Reimbursement documentation - How rare is rare?

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Reimbursement documentation - How rare is rare?

Postby brettgrant99 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:00 am

I am a new financial clerk. I spent many years being an stake auditor. Appropriately, I never audited my own ward. So, now that I am the finance clerk, I have been going over this year's records and am amazed at the number of check cut that don't have support documentation. It is so common, that the previous clerk created a form for "Lost Reciepts". Most of these seem to be for rent and a member of the bishopric is filling out the form. The bishop is signing them, but it seems like, at a minimum, the recipient should filling out and signing the form.

I am wondering if my previous experience as an auditor is clouding my judgment. I don't know why or where, but I would have said, as an auditor, that 1 or 2 missing receipts per audit period would be considered rare. I have only been through 2 months of records, but right now we are averaging 6 per month, which seems really high to me.

Any thoughts on what the definition of "rare" should be?


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Re: Reimbursement documentation - How rare is rare?

Postby jdlessley » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:59 am

At one point in my tenure as an auditor for 9 audit cycles I asked a similar question to our area auditor. His response was to examine the reason the replacement form was used. Was the receipt really lost or missing or was their evidence of something else going on? He further explained that if one person submitted more than one disbursement request with a missing receipt then it would not be inappropriate to interview the individual making the reimbursement request and those who processed the request to find out more.

He never gave a definitive answer to what was considered rare. But our audit committee chairman told us to write up any instances where there was more than one from the same individual in the audit period in which we could not determine extenuating circumstances. He also instructed us to be more critical of fast offering assistance expenses with missing receipts, invoices, or bills.

It sounds like the bishop and his counselors need some instruction and guidance as to what is appropriate. If I were in your position I would contact the stake clerk and maybe even the audit committee chairman and seek guidance from them as to how to proceed. You may already know the answer, but having support from those who have higher responsibility may help - especially when trying to convince someone who has been doing it this way for a long time.

As a side note, I did have one unit I audited take over two weeks to complete while I interviewed involved individuals for missing receipts (replacement form used). This was done at the direction of the audit committee chairman.
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Re: Reimbursement documentation - How rare is rare?

Postby russellhltn » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:59 am

brettgrant99 wrote:Most of these seem to be for rent and a member of the bishopric is filling out the form.

So how is rent supposed to be handled? Maybe my view is clouded because I've always dealt with individual landlords and not companies. But short of producing the rental contract, I don't think you're going have much in the way of documentation prior to payment. It's not like utilities where you are invoiced every month. And unless you specifically request a receipt, you're not going to get any paperwork afterward.
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Re: Reimbursement documentation - How rare is rare?

Postby Gary_Miller » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:46 am

russellhltn wrote:So how is rent supposed to be handled?

We use a form specifically for welfare checks, similar to a reimbursement form. The form is filled out by the Bishop and has all the information I as a clerk needs to cut a check. If possible we get some type of paper work if not I trust the Bishop is comfortable enough with the expense since he filled out the form approving the expense. The most important thing is that the check is made out to the Property Management Company or Landlord and mailed directly to them. On the rare occasion where the recipient needs to carry the check directly it is place in a sealed envelope for delivery by the recipient to the Buisness.

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Re: Reimbursement documentation - How rare is rare?

Postby brettgrant99 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:01 am

Thanks for the responses.

They just split the ward before I was called and most of the rent type expenses are no longer happening, I am just looking at what has happened.

Also, I guess that we are going to get training by the Area Authority Auditor next week, so I just need to come up with a diplomatic way of asking.


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Re: Reimbursement documentation - How rare is rare?

Postby gregwanderson » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:55 am

My snap judgement of the situation is: Rent assistance often comes at the last minute. Someone was in a hurry to write a check and make the payment. It seemed too inconvenient or awkward to ask for a written receipt. But then it happened the next month, and the next. So that made it even more awkward to ask for a receipt ("Why do you need one? You didn't need one before.") So someone just let this become a bad habit and, rather than fix it, they created their own alternate "paper trail" with a lost receipts form.

The definition of "rare" shouldn't be "a regular habit."

If there are going to be any fishy expenses paid by the ward then it would be much easier to use fast offering funds to make them happen, especially if payments are made without a receipt. My snap judgement on this particular situation is that nothing improper happened with money but only with paperwork. Nevertheless, if this kind of thing is allowed to happen on a regular basis someone might be tempted to abuse the system. On the other hand, if someone lost a receipt for something like a case of copy paper for the library, you'd still be able to verify that there was paper in the library. So people wouldn't be as tempted to abuse the system when it comes to budget funds.

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