including the pay code "NA." Select "Clock" for meter type; enter the time the aircraft was unavailable; then select "Calculate." The unavailability for that time period will be calculated and will show as a deduction on the 122. Note: The "Full Availability Flag" may be selected if the contractor is entitled to full availability.

  6. An invoice has already been created for this date and tail number. How can I see the details of this invoice?

    From the ABS home page, select View/Modify Invoice. Enter the date or date range and the partial or full contract number. Select, "Get Contract." Once the screen has refreshed and shows the complete contract number, select the appropriate item number from the drop down menu. Select "Next." The next screen that appears shows a list of invoices within the specified date/date range. Note: Once an invoice has been packaged, it no longer appears under the "View/Modify Invoice" heading.

  7. I have created an invoice package, but I cannot locate it. What date is used for the invoice package?

    The date of an invoice package is the date that it was created.

  8. How often do I need to enter the FS-6500-122 data into ABS?

    The data should be entered and the invoice completed ("Submit" button) each day that there are costs incurred for the aircraft. The time of day that it is completed is not critical but it should be submitted every 24 hours. There may be occasions when that is not possible (see Disconnected Client FAQ's) but the invoices must be completed as often as possible in order to report fire costs, accruals and to make payments to contractors.

  9. I need to enter flight time for the optional use period, but this pay code is not listed in the drop down list. What do I do?

    Contract information, such as pay codes, must be entered by the Contracting Officer (CO). Contact the appropriate CO or COR for the contract.

  10. I'm entering a flight leg and noticed the rate is wrong. What should I do?

    The Contracting Officer (CO) is responsible for updating contract terms, such as flight rates. Contact the appropriate CO or COR for the contract.

  11. If an airport code is not available in the drop down airport list, how do I enter it?

    Type the description of the origin or destination location into the appropriate fields even though it is not part of the list. After the user saves the leg, ABS will designate this information as "Other" and store it along with the leg information.

  12. How do I add overnight charges to my invoice?

    Overnight charges can be added to an invoice by selecting "Overnight (ON)" from the drop down menu under "Additional Charge." Once selected, click "Add." The "Add Overnight Charge" window displays. Enter all appropriate data, select "Calculate," then, "Add Charge". The overnight charge now appears in the Additional Charge section below Current Flight Legs.

  13. When I enter the location for overnight charges, I notice the rate does not include M&IE. How do I enter this?

    When a location is selected from the PerDiem Lookup list, the Max PerDiem amount includes both lodging and meals for that location. A future update to the program will separate the per diem and M&IE into two fields.

  14. If I don't understand a specific portion or function of ABS, where can I get help?

    Call the ABS Helpdesk at 1-866-224-7677 or on the web at helpdesk@dms.nwcg.gov.

  15. I am managing a helicopter or a fixed wing aircraft and I am replaced by another manager during an operational period or the aircraft flies to another location and is managed by other individual. I don't have an opportunity to in-brief my replacement, what should I do to make the management transition more effective?

    You should enter the last flight leg in ABS and leave your name, phone number and e-mail address in the Remarks section of the last leg and/or the Additional Charge function so that if a question arises from either the in-coming manager or the COR, those individuals have ready access to answers to their questions. In addition, the payment folks can trace the person who entered the data into ABS.

  16. Where are mobilization and demobilization charges included?

    These charges should be entered as "Other Charges" in the Additional Charge portion of the invoice.

  17. When I printed a copy of the completed FS-122 some of the data is missing from the right margin, how do I solve this problem?

    Change the printer orientation to "Landscape."

  18. After completing all of the legs for an operational period, I select the Submit button and I receive a warning stating that the "Sum of all accounting information does not equal the total of all the flight legs and other charges." The invoice is not being submitted.

    Review each flight leg to confirm that a job code has been entered for each leg, and if an additional charge has been included, the correct job code has been assigned.

  19. After entering excise or segment taxes, I notice that those taxes are added into the Total All Charges (Field 32) but are not included in any Accounting Summary entries.

    All excise or segment taxes are included in the Total All Charges (Field 32), however ABS does not include those tax entries into the Accounting Summary until the Submit Invoice button is clicked. The fixed-wing manager (data entry) will not see the tax entry. The COR, when approving the invoices, will see the tax entries.

  20. When I click on the Submit button to submit an invoice an error, "Sum of Accounting does not…"

    If your accounting total is correct, check to be sure you entered a budget org (over-ride) in the accounting for any "project" job codes.

  21. I can't view the printable FS-6500-122 when I click on the "View/Print" button.

    Check to be sure the Pop up blocker on your computer is switched to the OFF position and try it again. If you need help, contact the ABS Helpdesk.

  22. If the fuel truck driver receives more extended standby time than the pilot, how are the separate standby times entered in ABS?

    Users should create two separate standby legs. When entering the pilot's standby don't include the fuel truck driver in the Other Crew field. When entering the driver's standby in another leg, remove the pilot's name from the Pilot Name field and enter "1" in the Other Crew field. If the pilot's name is not removed, the pilot will receive standby twice for that invoice.

  23. What do I do if I get an error "the job code is not in IBDB"?

    Change the Order Type field from Incident to Project and try it again. If that doesn't work check for the date the job code was set up. If it was less than two days wait a day to try again. If it was more than two days contact the ABS Helpdesk.

  24. How do I enter a Day Off (DO) in ABS?

    At this time an invoice that totals $0.00 will not process in ABS. Days Off can be tracked using hard copy SF-6500-122 documents or can be documented on the invoice for the previous day in ABS by noting the Day Off for the next day in the comments field. That functionality will be added in a future release.

Disconnected Client return to top

  1. What can I do in the Disconnected Client application?

    The Disconnected Client was developed as a tool to enter FS6500-122 data to create invoices when the user does not have an internet connection. Then the invoices can be transmitted (synchronized) into the web-based ABS once you have internet access.

  2. Do I need to download the disconnected client application to my laptop or desktop computer?

    Desktop: Only if your work area is in a location with no internet access. Laptop: Only if you are frequently assigned in a location with no internet access. If you are occasionally assigned in a remote area without internet access you may want to record SF-6500-122 data on paper and enter the data into the web based application as soon as possible.

  3. How often do I need to transmit (synchronize) the data in disconnected Client to the web-based ABS?

    As often as possible, but no less than every 14 days so that payments can be processed.

  4. Can I approve invoices, prepare payment packages and submit them for Vendor approval using the Disconnected Client?

    No. The disconnected Client does not have the functionality to support the CO and COR roles that "approve" invoices and "create payment packages". Those tasks must be done in the web-based ABS.

Last Modified: Mar 23, 2013 06:17:pm CDT