CUBS Implementation -- Notes from the field

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
atticusewig
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Postby atticusewig » Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:56 am

GregAnderson wrote:
I wish someone back there at HQ could give us some kind of "Old MLS Data Viewer" software. This would allow us to at least VIEW information from old MLS backup files without actually feeding them into our current MLS system. Am I just dreaming or can this be developed (and sent ASAP)?


The closest thing to this is MLS installed on a home computer. Using
actual unit data on it violates church policy very explicitly, but it is a
solution. If one to do this, I would recommend all network access on
that home machine be disabled while MLS is in use. If you're going to
violate policy, one can at least take precautions to protect the privacy
of members.

- Atticus

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:56 am

Pilotfly wrote:Am I supposed to reenter expenses for the last four years to make it balance?

If they are in fact missing, yes. However, you should not be missing any. If you're missing 4 years of data, I would talk to LUS as that would indicate your conversion did not happen as it was supposed to. I'm guessing you had sisters donate to Other-YW camp. ALL donations over the last 4 years show as income in the corresponding category, even if that many has long been spent. Transfer the spent funds out and your account should come back to a more realistic balance.

I haven't played much in Other, so I don't have data to look at to compare, but it appears the ONLY categories that stuck around were those that had donations made to them. All other categories are gone. So I would treat these old categories as old. Move the income to the top level folder, create new folders (the old ones are locked), and move just the remaining balance back into it.

Pilotfly wrote:Another example - where am I supposed to find the forth quarter allotment when everything got pushed into one "Administrative Category"?

Easy. Run an Income & Expense report for the Current Year. Select Detail by Sub-Category. Select BUdget:Budget Allocations. You will see the Q4 disbursements, one for each unit, as transfers to the category on or around Oct 7.

A caution, only the Stake will see these. The Q4 allotment was made pre-CUBS so the entire disbursement went to the stake. The wards have not receive an automatic disbursement yet. To finish out the year, the stake will have to cut you a check for your 2010 remaining balance. They were instructed not to do this until they received a final SFS w/ all ward expenses pre-CUBS.

If someone has some implicit instuctions on how to transfer funds and make categories in both Budget and Other reconcile I would sure appreciate a copy of them

Here's what I did in my stake computer. Yes, it took hours, but only because I wanted to keep the resolution I had before. This comes from an email I sent a fellow clerk, so it might not read great.

I have not been able to make sense of it all yet, but have at least finally gotten the budget report figure to match the Stake Financial Summary. That figure includes all the remaining ward budget balances as well as any remaining stake budget and any unbudgeted balances. In other words, all the money you had been given as of Oct 17 minus the total of stake YTD expenses. Add the q4 disbursement and the OTA and your figures should match.

We kept track of ward budgets in the stake MLS as well. Each month we would enter total ward expenses from the SFS. I was able to recreate the budgets through Sep 30 with that info. I liked having the info month-by-month, so that's how I recreated it. You could just do it all at once. We will be receiving another SFS that will contain ward expenses through Oct 17. With that, you can at least get the budgets back to where they were pre-CUBS.

The trick is that now it is all done through transfers. Here's how I did it. All budget funds are now deposited into Budget:Budget Allocations. If I do an Income/Expense report of that category, you'll see that all the transfers into it for 2010 are the total budget disbursements for each unit for each quarter. In essence, pre-CUBS the stake received all the money, so that is what it shows. It is all lumped in this single category. I wanted to further divide this out so I could see the "contribution" from each unit. I therefore recreated subcategories for each unit under Budget:Budget Allocations.

Next, I wanted to put each ward's expenses in it's sub-category. MLS won't let you transfer expenses (negative numbers), but I found I could make a category negative by transferring positive values out of it. Again, I wanted the monthly resolution I had pre-CUBS, so for each month in 2010, I created a transfer for each unit from the Budget:Budget Alloctaions:Unit name folder to Budget:Budget allocations equal to the corresponding total monthly expenses reported in the SFS. You can do this as one big transfer using the YTD values from the Sep SFS if you don't want/need the month-by-month resolution. These leaves negative values in the ward's budget category and credits the Budget:Budget Allocations category, essentially splitting the expenses up.

Once completed, go to view/edit budget. Enter your 2010 budget allocation amounts for each unit. Close and run a budget report for the current year. You should now see your ward's beginning balances, YTD expenses (through sep 30 at least) as transfers, and remaining balance.

A lot of rebuilding, I know, but I don't see how they could have done it any other way. I'm still not exactly sure if I'm doing this right. We'll see as we go.

As for comparing, I really wouldn't bother. The chances of something getting missed are slim to none. Your data got overwritten w/ CHQ data. If CHQ didn't have the data already, it either wouldn't have shown up on your CUFS, or a check would not have been covered, etc. I don't know that it's worth the effort. (I'm probably going to take heat for this comment, but decided to leave it in)

Trying to compare expenses and especially I&E is not straight forward as well. Anything entered as a transfer (Other Items section of reconcile, for example) would not have been included in your pre-CUBS expenses report. If your clerks used this screen to enter DC orders, etc, these all now show on the expenses report. And if there are items they forgot, they will now be there. Just trying to distinguish between all that is going to drive them nuts and, 99.9% of the time it should be there.


And one more on recreating the stake budget. You're not going to like this one, but it's the only way I could get the detail back I wanted.
Every expense is still there, they've just lost their category information. What I did for just the current year was recreate my stake budget categories first. I then did a view/update expenses. I opened my pre-printout (which I'm guessing you don't have, correct?) and reclassified every expense. I could have just done a transfer for the total amount, but I like giving detail reports to my committees so they can also see where and how they spent their money. A lot of work, I know.

If you don't have your pre-reports, try this trick. It worked for me on a couple wards. Important point, though, is to do this on another computer and NOT your MLS computer. It starts here.


*Important! If you did not print your pre-reports, do NOT restore from a back-up to get them now. You will undo the CUBS transition and when you try to restore, you will again be locked out of finances!

Recategorizing expenses is painfully slow now but that's what I wanted so that's how I did it.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:19 am

Quicky wrote:Finally, how do I start a new post here? I have looked until mu eyes are bleary and can't find a 'start a new post' function, although the page indicates I am authorized to do so.


Since you successfully added a post, I think you mean "new thread". You need to get to the level where you see the list of all threads in the section. You won't see this if you only use the "New Posts" link to find threads.

The easiest way to get to that point is look near the top of the page where it says "LDS Technology Forums > Clerks and Technology Support > MLS Support, Help, and Feedback". Each of those items are links to that section.

Once you're at the proper level, you'll see a big "New Thread" button to start a new line of posts.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

jbh001
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Postby jbh001 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:21 am

With the exception of crislapi who appears to be boldy going where the rest of us fear to tread, I'm thinking that I'll just hold off making any post-CUBS-trasnistion transfers until after the November 2010 CUFS arrives.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:26 am

jbh001 wrote:With the exception of crislapi who appears to be boldy going where the rest of us fear to tread, I'm thinking that I'll just hold off making any post-CUBS-trasnistion transfers until after the November 2010 CUFS arrives.


I've made all sorts of transfers. My stake's Other category looks perfect now. As does the Ward Missionary Fund, but that's not really fair -- for a stake, that category is trivial. There are issues with the Budget category that lead me to hold off on doing much until I get the October (I'm pretty sure you meant October, that arrives in early November) 2010 CUFS.

But there's no rush -- you can write checks and process donations without having any of the balances correct. So it probably is prudent to wait. Until the stake sorts out the budget allocations (which does require some more information on statements from CHQ), neither the stake nor wards can be entirely correct for the Budget category.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

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gregwanderson
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Postby gregwanderson » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:34 am

I really don't have access to another computer to install MLS and do a "restore" of pre-transition data. I'm no expert but I would THINK it would be possible to use the test unit function which is a already a part of MLS to allow us to "restore" pre-transition data to the "test" area without A) affecting the post-transition MLS data nor B) tempting us to load MLS onto an unauthorized computer. Any chance?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:49 am

GregAnderson wrote:I really don't have access to another computer to install MLS and do a "restore" of pre-transition data. I'm no expert but I would THINK it would be possible to use the test unit function which is a already a part of MLS to allow us to "restore" pre-transition data to the "test" area without A) affecting the post-transition MLS data nor B) tempting us to load MLS onto an unauthorized computer. Any chance?


Nope. There is no "test area" -- there are just special unit numbers (108 and 2224445) that lead to MLS operating differently when you add those units to an installation of MLS.

So if you try to restore pre-transition data to a live installation of MLS, the restore function will line up the unit number associated with the backup with the live database. That will replace your current CUBS-based database, which some have learned by painful experience is definitely not a good thing to do.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:52 am

Pilotfly wrote:Just on the stake computer alone there are so many issues to deal with; for example why the Other - Young Women's camp category now has $21,000 in their remaining budget when before the transfer they had $110.00.

One thing to keep in mind - all donations made to a category in the last four years appear as income. I'm guessing most of your $21,000 is donations made by camp attendees over the last 4 years, even though most of that money has been spent. I would recommend, therefore, moving all but $110 to the main category (the one w/ all the expenses pulled from it)

Pilotfly wrote:Am I supposed to reenter expenses for the last four years to make it balance?

If they are missing, yes. However, if you are really missing 4 years of data, it sounds more like a conversion error that requires LUS intervention. However, I'm guessing most of the confusion is related to all income from 2007 on still showing even though all the expenses have been moved to a different category.

Pilotfly wrote:Another example - where am I supposed to find the forth quarter allotment when everything got pushed into one "Administrative Category"?

Run an Income & Expense report for the current year. Set the type to Detail by sub-category and select Budget:Budget Allocations. You should see a transfer to the stake account for each ward for each quarter (along w/ OTA adjustments). The Q4 budget disbursement should be there dated around Oct 7.

An important note here. This is for stakes only. There have been no automatic disbursements to wards yet. The Q4 disbursement was made pre-CUBS.


Pilotfly wrote:We will get this done but right now all I see is hours and hours of work ahead of me that I can ill afford. If someone has some implicit instuctions on how to transfer funds and make categories in both Budget and Other reconcile I would sure appreciate a copy of them (as I imagine a ton of other clerks out there would also).

We are all still trying to figure this out. I'll include here what I have figured out and done. Not guaranteed to be correct, but maybe with some additional input we can get it right. This is from an email I sent a fellow clerk, so it might not read great.
I have not been able to make sense of it all yet, but have at least finally gotten the budget report figure to match the Stake Financial Summary. That figure includes all the remaining ward budget balances as well as any remaining stake budget and any unbudgeted balances. In other words, all the money you had been given as of Oct 17 minus the total of stake YTD expenses. Add the q4 disbursement and the OTA and your figures should match.

We kept track of ward budgets in the stake MLS as well. Each month we would enter total ward expenses from the SFS. I was able to recreate the budgets through Sep 30 with that info. I liked having the info month-by-month, so that's how I recreated it. You could just do it all at once. We will be receiving another SFS that will contain ward expenses through Oct 17. With that, you can at least get the budgets back to where they were pre-CUBS.

The trick is that now it is all done through transfers. Here's how I did it. All budget funds are now deposited into Budget:Budget Allocations. If I do an Income/Expense report of that category, you'll see that all the transfers into it for 2010 are the total budget disbursements for each unit for each quarter. In essence, pre-CUBS the stake received all the money, so that is what it shows. It is all lumped in this single category. I wanted to further divide this out so I could see the "contribution" from each unit. I therefore recreated subcategories for each unit under Budget:Budget Allocations.

Next, I wanted to put each ward's expenses in it's sub-category. MLS won't let you transfer expenses (negative numbers), but I found I could make a category negative by transferring positive values out of it. Again, I wanted the monthly resolution I had pre-CUBS, so for each month in 2010, I created a transfer for each unit from the Budget:Budget Alloctaions:Unit name folder to Budget:Budget allocations equal to the corresponding total monthly expenses reported in the SFS. You can do this as one big transfer using the YTD values from the Sep SFS if you don't want/need the month-by-month resolution. These leaves negative values in the ward's budget category and credits the Budget:Budget Allocations category, essentially splitting the expenses up.

Once completed, go to view/edit budget. Enter your 2010 budget allocation amounts for each unit. Close and run a budget report for the current year. You should now see your ward's beginning balances, YTD expenses (through sep 30 at least) as transfers, and remaining balance.

A lot of rebuilding, I know, but I don't see how they could have done it any other way. I'm still not exactly sure if I'm doing this right.

As for comparing, I really wouldn't bother. The chances of something getting missed are slim to none. Your data got overwritten w/ CHQ data. If CHQ didn't have the data already, it either wouldn't have shown up on your CUFS, or a check would not have been covered, etc. I don't know that it's worth the effort.(I'm probably going to take heat for this line and debated removing it but decided to keep it in)

Trying to compare donations was easy, but comparing expenses is not as straight forward as I was hoping. Anything entered as a transfer (Other Items section of reconcile, for example) would not have been included in your pre-CUBS expenses report. If your clerks used this screen to enter DC orders, etc, these all now show on the expenses report. And if there are items they forgot, they will now be there. Just trying to distinguish between all that is going to drive them nuts and, 99.9% of the time it should be there.
That deals with ward budgets. As for recreating the stake budget, it was a little more work. It's all a function of what type of resolution you want. I wanted the detail of what each expense was, so this was the only way to get that back.
Every expense is still there, they've just lost their category information. What I did for just the current year was recreate my stake budget categories first. I then did a view/update expenses. I opened my pre-printout (which I'm guessing you don't have, correct?) and reclassified every expense. I could have just done a transfer for the total amount, but I like giving detail reports to my committees so they can also see where and how they spent their money. A lot of work, I know.

If you don't have your pre-reports, try this trick. It worked for me on a couple wards. Important point, though, is to do this on another computer and NOT your MLS computer. It starts here.
Under no circumstances do you want to restore from a back-up to a pre-CUBS date. It will undo the conversion to CUBS and when you try to restore, you will again be locked out of finances and will have to request a new CUBS setup file be sent to your computer. You may lose any financial info entered after the 17th.

I make no guarantee that this is doing what I think it is. However, budget reports now show the same info they had pre-CUBS, and balances for sub-categories match what they should be.

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gregwanderson
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Postby gregwanderson » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:15 pm

Sorry I wasn't clear. I was NOT suggesting any of us should try to restore anything into the test units. I was suggesting that maybe the guys writing the MLS software could add this ability to the software and modify the test unit section to allow this option. (So the "view old data" option could be an additional unit in the test area, perhaps.) Since one installation of MLS can handle multiple units then why can't a non-current unit be available somehow, including out-dated data which could be available in a non-editable form?

So it was a suggestion to the software programmers and NOT for the clerks to try.

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:19 pm

Quicky wrote:I just received yesterday the new Stake Financial Summary. Each of the wards and the stake got their budget allotments. Are these the allotments which I will need to assign a percentage to through CUBS or do the percentages through CUBS apply to the 1st quarter allotment in January?


All your other questions were answered, so I'll take this one on. No, the SFS you just received is for Sep 1 - Sep 30. You will receive another one that will contain expenses from Oct 1 - Oct 17. Only after receiving this one should you start sending your wards checks for remaining balance of their 2010 budget.

You do not assign percentages in MLS to split this (2010 Q4) disbursement out. It has already all been deposited in the the stake account as of Oct 7 (or there abouts), which was pre-CUBS. The percentages you put into MLS now will affect the 2011 Q1 disbursement. You have until Dec 31 to modify these.

Alan_Brown wrote:I've made all sorts of transfers. My stake's Other category looks perfect now. As does the Ward Missionary Fund, but that's not really fair -- for a stake, that category is trivial. There are issues with the Budget category that lead me to hold off on doing much until I get the October (I'm pretty sure you meant October, that arrives in early November) 2010 CUFS.

I knew Alan_Brown would join me on trying to figure it out. I will just add that it took some time to locate where things had moved to, but once I understood that it wasn't too complicated getting things back where I wanted them, but it did take time. My Budget and Other are now exactly what they were before as well.


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