The companionship principal

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
esogs
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The companionship principal

Postby esogs » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:45 am

We've reviewed all the information below with regard to the companionship principal, but still have a question. In our ward, we have two clerks and two bishopric members processing tithing (or sometimes 1 bishopric member and two clerks, and of course the minimum of 1 clerk and one bishopric member).

The question is, if you have four people processing tithing, the two bishopric members opening envelopes side by side and the clerk entering them, can the fourth clerk be the one who is verifying all the funds and amounts. Per the instructions it just seems that two people need to verify the amounts and funds match.

We have variations of this same question, but I was wondering what other people are doing with regard to the companionship principal as outlined below.

The companionship principal:

https://www.lds.org/callings/melchizedek-priesthood/records-and-technology-support/finance-companionship-principle?lang=eng

https://www.lds.org/callings/melchizedek-priesthood/records-and-technology-support/processing-donations?lang=eng#watch

Policy and Principles
The companionship principle requires two priesthood holders to be actively involved in opening the donation envelopes, counting the money, recording the amounts in the Church financial software, and making the deposit in the bank. Having one person open envelopes and count money while the other person does something else is not adequate.

Two persons—a member of the bishopric and a clerk, or two members of the bishopric—open each envelope together to verify that the funds enclosed are the same as the amount written on the Tithing and Other Offerings form. If the funds and the written amount differ, the contributor should be contacted as soon as possible to resolve the difference.

allenjpl
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Re: The companionship principal

Postby allenjpl » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:43 am

Good heavens, that's a lot of people in the clerk's office all trying to do the same task. Your office must be enormous. But, in answer to your question, no, two clerks may not verify the amounts. A bishopric member must be involved from start to finish - in opening the envelopes, verifying the funds match the slip, recording the donations, and preparing the bank deposit. Having two clerks verify and enter doesn't work. Keep reading in the procedures list, and you'll find this:

3. Record the donations. The clerk, together with the bishopric member, carefully records the information from each Tithing and Other Offerings form in the Member and Leader Services (MLS) software. Units not using MLS record the donations according to local procedures. The clerk and bishopric member make sure the amounts written on each slip match the amount they have recorded.
4. Verify, authorize, and send the donation information to the administration office. After the clerk and bishopric member have recorded all of the donations, they verify that the total amount in MLS equals the total of all cash and checks they received that day.

Our procedure is pretty much as outlined here. With one clerk and one bishopric member, we're usually done within an hour. Maybe a little longer if we're waiting for the deacons to return with fast offerings. I can't imagine trying to get four people to do the work of two.

jdlessley
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Re: The companionship principal

Postby jdlessley » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:44 am

The companionship principle involves two people. One of which must be a member of the bishopric. This normally means one counselor and one clerk, or another counselor, do all the tasks together. One companion should not be doing one part of the task while the other is doing another task at the same time. For example, if the counselor is opening envelopes the clerk should not be entering information into MLS at the same time. Instead the clerk should observe the counselor open the envelopes, count the donation, and compare the donation funds with the donation slip. Then when the information is entered into MLS the other companion watches to ensure no errors are made.

If you are going to use four people, which I have never heard being done before, then make sure two clerks are NOT companions. So in your example where there are two counselors and two clerks working together, then one counselor and one clerk would be a companionship while the other counselor and the second clerk would be the other companionship.

I personally see having four people involved at the same time processing donations to be too many chefs in the kitchen. But as long as no one person does any task by himself, without an observing companion, and no two companions are clerks, then the companionship principle is being met.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

ggllbb
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Re: The companionship principal

Postby ggllbb » Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:29 pm

If you have three or four people processing the donations and are following the companionship principle, then who signs off on the batch (2 people in 3 places, MLS, Report and deposit bag)? Whoever signs off on it is responsible for the correctness, even though (with three or four) they were not involved in the entire process.

jasonfitt
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Re: The companionship principal

Postby jasonfitt » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:46 pm

If you have four people in there (which is not required, but I guess you can do it that way if you want), then two people would do the actual counting and processing donations while the other two would just sit in the back and watch. They wouldn't need to do anything, which makes having 3 or 4 people in there pointless.

jasonfitt
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Re: The companionship principal

Postby jasonfitt » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:16 pm

esogs wrote:The question is, if you have four people processing tithing, the two bishopric members opening envelopes side by side and the clerk entering them, can the fourth clerk be the one who is verifying all the funds and amounts. Per the instructions it just seems that two people need to verify the amounts and funds match.


In this scenario the clerks have to watch each bishopric member open the envelopes. Then a bishopric member has to watch the clerk who is entering the donation in to the computer, and the other bishopric member would have to watch the clerk that is verifying the funds. So, you can see how problematic it is to have four people processing tithing this way because you can't be doing all those tasks at the same time.

That's why you really only need two people. The counselor opens one envelope and the clerk has to sit and watch. Then the counselor has to sit and watch while the clerk enters that donation in to the computer. Rinse and repeat until you get through all of them. You can't have four people opening envelopes, entering them in the computer and verifying funds all at the same time.

Miknmaur
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Re: The companionship principal

Postby Miknmaur » Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:03 pm

Last audit we were told that both persons making the bank deposit should ride in the same car. Is that policy or opinion?

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aebrown
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Re: The companionship principal

Postby aebrown » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:54 pm

Miknmaur wrote:Last audit we were told that both persons making the bank deposit should ride in the same car. Is that policy or opinion?

I suppose it's a matter of interpretation, but all the training on the companionship principle makes it clear that when you are counting money, the people need to remain in the same room. We're specifically given the example of one person being in one room and the other in an adjoining room, and we're taught that that would be a violation of the companionship principle. I don't see how being in separate cars is any different from being in separate rooms, so in my opinion it is pretty clear that the companionship principle (which is indeed policy) would require both persons to be in the same car.

jdlessley
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Re: The companionship principal

Postby jdlessley » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:20 pm

aebrown wrote:
Miknmaur wrote:Last audit we were told that both persons making the bank deposit should ride in the same car. Is that policy or opinion?

I suppose it's a matter of interpretation...

I agree. Your stake president has the authority to interpret the guidance. Likewise, the area auditor may provide direction that interprets the need to travel in the same vehicle.

I see it much the same as the chain of custody legal principal. The person in the car without the deposit bag cannot verify that the bag remained untampered if he cannot see it during the trip to the bank.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?


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