Recommended Filing System?

Discuss basic duties of stake and ward clerks, including where to begin.
dgmorrisjr-p40
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Recommended Filing System?

Postby dgmorrisjr-p40 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:00 pm

Hi All,

I'm a new finance clerk, inherited a very unorganized mess...and have the task to get things back in shape... I've been reading the forums and wiki for the past few days...and still have a question...does anyone know of a "recommended" filing structure for the filing cabinets? I know there's some degree of do what works for our ward...but I imagine that 80% or more is exactly what every ward needs to do...so instead of recreating the wheel...I was hoping someone might know of a resource that outlines how they have files organized...

Thanks,
Dan

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:06 am

The first thing is to know the record retention period. In the U.S., that's 3 years plus current. So with the start of the new year, shred anything dated before 2007. The only exceptions might be any documents like contracts or agreements that might be dated prior to 2007 but impact later transactions.

Back when I did it, the filing system was quite simple. All data is entered into MLS, so all you need is to find the paperwork to support what's been entered.

Here's what I did:

Each weekly donation batch is placed in it's own envelope (an old stationary envelope works fine - like the ones with the prior bishop's name on them), and the date is scribbled on the front. It's placed in chronological order in a old tithing envelope box that is labeled for the year and it's destroy date. (Since we just started a new year, write "2010 - destroy 2014"). Optionally, you might rubber band each month together. Now if you have a question, just find the batch date and locate that envelope.

Each check request is stapled to the check stub and filed in check number order. Now if you need to find something, find the check number, then thumb though the stack.

Each financial statement and reconciliation would be stapled together and filed in it's own folder for the year.

Once you've reconciled December, take the above two folders and file it away with the donation batches for the year.

I think that covers the basics. Depending on how your ward operates, there might be other reports, etc. Just find a way to file those in a way that makes sense and you can find them again. Keep it simple.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

Freedom55
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Postby Freedom55 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:52 pm

Hi Dan,

In addition to maintaining file folders, you might want to consider using a 3-ring binder for items like your financial statements and check stubs/authorizations/receipts.

I maintain binders for as many items as I find convenient, for the current year. At the end of the year I remove the material from the binder and store it in a folder or box marked with the year, and retain it until the retention period has passed.

Hope that helps.

dgmorrisjr-p40
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Postby dgmorrisjr-p40 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:08 pm

Great, thanks...this is a good start for the financial documents. I appreciate your inputs.

Dan

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:09 pm

I think I forgot the most important part - this all needs to be stored under lock and key. Even the information from prior years. I wouldn't consider it adequate that the clerk's office has a lock. The cabinet the stuff is stored in needs to have a working lock.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

lajackson
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Postby lajackson » Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:13 pm

RussellHltn wrote:I think I forgot the most important part - this all needs to be stored under lock and key. Even the information from prior years. I wouldn't consider it adequate that the clerk's office has a lock. The cabinet the stuff is stored in needs to have a working lock.


This is the reason I see many clerks using envelopes and file folders. They are easier to lock up in file cabinets than notebooks, although you can still secure the notebooks in the locking file cabinet, if you wish.

nutterb
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Postby nutterb » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:42 am

Talk with your stake clerk. Our stake has tried to standardize the system as much as possible to help facilitate audits. For the most part, we do what has already been suggested.

Some of the different ideas we use:
1) we file in reverse chronological order
2) we bundle things together by six months (keep together all the materials that will be needed for each semi-annual audit)
3) we use tyvek accordion folders to store documents in.

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:10 am

I envy all these folks who can fit all their finance records into accordion files or binders. We have a locking standard file cabinet, and the top drawer is bursting at the end of the year. (Huge ward, lots of transactions.) Archived files take up a big chunk of a locking closet.

Our basic paper files are:

  • One hanging file per month.
  • Within each hanging file, three manila folders: Donations, Expenses, Reconciliation.
  • Within the Donations folder, there is a #10 envelope with the paperwork for each donation batch.
  • Within the Expenses folder, each check is stapled to its disbursement-request form, and to the receipts or other documentation. The check is in front, which facilitates finding them by number. They are roughly in reverse-chron order. We also file non-check expenses such as Distribution Center invoices. By convention, we keep all the MLS printouts from check-writing and send-receive batches at the back of that folder.
  • Within the Reconciliation folder, each monthly reconcilation statement is stapled to the front of the corresponding financial statement.
In addition, there a separate filing system for bishop's storehouse paperwork, with the yellow and pink copies stapled to each other. We keep ours in chronological order. I've heard of other wards that file theirs by recipient.

There are miscellaneous files such as lease documentation for fast-offering recipients, and undeliverable EOY tithing statements.

The retention rule is applied to all this stuff. One of my tasks this week is to take the old files to a commercial shredder.

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HoomanTyphoon-p40
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Postby HoomanTyphoon-p40 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:43 pm

My ward is kinda small, so our filing system is more simple:
I staple all donations, expenses and the like together for the week and keep them in chronological order in a file for the month.
All reconciliations/CUFS's for the year are in their own file.

I'll admit that this may not be a good way to do it if you have a bigger ward, or a lot of transactions to keep track of. ^_^
t3h l33t \^/un

jpjones~ogr
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Postby jpjones~ogr » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:38 am

Just have to add my 2 cents (less deflation).

Watch out for the perpetual clerk syndrome. Getting too good at such tasks tends to stereotype the actor. But then I've very much enjoyed being the go to person for about 30 years.

I've grown to learn that the previous clerk used a system that fit their needs and at least to some extent reflected requirements on it by local leaders.

Asking questions is a great way to learn, as well as streamline any system. Two questions I've learned to ask are: What do I need from a records system, and What do others need? In this case "others" includes stake and ward leadership, as well as auditors. Well framed and organized systems serve to reduce time and effort needed to provide answers to common requests.

All the specifics offered so far are wonderful ideas and perspectives. And working with a system for a time tends to lead to enhancements and improvements. I've used or seen all the ideas offered and adjusted them to fit the needs of the leadership I was dealing with at the time.

Finally, poke around office supply stores and their paper or web catalogs for ideas about segregating, binding, and labeling items being filed. I look for durably cheap tools, like monster staples and reusable envelopes or folders. Though I don't mind too much spending money of my private and public employers, I get real tight when it comes to Church funds.

Best wishes.

JJ


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