Budget/Financial Review features in MLS

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opee
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Budget/Financial Review features in MLS

Postby opee » Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:16 am

As a Stake Clerk, it would be nice to see the actual budget amounts for each ward and how much they have spent in those budgets at any given time.

I see that there is a "Ward Budgets" screen in MLS for the Stake that allows you to write down/"calculate" the ward budget based on attendance (that you have to enter) and an arbitrary "adjustment" amount. Unfortunately, this is not really linked to the allotment document that is sent to the stake each quarter, and this budget screen does not update anywhere else to seem that useful.

Can someone explain the reason for that screen and how it is supposed to be used?

I thought of some other ways to improve this budget "feature" in MLS so that it would be more useful for the Financial Clerk reviewing Stake money:
  1. Allow MLS to show the each unit's budget allocation that SLC mails in hard copy, so that the Stake can see what amount each unit should be receiving
  2. Allow the Stake to "populate" the total budget amount for each Unit's total budget allotment (based off of the numbers in (1) and an adjusted amount (if necessary). This way the Ward will know what amount it has to spend during the year instead of being able to create their own TOTAL budget amount in MLS
  3. Have MLS populate the Stake data with Unit budget expenditures, so that the Stake can create a report that shows how much money each unit has spent on their budget and how much is left
  4. Give the Stake a view of the financial picture in the stake through MLS instead of (or in addition to) hard copies. The information would display both Stake budget/expenses and the Units budget/expenses that are updated and "current".
  5. Having more view of the ward $$ budget can also help in troubleshooting problems over the phone between the ward and stake clerks.
Right now it seems that a lot of the financial paperwork that comes thru the Stake offices could be simplified by putting more of that information in MLS and allowing the Stake to tell the units (through MLS) what they can spend, and tracking the budget (through MLS) to know where the Stake stands. It would also be nice to see more of the current ward financial side from the Stake. (The new 2.6 allows the membership clerk to see more from the Ward side, like the Member Validation Report--why not do the same principle with the financial side)

Hope this is not too much of a ramble, but more of a helpful suggestion for the budget/financial side of MLS.

rmrichesjr
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Postby rmrichesjr » Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:40 pm

opee wrote:As a Stake Clerk, it would be nice to see the actual budget amounts for each ward and how much they have spent in those budgets at any given time.

...

Can someone explain the reason for that screen and how it is supposed to be used?

I thought of some other ways to improve this budget "feature" in MLS so that it would be more useful for the Financial Clerk reviewing Stake money:

...


When I was stake finance clerk until late 2004 or early 2005, I asked the same question. The answer I got from the MLS support folks is the ward budget screen in stake MLS is basically entirely isolated from everything else in MLS and is intended simply for purposes of allocating money between wards. At the time, late 2004, it became obsolete, because it didn't have anything to help handle the special allocations for youth and young single adults.

By policy, the stake president has considerable latitude to allocate money as he sees fit, so any automated allocation system would need to allow for tweaks based on stake president wishes.

Prior to moving to MLS, we had a system set up with an old database program for allocating funds between units. For the msot part, we continued to use that system for that purpose. Something like that could probably be done using Open Office's database program.

Hope that helps.

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opee
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Postby opee » Fri Aug 10, 2007 10:16 pm

rmrichesjr wrote:
By policy, the stake president has considerable latitude to allocate money as he sees fit, so any automated allocation system would need to allow for tweaks based on stake president wishes.



Thanks for the input. The system would need to allow for tweaks for the reason you explained. The current one does not really do much to allow any real logical "tweaks"--it only shows attendance allocation and then an "other" column. But those numbers never get populated into the Stake budget or into the ward budget.

I see 3 tracking systems:

(1) Stake President Allocation to wards and stake
(2) SLC Allocation to wards and stake
(3) Actual expenditures by wards and stake

You can compare (1) and (2) to see how close the President's allocation was to what "should be"--(2).

You can also compare (1) and (3) do know what is being spent and what is left.

It would be nice to give the stake the ability to dictate the budget to the wards through MLS and then see how that varies throughout the year, and still see how SLC allocates the money to the units based on attendance.

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Aug 10, 2007 10:40 pm

opee wrote:(2) SLC Allocation to wards and stake


Should read: (2) SLC Allocation to stake

My understanding is that SLC gives to the stake. It's up to the SP on what gets allocated to whom.

The usual method is the stake takes what it needs and then divides the balance between the wards/branches. As a starting point, it's based on the attendance formula and adjusted from there. But it's whatever the SP decides.

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opee
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Postby opee » Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:01 am

RussellHltn wrote:Should read: (2) SLC Allocation to stake

The usual method is the stake takes what it needs and then divides the balance between the wards/branches. As a starting point, it's based on the attendance formula and adjusted from there. But it's whatever the SP decides.


That is correct. It is an allocation to the stake. I added "wards" because of the report that the Stake receives showing the "allocation" break down for each ward based on attendance. I think that it could be of interest to the Stake to see those numbers as well as the Stake President's decision, if the budgeting system is updated in MLS.

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Postby moroni12 » Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 pm

I know this is an old thread - but I have to agree with the views expressed.

This is a good discussion - one I've been mulling over for some time. The Ward Budget feature on the stake MLS version has a limited range of use - so much so that I don't use it at all. I track everyting financial from our stake on a spreadsheet - which is the rub. I have sensitive, if not confidential information on my home PC instead of on a secure system like MLS. Our stake presidency likes to have a finger on the pulse of spending all the time, which means status reports and charts and graphs. MLS doesn't come close to this kind of management.

rmrichesjr
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Postby rmrichesjr » Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:46 pm

Mike D Clerk wrote:...
I track everyting financial from our stake on a spreadsheet - which is the rub. I have sensitive, if not confidential information on my home PC instead of on a secure system like MLS. Our stake presidency likes to have a finger on the pulse of spending all the time, which means status reports and charts and graphs. MLS doesn't come close to this kind of management.


The stake administrative computer should have OpenOffice installed, which includes a spreadsheet and database. You should be able to do pretty much everything you need with that in order to avoid having data on a home computer.


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