I looked for this topic in the clerk and record-keeping area, but couldn't find it, so I don't know if this topic has been covered elsewhere earlier, so I apologize in advance if my searches missed an already-covered topic and this new topic is not really "new".
I received the approval of our stake president before I sent this direction to the wards and branches in our stake, and am indebted to the the knowledgeable individuals who helped me get the details right (it had been a few years since I'd recorded a donation transaction). I should also state that I'm the stake clerk in our stake.
The date details in this are specific to this year (2013, soon to be 2014)
At the year-end, as you prepare the end-of-the-year close-out of the ward donations, there will be some donations received after the last Sunday, which this year is December 29th. There is a way to separate these into two deposits, which is appropriate for the donations, and considerate to the donors. When the next deposits are prepared, divide the donations into those that were received by (or postmarked by) the end of the year (through Dec 31st), and those received afterwards. Those that are postmarked or received by the 31st should be counted in the 2013 donations year. MLS is set up to handle this, and that ability should be used. If there is unfamiliarity with how to do this in the MLS Financial records, please let Bro. SFC (Stake Financial Clerk) or myself know so we can show you how this is done.
Bishops, for the purpose of donations, any envelope received by hand on or before the 31st, and envelopes that are postmarked by Dec 31st of 2013 qualify as being a 2013 donation and should be separated from the other (2014) donations so the bishopric and clerks can record the 2013 donations separately from the 2014 donations. Ideally, this will be on January 5th, but if any are forgotten, remedy it as soon as you can.
The date on the check is insufficient for reckoning the donations: the postmark on the envelope (if mailed) should be on or before Dec. 31st, and if hand-received/delivered, it should be on or before Dec 31st. I mention this because once the donations are separated from their envelopes, it is hard to tell when they were received, so it is best to separate the donations before opening the envelopes. This will require two batch submittals, but it is the correct thing to do, and, yes, is more effort, but the effort is appropriate for the task.
Bishopric and clerks: On Sunday, January 5th, process the last of the 2013 deposits as follows: set the date of the batch to December 31, 2013, and then proceed to record items as your normally do. Place the deposits and documents in the bank deposit bag and seal it normally with the items in the appropriate pouches. After completing these 2013 items and closing the donation batch, transmit the batch (Send/Receive). Then proceed to process the 2014 donations normally, with the date of transaction set to the current date in 2014 (January 5th is the first Sunday, or the current date in 2014). This is the only time you should deviate from using the current date as the date of the transaction.
If you have any corrections or suggestion for these procedures, please let me know, and if you need help processing them, I or Bro. SFC will be happy to help you on that day, or beforehand to go over what to do. If there are any difficulties in following these procedures, please let me know. If you can't comply, please let me know, also. If your unit's bishopric members or clerk or financial clerk are not on this distribution (i.e., Xth Ward financial clerk, Yth Ward bishopric counselors), please ensure that they have a copy of it.
I'm sharing this, because I'm sure that others have pondered this topic and "how do I do that?" and this is intended as a solution that has been tried and used for several years in some of our units with no problems with our auditors.
I'm assuming, as a given, that readers of the instructions are sufficiently trained and observant in proper handling of donations.
Corrections and suggestions are welcome. I do know they don't like leaders handing out legal, financial, or tax counsel, but this isn't any of those (unless I missed a class in language parsing), but is a procedural item that doesn't seem to be addressed in the instructions for clerks or MLS (unless I've missed something). If the Church has specifically chosen to refrain from giving instructions on this year-end stuff because of any reason, that would be welcome information.