Lesson learned when processing donations without a computer

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aclawson
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Lesson learned when processing donations without a computer

Postby aclawson » Wed May 08, 2013 6:49 am

During an extended MLS failure one of the wards had to process some donations without a computer. There is a procedure for this in the instructions to clerks, but they seem a bit dated - for example, many of the wards haven't used (or seen) an adding machine with a paper roll for years. The obvious solution is to make use of the ubiquitous spreadsheet (which is even more functional than an adding machine) - perhaps the instructions should be updated?

jaj78
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Re: Lesson learned when processing donations without a compu

Postby jaj78 » Wed May 08, 2013 9:17 am

Our ward still has and uses an adding machine. Yes, it's unfamiliar in our modern age, but it is very transparent what is being added and totaled. In Excel, the inputs to the cells doesn't show along with the outputs to the cells. Not that it is likely, but Excel could help someone hide some voodoo errors in the financial records by hard-coding an answer instead of actually figuring out what is wrong. I believe as an organization, we also don't want to have the wards responsible for training/supporting MSOffice.

Another local use: our financial clerk uses the adding machine to run reimbursements where multiple receipts are included to show in hard-copy (paper roll) that the summation was correct.

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aebrown
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Re: Lesson learned when processing donations without a compu

Postby aebrown » Wed May 08, 2013 9:19 am

aclawson wrote:There is a procedure for this in the instructions to clerks, but they seem a bit dated

I assume you're referring to the Donations and Computer Failure article on RKATS.

I think your suggestion is a good one. Note that each RKATS article has a Discussion section at the bottom that allows you to add a comment. You can add your suggestion there. When I've made suggestions there, I've found that I often get a response -- comments are moderated, so someone has to review it anyway.

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aebrown
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Re: Lesson learned when processing donations without a compu

Postby aebrown » Wed May 08, 2013 9:29 am

jaj78 wrote:Our ward still has and uses an adding machine. Yes, it's unfamiliar in our modern age, but it is very transparent what is being added and totaled. In Excel, the inputs to the cells doesn't show along with the outputs to the cells. Not that it is likely, but Excel could help someone hide some voodoo errors in the financial records by hard-coding an answer instead of actually figuring out what is wrong.

Although you can hide things in a spreadsheet if you want to, if you simply enter numbers and then put a total at the bottom, there's nothing hidden. It's just as straightforward as an adding machine tape.

And you can play games with an adding machine, too -- add a couple of numbers, then advance the tape, then enter several other numbers and print the total. Rip off the part of the tape with the first couple of numbers, and you have an apparently dependable summation of numbers that gives an incorrect total. So I don't see how an adding machine has any inherent virtue of reliability and transparency over a spreadsheet.

jaj78 wrote:I believe as an organization, we also don't want to have the wards responsible for training/supporting MSOffice.

No one mentioned MSOffice or Excel; aclawson only mentioned a spreadsheet. The standard office suite for clerk computers is LibreOffice, which has a full-featured spreadsheet.

I've installed LibreOffice on all the computers in our stake, and I've never had to support anyone on it. Wards tend to create simple documents and simple spreadsheets, and in my experience there's always at least one of the clerks who can use LibreOffice just fine.

The Church has already specified that LibreOffice is the standard, so that organizational decision has been made.

jaj78 wrote:Another local use: our financial clerk uses the adding machine to run reimbursements where multiple receipts are included to show in hard-copy (paper roll) that the summation was correct.

I do that, too, but I use a spreadsheet application and print out the result. I find that I often need to do sales tax calculations, and a spreadsheet makes that a breeze. It would be a royal pain on an adding machine.

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Re: Lesson learned when processing donations without a compu

Postby jdlessley » Wed May 08, 2013 1:57 pm

aclawson wrote:There is a procedure for this in the instructions to clerks, but they seem a bit dated - for example, many of the wards haven't used (or seen) an adding machine with a paper roll for years.

The procedures may need updating to include alternate methods such as using a spreadsheet, but adding machines are still around and the instructions for one are quite simple and the use of the machine is intuitive (at least for me).

A new meeting house completed in November 2012 was supplied with adding machines for each ward meeting in the new building. Having an adding machine may still be necessary if the computer is the failure point and another unit's computer is not available. If MLS is not working but the computer is, along with all other applications, then I would prefer to use a spreadsheet.
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Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

jaj78
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Re: Lesson learned when processing donations without a compu

Postby jaj78 » Thu May 09, 2013 7:36 am

Indeed. I guess my point is that the paper rolls shouldn't be assumed obsolete. They are just as useful as primary or secondary tools for checking math.


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