MLS 3.3.1 What is coming?

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idahotarheel
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MLS 3.3.1 What is coming?

Postby idahotarheel » Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:44 am

Everyone received the MLS email with new procedures in preparation for 3.3.1.

Similar to the October email preparing for CUBS, it provides only proceedures and very little context to what is happening and what changes to expect.

After calling Finance support three times yesterday, I received three different answers to the same questions related to 2011 budgeting. One said don't use View/Edit budget screen to distribute budgets to the sub accounts from the allocation account because version 3.3.1 coming in (Feb?) will wipe these balances. One told me to use the View/Edit budget screen to distibute otherwise the Budget Report page will not show proper balances. None could tell me the reason why the Budget Report page showed $0 for all accounts in the balance forward column... one tried to tell me that I have to allocate (distribute) budgets in the view / Edit budget screen first then the budget report works... and that covers for the allocations column in the Budget Report but does not affect teh balance forward column.

What I need to know is what should we expect to see in 3.3.1? Will they be adding accounts or changing them again? What effect will 3.3.1 have on the allocation sub accounts (that are all supposed to be $0 at this point)? Is there a reason for why its so important the allocation sub accounts need to be $0 (I get a lot of I don't knows to this one when calling Salt Lake... I understand that we're not supposed to use them and they are to go away...is that what 3.3.1 is going to do...wipe them out)?

I don't consider emails with list of procedures a very effective training (relying on clerks to call Salt Lake to find out what is happening via Q&A from problems). The procedures in the Oct 6th email gave little context nor explanation on the many changes (new accounts, changing names, pooled expenses to be re-distributed) that were rolled out and think that there should have been a lessons learned with that approach. However, is that whats going to happen with 3.3.1?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:22 am

idahotarheel wrote:Everyone received the MLS email with new procedures in preparation for 3.3.1.

Similar to the October email preparing for CUBS, it provides only proceedures and very little context to what is happening and what changes to expect.

After calling Finance support three times yesterday, I received three different answers to the same questions related to 2011 budgeting.


Sometimes you can get different answers. The support people are trying their best, but I get the impression they've had to add some staff, and it takes a while for them to get up to speed. So it's a good idea to run these things past the community here in the forum, as you have done.

idahotarheel wrote: One said don't use View/Edit budget screen to distribute budgets to the sub accounts from the allocation account because version 3.3.1 coming in (Feb?) will wipe these balances.


That's not true, from what I've been told by the CUBS product manager. Go ahead and use View/Edit Budget; those balances will not be wiped by 3.3.1.

idahotarheel wrote:One told me to use the View/Edit budget screen to distibute otherwise the Budget Report page will not show proper balances.


It's not really a distribution -- no money actually moves -- but otherwise this is true.

idahotarheel wrote: None could tell me the reason why the Budget Report page showed $0 for all accounts in the balance forward column...


The balance forward is (by design) $0 on the Budget Report for the current year because it is designed to show the year's income and expenses relative to this year's Budget (meaning the amounts the bishop or stake president has approved to be spent, which may differ from current bank balances). If you change the date range, you will probably start seeing a balance forward for some categories (well, probably not in January, because there is no prior month, but you get the idea).

idahotarheel wrote:one tried to tell me that I have to allocate (distribute) budgets in the view / Edit budget screen first then the budget report works... and that covers for the allocations column in the Budget Report but does not affect teh balance forward column.


That's right, as I said above.

idahotarheel wrote:What I need to know is what should we expect to see in 3.3.1? Will they be adding accounts or changing them again?


As far as I know, there are no plans to add or change subcategories.

idahotarheel wrote: What effect will 3.3.1 have on the allocation sub accounts (that are all supposed to be $0 at this point)? Is there a reason for why its so important the allocation sub accounts need to be $0 (I get a lot of I don't knows to this one when calling Salt Lake... I understand that we're not supposed to use them and they are to go away...is that what 3.3.1 is going to do...wipe them out)?


MLS 3.3.1 will not affect the subcategories of Budget:Budget Allocations. Independent of 3.3.1, those subcategories need to be $0 because they are simply artifacts of the CUBS conversion. The balances that were put in those subcategories were fairly arbitrary, and will not at all be helpful going forward. Once you get on MLS 3.3.0, you can deactivate those subcategories, which you should do promptly (as soon as you have zeroed them out by transferring their balances to their parent category).

idahotarheel wrote:I don't consider emails with list of procedures a very effective training (relying on clerks to call Salt Lake to find out what is happening via Q&A from problems). The procedures in the Oct 6th email gave little context nor explanation on the many changes (new accounts, changing names, pooled expenses to be re-distributed) that were rolled out and think that there should have been a lessons learned with that approach. However, is that whats going to happen with 3.3.1?


MLS 3.3.1 is not anywhere near as big a change as the CUBS conversion. The only reason you are getting advance notice is so that you won't waste time doing transfers between budget subcategories as you were told to do in the previous communications. Other than that, you can just wait until you see the actual release. At that point, the release notes will explain the changes and you can implement your changes to the View/Edit Budget at your own pace.
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crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:46 am

idahotarheel wrote:One said don't use View/Edit budget screen to distribute budgets to the sub accounts from the allocation account because version 3.3.1 coming in (Feb?) will wipe these balances.

Sounds like the analyst was confused. This is exactly what the message says to do. I guess there is a chance 3.3.1 will wipe these, but honestly how hard is it to re-enter them? Much easier than transfers.

idahotarheel wrote:One told me to use the View/Edit budget screen to distibute otherwise the Budget Report page will not show proper balances.

That makes sense. If you don't enter them, your subcategories will only show total expenses, not balances.

idahotarheel wrote:None could tell me the reason why the Budget Report page showed $0 for all accounts in the balance forward column... one tried to tell me that I have to allocate (distribute) budgets in the view / Edit budget screen first then the budget report works... and that covers for the allocations column in the Budget Report but does not affect teh balance forward column.

The balance forward column in the Budget Report screen only shows a value if you change the range of the report to something other than Jan 1. As aebrown pointed out, the budget report only contains info for a single fiscal year. No info, balance or otherwise, from other years is included.

idahotarheel wrote:What I need to know is what should we expect to see in 3.3.1? Will they be adding accounts or changing them again? What effect will 3.3.1 have on the allocation sub accounts (that are all supposed to be $0 at this point)? Is there a reason for why its so important the allocation sub accounts need to be $0 (I get a lot of I don't knows to this one when calling Salt Lake... I understand that we're not supposed to use them and they are to go away...is that what 3.3.1 is going to do...wipe them out)?

Where aebrown is in communication with the program manager, his response is likely to be best. I can only speculate. Here's my take, though. MLS 3.3.1 will wipe out your old (pre-CUBS) budget allocation categories. That's the only one I know for sure. They will all be set to inactive. And then deleted. However, this cannot happen if they have balances in them. If your categories aren't "prepped" correctly, the patch may not install correctly, or may just wreak havoc.

I'm not sure if this means any of your new subcategories under Budget Allocations will also be removed. However, to play it safe, I'm only expecting my Budget:Budget Allocations category to survive the patch. I expect all my custom subcategories under it to be deleted.

I also understand from the message that if you have transferred any money from Budget Allocations to another budget category (used by some to create balances for the subcategories) that these transfers will be affected somehow. I'm not sure if they will be erased, but they should be undone immediately. It would appear that otherwise these will interfere with how the new budget report will function. I can't imagine it's any different than what they currently do (Allocation + Transfers = 2x the income). It just means LUS has finally realized what many of us realized months ago.

idahotarheel wrote:I don't consider emails with list of procedures a very effective training (relying on clerks to call Salt Lake to find out what is happening via Q&A from problems). The procedures in the Oct 6th email gave little context nor explanation on the many changes (new accounts, changing names, pooled expenses to be re-distributed) that were rolled out and think that there should have been a lessons learned with that approach. However, is that whats going to happen with 3.3.1?

We can hope. But we can also learn from past experience. I for one plan to print to pdf every conceivable financial report before the patch comes ;)

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:09 pm

crislapi wrote:MLS 3.3.1 will wipe out your old (pre-CUBS) budget allocation categories. That's the only one I know for sure. They will all be set to inactive. And then deleted. However, this cannot happen if they have balances in them. If your categories aren't "prepped" correctly, the patch may not install correctly, or may just wreak havoc.


Although I agree with most of your post, this item has me a bit confused. I have seen no communication that indicates that any categories will be automatically set to inactive or deleted.

The "MLS 3.3 -- CHURCH UNIT BUDGETING" MLS message said: "As unit subcategory balances [for subcategories of Budget Allocations] are brought to zero, they should be inactivated so they no longer can be selected for donations, expenses, or appear on budget reports."

That says that we as clerks are to deactivate these categories. It doesn't say that CHQ will somehow do this. And I really, really doubt that these categories will be deleted as part of the patch. They have activity in a year within the retention period, so deleting them would throw off historical records. It seems much more likely that these categories will go through the normal cycle and be deleted as 2014 rolls around (if you did your last activity in 2010) or 2015 (if you modified these categories in 2011).

And if I'm right, then failure to prep these categories will not wreak havoc with the 3.3.1 upgrade patch. Rather, the negative effect will be that the Budget Report might have some confusing numbers. Of course, it's better to zero out those subcategories of Budget Allocations before the patch, but that can still be corrected after the patch.
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Postby lajackson » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:13 pm

idahotarheel wrote:Everyone received the MLS email with new procedures in preparation for 3.3.1.


Except for those who did not get it. [grin]

I presume this is a recent message. For those who have not yet received it, when was it sent, and how do we get it if it does not come down the line?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:19 pm

lajackson wrote:Except for those who did not get it. [grin]

I presume this is a recent message. For those who have not yet received it, when was it sent, and how do we get it if it does not come down the line?


It was an MLS message titled "MLS 3.3 -- CHURCH UNIT BUDGETING" and dated about 14 Jan 2010 (I know that our stake received it on Sunday, 16 Jan 2010). I'd check first in your MLS to see if you have the message. If you don't, then I suppose you could send an MLS message requesting that MLS message.
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idahotarheel
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Postby idahotarheel » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:11 pm

lajackson wrote:Except for those who did not get it. [grin]


I get the humor...yes clerks are supposed to pay attention to MLS messages. However, note that pre CUBS the majority of the MLS messages have been tips and informational and I suspect many clerks did not feel the need to read them "every week".

idahotarheel
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Postby idahotarheel » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:16 pm

aebrown wrote:Although I agree with most of your post, this item has me a bit confused. I have seen no communication that indicates that any categories will be automatically set to inactive or deleted.


This was something told to me on the phone with CHQ. Since 90% or more of what I've learned about CUBS has come from calling Salt Lake it was hard for me to ignore....but this wiki post overall has helped tremendously....thanks

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:57 pm

aebrown wrote:Although I agree with most of your post, this item has me a bit confused. I have seen no communication that indicates that any categories will be automatically set to inactive or deleted.

My bad. I had read the message quickly as I was leaving and didn't have a copy to look at so I was going off memory. I obviously missed a couple important words. Sorry about that.

lajackson wrote:Except for those who did not get it.
I presume this is a recent message. For those who have not yet received it, when was it sent, and how do we get it if it does not come down the line?

I received mine just as I was leaving last Sunday (5pm). For those who are curious, I'm attaching it here as a pdf.
MLS 3.3 – CHURCH UNIT BUDGETING.pdf
(23.93 KiB) Downloaded 169 times

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:38 am

I'm going to take issue with one bit of instruction in the email:
Please be sure to use the date of December 31, 2010 when creating the transfer so the transfer does not appear in 2011
When transferring income from old (pre-CUBS) budget subcategories to Budget:Budget Allocations, use the date the income was posted or, at the least, 31 Dec of the year the income was posted. Why? Because then the transfer will be tied to the income it is adjusting. When that year's income is finally deleted (4 years old), the transfer will go with it. Otherwise, as a year's financial info drops off (2007's was removed at the start of 2011, for example), you will have a transfer in 2010 meant to act on income that no longer exists in MLS.

A simple example. One of my budget subcategories has $17 of income made back in 4 Mar 2007. I followed instructions post-CUBS and used a transfer dated 24 Oct 2010 to move the income from Budget:Budget Allocations:BU-XXX to Budget:Budget Allocations. For the rest of 2010, Budget:Budget Allocations:BU-XXX showed a balance of $0. However, in 2011 it started showing a balance of -$17. Why? Because all 2007 financial info was deleted from MLS at the start of 2011. So the income in that category no longer existed but the $17 transfer made in 2010 did, resulting in the category now being negative instead of $0. If I had dated the transfer 31 Dec 2007, at the start of 2011 both the income AND the transfer would have been deleted together and I wouldn't have had to make additional transfers.

If you do not pay attention to the dates of the income, there is potential that this "feature" could reappear every year indefinitely - it'd be like chasing your own tail.


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