Non-zero Other accounts

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chadevans
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Non-zero Other accounts

Postby chadevans » Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:35 pm

In MLS, I have the Other account properly balancing to zero to start the year, but nearly all the sub-accounts have non-zero balance. Some have positive, and some have negatives. This is a real pain, as the sub-accounts for Scout Camp, Cub Camp, and YW Camp all have balances that are not reflective of what was deposited. What can I do to reset them to the correct balances? I should note that the balances were from previous years when the accounts were totally messed up.

1historian-p40
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other account

Postby 1historian-p40 » Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:49 pm

I'm not sure I understand your question. Is it that your subcategories look like this?
Scout camp $45.00
Girls camp -$35
cub scout camp -$10
If this is what it looks like then funds need to be transfered from the budget to make girls camp and cub scout camp zeroed out.
If thats not the way it looks than please give us an example so we can try to assist you.

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:52 pm

ivanfranko wrote:In MLS, I have the Other account properly balancing to zero to start the year, but nearly all the sub-accounts have non-zero balance. Some have positive, and some have negatives. This is a real pain, as the sub-accounts for Scout Camp, Cub Camp, and YW Camp all have balances that are not reflective of what was deposited. What can I do to reset them to the correct balances? I should note that the balances were from previous years when the accounts were totally messed up.
The Other account, or any of the sub-accounts, is not required to balance to zero to start another year. The reference to zero is that the reconciliation should balance to zero. There can be amounts in the sub-accounts if the purpose for the account is still on-going. For example scout camp can have a balance if the young men are contributing to next year's camp.

Negative amounts generally indicate that at some point a check was written that exceeded the funds available in the account. Of course this could have happened more than once to compound the issue. The procedure to correct the over-draft of funds is to collect the funds from the people who should have made the contributions. For those cases in which you cannot identify what amounts should be collected from what individuals or it is not feasible to collect the funds you will have to counsel with the Bishop about writing a check from the ward budget for the deficit amount and depositing it into the overdrafted Other sub-account.

In those Other sub-accounts that have positive balances and the event for which the funds were collected has transpired the procedure is to return the excess funds to the appropriate individuals. If the amount(s) to be returned do not warrant the expense of writing a check you can ask the individual(s) what they would like done with the funds. You would then fill out a Tithing and Other Offerings slip for the amount for the appropriate category, such as fast offering, write a check and process it per all other donations. If you cannot identify the individuals to whom the funds belong then you must again counsel with the Bishop to determine what category to contribute the funds and then follow the process described above.

What you should not do is attempt to transfer funds from one Other sub-account to another in an attempt to balance them or make the Other account appear to be zero. It is possible that this is what has happened in the past - not likely, but possible. The original issues must first be identified and corrected in accordance with Church procedures to get the balances in their proper state.

Your reference to previous years being totally messed up means to me that the reconciliations have not properly been accomplished at some point. You will have to do some investigating to find where the problems are and correct the reconciliations from that point forward.

I recommend contacting your stake financial clerk to help you resolve the issues.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:22 am

ivanfranko wrote:In MLS, I have the Other account properly balancing to zero to start the year, but nearly all the sub-accounts have non-zero balance. Some have positive, and some have negatives. This is a real pain, as the sub-accounts for Scout Camp, Cub Camp, and YW Camp all have balances that are not reflective of what was deposited. What can I do to reset them to the correct balances? I should note that the balances were from previous years when the accounts were totally messed up.


First of all, I would strongly recommend that you take the training lesson Understanding and Using the "Other" Category. Most of your questions should be answered in that lesson.

jdlessley wrote:In those Other sub-accounts that have positive balances and the event for which the funds were collected has transpired the procedure is to return the excess funds to the appropriate individuals.... If you cannot identify the individuals to whom the funds belong then you must again counsel with the Bishop to determine what category to contribute the funds and then follow the process described above.


jdlessley gave some excellent details to help you deal with various situations you may encounter as you work to resolve these issues. Most of what he says you will find in the training lesson I mentioned above.

The one small detail where his instructions do not match the policy as detailed in the training lesson is in the area of unidentified excess funds. In this case, we are not told to "counsel with the Bishop to determine what category to contribute the funds," but rather:

If there are excess funds in the “Other” category, and the funds do not have an identified purpose, you should first try to identify what the original purpose was. If you cannot identify the purpose, clear the funds by printing a check from the “Other” subcategory, payable to Corporation of the President. In the “Purpose” field, enter “Surplus ‘Other’ Funds.” Send the check to:
Disbursing Office
50 E North Temple St. Rm 1524
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3612


On your semi-annual financial audits, the auditor should be making sure that all clerks and other appropriate leaders have taken the appropriate training courses. I cannot emphasize enough the value of the information in those courses. Even if you have taken them in the past, it's a good idea to review them every year or two -- I find that some of the content means a lot more to me on a second viewing after I may have had some actual experiences in that area.

chadevans
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More Other Account Questions...

Postby chadevans » Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:12 pm

So, the answer is that I will have to work through the last few years worth of reconciliation forms to determine where the money should have gone. Is there any hints to audit the entire history of the sub-account, to find out where it went wrong?

I have gone through the training, and the problem is that it doesn't get enough into what to do with these extreme cases. At the end of last year, we had a positive balance in our Other account, and the Stake required us to zero it out. I was just called, so I didn't know enough to see that there were massive discrepancies in the individual sub-accounts. Basically, they were along the lines of what 1historian was describing. Worse, though, was that there are multiple other accounts that have basically the same name (e.g. YW Camp vs. Girls Camp), but with differing balances.

Why is it no OK to just transfer around the amounts in the sub-accounts, when I know that they all should be zero?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Sep 23, 2008 5:41 am

ivanfranko wrote:So, the answer is that I will have to work through the last few years worth of reconciliation forms to determine where the money should have gone. Is there any hints to audit the entire history of the sub-account, to find out where it went wrong?

I have gone through the training, and the problem is that it doesn't get enough into what to do with these extreme cases. At the end of last year, we had a positive balance in our Other account, and the Stake required us to zero it out. I was just called, so I didn't know enough to see that there were massive discrepancies in the individual sub-accounts. Basically, they were along the lines of what 1historian was describing. Worse, though, was that there are multiple other accounts that have basically the same name (e.g. YW Camp vs. Girls Camp), but with differing balances.

Why is it not OK to just transfer around the amounts in the sub-accounts, when I know that they all should be zero?


It is certainly fine to combine all the subaccounts that are for the same purpose (and then you should make the unused ones inactive). As for the remaining positive and negative balances, the training lesson and posts in this thread state the policy -- basically funds are to be used for the specific purpose for which the funds were given.

But as for the specifics, you need to gather all the information (including policy statements), and consult with your bishop and your stake auditors. We can only point you to the policy and answer any questions you have -- the actual actions in your case will be directed by your priesthood leaders.

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:12 am

ivanfranko wrote:So, the answer is that I will have to work through the last few years worth of reconciliation forms to determine where the money should have gone. Is there any hints to audit the entire history of the sub-account, to find out where it went wrong?
The short answer is no - there is no short or quick way that I know of to find out where things went wrong for difficult situations like yours. It will take some time and work to find the origins of the problems. Since reconciliations are only as good as the one before it you will have to find the problem that goes the farthest back in time and start there. Once the original issue is solved and the reconciliation for that month is corrected you must redo each reconciliation after that. In so doing you can identify and correct the problems as you redo each reconciliation.

I use an iterative process to find the origins of an Other account problem. I use MLS and not the printed reconciliation reports in this process. I begin by checking the reconciliation for January of the current year to see if the problem is there. If it is then I will go to January of the previous year and do the same. You can work backward this way to find the year the problem started. You can then begin narrowing down to the month the problem started by checking June's reconciliation and so on. Using this process I have been able to track down the original problem in less than fifteen minutes - at least when the original problem occurred after MLS was brought on line.

Correcting the problems now is as Alan_Brown said. You must consult with your priesthood leaders and your stake financial clerk as to the actions you will take.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

chadevans
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Thanks for all the input

Postby chadevans » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:40 pm

I think I have enough to go on to get this corrected. Thanks for all the good information! :)


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