pdf copy of financials

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flyboyscott-p40
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pdf copy of financials

Postby flyboyscott-p40 » Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:19 pm

Does anyone know if the Church has approved the use of pdf copies for financial records backup?

Several years ago the IRS officially authorized the use of pdf format documents. It would sure be nice if we could do the same for all of our financial records. I believe that security would actually be improved. I have seen some units (as a stake auditor) that end up having some of their years past documents stored in unsecured cabinets. This wouldn't be a problem with pdf.

I have a Fujitsu ScanSnap pdf scanner that will do 50 pages per minute. I could have all my backup documents scanned faster than it takes me to shred them.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:03 pm

flyboyscott wrote:Does anyone know if the Church has approved the use of pdf copies for financial records backup?


I've never heard the question raised; I'm sure there's no explicit mention of this topic in any current policy statement. For expense documentation, there is a preference for original receipts and invoices, but that's not an absolute requirement, and would probably make no difference once those records have been audited.

Church retention and security policies are the same for electronic and paper documents, so I can't imagine that it would make much difference. The only possible problem is if an auditor or financial clerk needs to look in a previous year's records. If the PDF files are sufficiently well named and organized, it should be as easy (or perhaps easier) to find the records.

But I think you're underestimating the size of the task. Sure, for regular sized papers your scanner is probably fast and convenient. But expense reports tend to have odd-sized receipts stapled to them, and donation batches have small donation slips. And of course, you'd have to be certain that you really copied everything.

You might run the question past your area auditor (your stake financial clerk should know how to contact him) to see what his opinion is.
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:18 pm

flyboyscott wrote:I believe that security would actually be improved. I have seen some units (as a stake auditor) that end up having some of their years past documents stored in unsecured cabinets. This wouldn't be a problem with pdf.


I don't see how the security would be improved. First of all, I don't think it should be saved to the ward's computer. If it's encrypted, then there's a risk that the key will be lost. With a flash drive there's a greater risk it will walk out the door in someone's back pocket.

I think the principal problem is that someone needs to work with the FM Group and get the cabinets replaced with locking cabinets. I also think it will better serve the next person to have that calling. I would involve the stake clerk and other members of the stake presidency as needed to work with the FM Group to get this resolved.

Secondly, I'd check to see how much stuff they are storing. In the US, they shouldn't be storing more then 4 years (actualy 3 years plus current).

I do document scanning for my day job. Scanning is all labor. The benefit is in the retrieval. Space savings never pays for the labor to do the scanning. Unless there's sufficient benefit in the retrieval and enough retrieval to justify it, it's a waste of time and money to scan them.
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flyboyscott-p40
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Postby flyboyscott-p40 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:32 am

Thanks for the response. All very good points.

I've been scanning my own personal records for over 10 years now. The point is valid that retrieval is a key benefit and that is what I have found in my personal documents. It's quite a comfort to know that anything from the past is available to me within moments.

The original task of scanning the stored documents would be monumental. I understand that. It took me quite some time to get started with my own stuff. However, once the mountain of documents was reduced to the current weeks pile, the maintenance of this task is not bad at all. The scanner I have is top feed so odd sizes work fine. For those expense reports that have 2 or more receipts of odd shapes the scanner comes with a clear plastic transparency type document holder that allows you to organize all your receipts on one page and then pass it through the scanner. For the odd receipt that is longer than letter or legal I just cut it in half and set the two halves side by side.

I think that it could be managed in such a way that would reduce the time it takes to scan and save. Donation slips would be the biggest challenge as there are so many. I would probably not try to scan individual donation slips and name them by donor as that would take forever. A possible solution would be to scan all donation slips for a batch at once which ends up saving them as one document with many pages. I would scan them in the same order as they are input as that helps in document retrieval.

For security I would handle it the same way I do my own documents. I just keep everything on a thumb drive that is password protected. The security on these devises is pretty good. I have 11 years worth of personal documents and it takes less than 3 GB of storage space. That's every document that ever crosses my desk and full-color scan as well. 8 GB thumb drives are pretty cheap these days.


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