Multiple Check Categories

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
lesstrawn
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Multiple Check Categories

Postby lesstrawn » Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:55 am

Alan,
Yesterday, I met with the stake finance clerk and discussed what appeared to be systems changes to checks dealing with telephone and internet charges. We are using Beta 2.9 in the stake. Starting in May we installed DSL lines in 4 buildings. We entered the charges from the company that ran the line from the D box (phone connection box), to the firewall then to the clerks office, to the ward budget. (If there were 3 units in the building, then we divided the bill by three for each ward.) Because we use AT&T and McLeod phones in the buildings, in order to run the DSL lines we had to have an AT&T phone number. The bill for the DSL line is tagged to the phone number bill. Now we combine the phone bill and DSL bill together and divide. Apparently someone or something, not myself (stake clerk), nor assistant stake clerk have been trying to adjust the categories to reflect a separation of bills, ie, other:stake ward telephone and budget:wb---- then the amount.
As we met we discovered that one check which was originally written for $40.46 was now "corrected" to $404.60. Not the amount the check was written for. Needless to say it was hard for him to reconcile the statement!

In the "corrected not by us" box there might be 7 or 8 lines entitled -Other:stake ward telephone, budget:wb, so there would be several of those lines I would delete and have empty
Now, I went in to try and change the categories and amounts, one some checks I could correct them back to the original amount. There are two checks that I would get the "you have duplicate categories" statment. But I would have three different subcategories, ie, budget:wb-ward1, budget:wb-ward 2,
budget:wb-ward3, with corresponding amounts. Then it would say press ok to merge, or ...fields. It would not get rid of the excess blank lines nor let me correct the check categories or amounts.
Only on two of about 10 incorrect "corrected" checks.:(

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:41 am

lesstrawn wrote:Yesterday, I met with the stake finance clerk and discussed what appeared to be systems changes to checks dealing with telephone and internet charges. We are using Beta 2.9 in the stake.


Since there are several issues involved here, I decided to move this post to a new thread and to answer some of the questions in separate posts to avoid jumbling the issues together. That should make it easier for you to respond to the individual issues, or for others to chime in.

Some of the points you made are not very clear to me, so I'll make my best assumption as to what you are talking about and try to answer.

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Postby aebrown » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:49 am

lesstrawn wrote:Starting in May we installed DSL lines in 4 buildings. We entered the charges from the company that ran the line from the D box (phone connection box), to the firewall then to the clerks office, to the ward budget. (If there were 3 units in the building, then we divided the bill by three for each ward.) Because we use AT&T and McLeod phones in the buildings, in order to run the DSL lines we had to have an AT&T phone number. The bill for the DSL line is tagged to the phone number bill. Now we combine the phone bill and DSL bill together and divide.


Where there are shared charges, one unit must be designated to pay the actual invoice. There can be only one check sent to AT&T. It's not clear to me who actually wrote the check, but reading between the lines, I'm assuming the stake wrote the check, and the wards either wrote checks to the stake to reimburse the stake for their portion, or they created transfers. This is a critical point in understanding what is happening, so you should be clear (both in your mind and in any post to this forum) on who writes the check, and where the reimbursements for shared expenses come from and how they are accounted for.

Also, as a matter of policy, I would note that the Meetinghouse Internet Guidelines say: "No existing phone lines should be canceled or altered to accommodate a connection to the Internet" and "The invoice for the new line should be separate from the invoices for the existing telephone lines." Also, the Installing the Church Managed Firewall says:
CAUTION: Do not order Internet service from any ISP that requires the following:
• Bundled service (combining phone and Internet service on the same line)
• Combined billing (combining the phone and Internet bill on a single customer invoice)


It's not clear, but it sounds like you might be combining some of these invoices and that is part of the confusion.


For me to help you on this one, please respond and clarify:
  1. Are we dealing with checks or automatic debits to the stake account?
  2. Which unit writes the checks?
  3. How do the other units pay for their share -- by check which the paying unit then deposits, or by MLS transfer?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:51 am

lesstrawn wrote:Apparently someone or something, not myself (stake clerk), nor assistant stake clerk have been trying to adjust the categories to reflect a separation of bills


MLS finances are local to your installation of MLS. You seem to be talking about changes being made to your stake's MLS by someone other than a clerk, but I don't see how that can be happening. There are changes that might be made to your stake's account on the Church side of things, and such changes would show up only on the Church Unit Financial Statement (CUFS). The reconciliation process is designed to bring MLS into harmony with the CUFS, but finance changes made to MLS (such as changes to expense categories) can only be made locally.

Please clarify where you are seeing these changes. Are you talking only about MLS expense entries, or are you seeing changes on your CUFS related to these items?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:52 am

lesstrawn wrote:Apparently someone [has] been trying to adjust the categories to reflect a separation of bills, ie, other:stake ward telephone and budget:wb---- then the amount.


No expense in MLS can contain more than one major category, e.g., Other and Budget. If an expense is a Budget expense, you can have as many subcategories of Budget specified for the transaction, but you cannot mix Budget and Other. If an invoice needs to be paid from both Other and Budget, then you must create two separate MLS expenses; one from any combination of subcategories of Other, and a separate one from any combination of subcategories of Budget. So I can't imagine how a single MLS expense involves both Budget and Other. Maybe that's not what you are saying.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:53 am

lesstrawn wrote:As we met we discovered that one check which was originally written for $40.46 was now "corrected" to $404.60. Not the amount the check was written for. Needless to say it was hard for him to reconcile the statement!


Again, it is unclear to me where this correction is happening. Are you saying that you see an entry on your CUFS that makes that correction? If so, you need to call the administration office and clear this up. But if you mean that you see a correction in MLS for that check, then it is something that some clerk did.

Note that as you are correcting expense categories in MLS, you can make changes such that the total amount of the check is now different from the original. In this case, when you save the correction, MLS will warn you that the amount changed, and that the corrected total will be transmitted on your next Send/Receive. But it can be done, and (I'm just theorizing here) this might be the cause of the correction to $404.60.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:03 am

lesstrawn wrote:In the "corrected not by us" box there might be 7 or 8 lines entitled -Other:stake ward telephone, budget:wb, so there would be several of those lines I would delete and have empty
Now, I went in to try and change the categories and amounts, one some checks I could correct them back to the original amount. There are two checks that I would get the "you have duplicate categories" statment. But I would have three different subcategories, ie, budget:wb-ward1, budget:wb-ward 2,
budget:wb-ward3, with corresponding amounts. Then it would say press ok to merge, or ...fields. It would not get rid of the excess blank lines nor let me correct the check categories or amounts.
Only on two of about 10 incorrect "corrected" checks.


You use "corrected not by us" in quotes as if there is such a box, but there is no such label in MLS or CUFS. So again, I'm confused what you are talking about. Since you talk about "several of those lines I would delete and have empty", I'm guessing you are talking about the MLS expense entry/update screen where the right hand side lets you specify the subcategories for a particular expense.

You can have as many subcategories as you want, but only four show up at one time, unless you scroll the category list of the dialog. So make sure that you are not overlooking some category entry that is not visible without scrolling. I'm wondering if you are getting surprised by the "you have duplicate category entries" message because the duplicate entries are not immediately visible.

During the process of adjusting multiple subcategory entries for an expense, it is possible to have a blank line. If that happens, don't worry about it; as long as all the other category lines are correct, the Expense will be saved properly, and once you close it and view/update the expense again, the blank lines will be gone.

You say that MLS would not let you "correct the check categories or amounts." I've never seen that. Could you clarify what you are seeing? How were you trying to make those changes? What happened when you tried (could you not click on the entry, not change the amount, etc.)?

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Postby russellhltn » Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:21 pm

lesstrawn wrote:As we met we discovered that one check which was originally written for $40.46 was now "corrected" to $404.60. Not the amount the check was written for.


A note from the "pointing out the obvious" department: if nine "corrections" somehow added to the original amount, you'd end up with a total of $404.60 which is ten times the original amount.

lesstrawn
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Postby lesstrawn » Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:27 pm

Allen,
The stake writes the checks, and we have in the budget category, budget totals for the wards from which we deduct 1. the amount the ward spends from their budget as indicated by the stake summary of finances, and 2. any other charge that the stake makes to the wards budget, somewhat akin to the miscellaneous charges and credits Salt Lake makes on the units financial statements.
To install the DSL lines we did not make any alterations or changes to the existing phone lines as per the directions on DSL installation and usage. However, since McLeod is used to pay for those existing phone charges and in order to get DSL installed AT&T had to run a phone line with accompanying phone number. That is the number associated with the DSL line I was talking about as combined with the internet charge and being charged to the ward.
All the changes to the check amounts I was addressing are in the MLS program and not on the CFS.
MLS program only.
I believe that we followed church directions on the installation of the DSL lines.
Les

lesstrawn
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Postby lesstrawn » Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:36 pm

Alan,
Aha, in your quote from the firewall section.
The AT&T invoice has two charges on it.
1 telephone and
2 internet charges
they are separated individually, but one is not included in the other charge other than for the
total charge due.

So they are not bundled together as for example 89.99 for including both with all the tv channels you can get for that 89.99. :)


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