Signature required for reimbursement form?

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19nazzy-p40
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Signature required for reimbursement form?

Postby 19nazzy-p40 » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:25 pm

Just a quick question from a new clerk.

For the reimbursement form specifically (our ward one that a leader would attach their receipts to), is it alright for any member of the Bishopric (Bishop, 1st/2nd Counselor) to sign the form before I go and make the check? I was sure that it was okay as our form says Bishopric authorization on the line but reading some other forms here it says Bishop only. It is my understanding that as long as the Bishop signs the expense form generated from MLS once I write the check, then everything should be fine as he has given the approval.

Appreciate the help. Just trying to organize things better so the leaders are giving the forms to a member of the Bishopric rather than myself so I'm not trying to chase down the Bishop(ric) to get that first approval, which I want to have rather than getting it after which has been the case here and in other areas.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:15 pm

19nazzy wrote:Just a quick question from a new clerk.

For the reimbursement form specifically (our ward one that a leader would attach their receipts to), is it alright for any member of the Bishopric (Bishop, 1st/2nd Counselor) to sign the form before I go and make the check? I was sure that it was okay as our form says Bishopric authorization on the line but reading some other forms here it says Bishop only. It is my understanding that as long as the Bishop signs the expense form generated from MLS once I write the check, then everything should be fine as he has given the approval.

Appreciate the help. Just trying to organize things better so the leaders are giving the forms to a member of the Bishopric rather than myself so I'm not trying to chase down the Bishop(ric) to get that first approval, which I want to have rather than getting it after which has been the case here and in other areas.


The ward audit instructions say (in step 25):
All expenditures are approved by the bishop. See Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 1, 157, 159.


The lesson Handling Church Expenses says (on slide 15):
The bishop’s signature on the authorization form indicates that he approves of the expense. Never pay an expense that has not been approved by the bishop.


So it is quite clear that only the bishop (or branch president or stake/district president) can authorize the expense. As a practical matter, bishops are not always available at the moment checks need to be written, so most units that I have been involved with will often prepare some checks prior to the bishop signing the form, as long as he approves the expense before it is actually delivered. That seems to meet the requirements.

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Postby russellhltn » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:22 pm

So what happens when the Bishop is out of town?
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19nazzy-p40
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Postby 19nazzy-p40 » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:25 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:The ward audit instructions say (in step 25):


The lesson Handling Church Expenses says (on slide 15):


So it is quite clear that only the bishop (or branch president or stake/district president) can authorize the expense. As a practical matter, bishops are not always available at the moment checks need to be written, so most units that I have been involved with will often prepare some checks prior to the bishop signing the form, as long as he approves the expense before it is actually delivered. That seems to meet the requirements.

I appreciate the quick response, thanks.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:35 pm

RussellHltn wrote:So what happens when the Bishop is out of town?


In my experience, if checks need to be written when the bishop is out of town, a counselor approves the expense so that the expense can be paid, but the counselor does not sign the approval form on behalf of the bishop. That must be done by the bishop when he returns.

Although the lesson Handling Church Expenses specifies that the bishop must sign the approval form before the check can be paid, the audit instructions simply state that the bishop must approve the expense. So when my bishops and stake president have been out of town, they are comfortable with expenses being paid as long as they have the opportunity to review and sign the form when they return.

I have never had an auditor question this, since this practice complies completely with the audit instructions.

19nazzy-p40
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Postby 19nazzy-p40 » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:42 pm

Just to kinda go along with this, is a normal turn around time for a reimbursement the next Sunday?

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:48 pm

19nazzy wrote:Just to kinda go along with this, is a normal turn around time for a reimbursement the next Sunday?

For member reimbursements, yes, that's what I target for. Of course, sometimes fast offering expenses have to be processed sooner, depending on the situation.
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Postby russellhltn » Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:35 am

Mikerowaved wrote:Of course, sometimes fast offering expenses have to be processed sooner, depending on the situation.


I remember when MLS came out that there was quite a cry because it printed the check as opposed to recording the information after the fact (like FIS did). The Bishop could no longer just write and check, and track down a cosigner at home. If the Bishop wasn't that computer savvy, he had to wait until he could get someone to come down to the ward to do it.

Funny thing - once the word got out, the "emergencies" started showing up sooner. It's a rare case indeed that the member doesn't know they are in financial trouble many days if not weeks ahead of time.
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Postby lajackson » Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:37 pm

RussellHltn wrote:So what happens when the Bishop is out of town?


The first counselor is in charge and can authorize expenditures within budget and Handbook guidelines. He consults with the stake president if he has a question that will not wait for the bishop's return, especially in the area of fast offerings.

Often, the bishop will have met with the counselor and they will know what expenses need to be paid while the bishop is absent. The counselor will be able to authorize those payments. If something new or unusual turns up, especially with regard to welfare needs, the counselor calls the stake president.

In most of our units, when the counselor signs the payment paperwork, it is saved for the bishop to review and initial/sign upon his return. This keeps the auditors happy. But, in the absence of the bishop, the first counselor can do it.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:35 pm

lajackson wrote:The first counselor is in charge and can authorize expenditures within budget and Handbook guidelines. He consults with the stake president if he has a question that will not wait for the bishop's return, especially in the area of fast offerings.

Often, the bishop will have met with the counselor and they will know what expenses need to be paid while the bishop is absent. The counselor will be able to authorize those payments. If something new or unusual turns up, especially with regard to welfare needs, the counselor calls the stake president.

In most of our units, when the counselor signs the payment paperwork, it is saved for the bishop to review and initial/sign upon his return. This keeps the auditors happy. But, in the absence of the bishop, the first counselor can do it.


I hate to disagree, but the counselor cannot authorize expenditures. The bishop is the only one that can authorize expenditures at the ward level. That is made abundantly clear in training lessons, the handbook, and the audit forms. Nowhere is there any provision for the first counselor to authorize expenditures. In the absense of the bishop, a counselor can give provisional authorization so that the checks can be written, but ultimately the bishop must personally give his signature authorizing the expense.

I have already quoted documents that support this. If you have documentation to the contrary, I'd love to see it.


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