Eliminate Reconciliation

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
Eric Werny-p40
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Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:21 am
Location: St. George, Utah

Eliminate Reconciliation

Postby Eric Werny-p40 » Sat Nov 01, 2008 9:18 pm

Reviewing the reconcilation process that clerks are put through and what data is requested. Church office already has the data. Why do you need our involvement?

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Postby aebrown » Sat Nov 01, 2008 9:28 pm

Eric Werny wrote:Reviewing the reconcilation process that clerks are put through and what data is requested. Church office already has the data. Why do you need our involvement?

The Church office does not have all the data. The purpose of reconciliation is to bring into agreement the Church records and the local records. There are many errors that could potentially be created in the local records, and the reconciliation process can find several of them. It's even possible (and helpful) to extend the standard reconciliation process to include reconciling the Budget category, which can find even more potential errors.

It's not that the Church needs our involvement; it's that we need to go through the process to help insure the accuracy of our records.

Wayne Roberts-p40
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Postby Wayne Roberts-p40 » Sun Nov 02, 2008 1:38 pm

I serve as an Assistant Stake Clerk (Finance). Prior to that I was an Assistant Ward Clerk (Finance).

I've helped create three new Wards in my Stake during the time that I've served as Assistant Stake Clerk, so I have seen what happens when Assistant Ward Clerks (Finance) don't complete the
reconciliations in a timely manner. Wards have started with what amounts to a clean financial "slate"
and within just a few months their MLS data no longer matches the Church Unit Financial Statement - ie. it is no longer reconciled.

Assistant Ward/Branch Clerks are often released on short/no notice so the reconciliations that the Clerk always meant to get to then becomes the problem of the new Clerk. When audits are scheduled, they can't be done on time because the Clerk is playing catch-up and doesn't understand why he can't make the accounts balance.

While it's true that Church Headquarters has each Ward's data, the reverse is not true (ie. the Ward
does not have all of the information that Church Headquarters has concerning the Wards transactions).

The process of reconciliation normally deals with the following:

A). Church Distribution orders (ie. Transfers) have to be recorded.
B). Monthly Ward Missionary expenditures have to be recorded.
C). Earned interest (assuming your Ward has a positive balance) has to be recorded.
D). NSF cheques must be handled.

This is not an exhaustive list.

As a Finance Clerk, your role is to ensure that all Financial records for your Ward/Branch are up to date and balanced. Your role in the Ward is extremely important because your Bishop/Branch President can only make an informed decision if the records are accurate.

Consider the impact on the families that are making monthly missionary donations to the Ward Missionary account if you chose not to record the monthly missionary expenses. When that family (or the Bishop) asks for a report of Missionary expenditures vs. Donations and your records haven't been kept up to date, it then becomes guesswork.

Ward/Branch Auxiliaries rely on MLS data to be accurate so that when they ask for a budget expenditure report to determine how much budget they have left and the data that the report is based on isn't correct, that Auxiliary makes budgeting plans based on incorrect data. Remember that not all expenses attributed to Budget are derived solely from the cheques that are written.

As a Finance Clerk, you have the role of bringing potential problem issues to the Bishop's/Branch President's attention; issues such as deficits in Ward Missionary accounts or Budget expenditures
potentially exceeding your Ward's budget allotment. The Bishop/Branch President ultimately has the responsibility for those funds/accounts, but he's relying on you to keep him well informed.

I hope this helps you understand the importance of your role and the necessity of the monthly reconciliations.

Wayne Roberts
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Eric Werny-p40
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Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:21 am
Location: St. George, Utah

Passed On To Finance Clerk

Postby Eric Werny-p40 » Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:54 pm

Great info, and perfectly composed. I passed this on.

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Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:48 am

Don't eliminate -- automate

Postby atticusewig » Wed Nov 05, 2008 2:14 pm

While reconciliation can fix many errors,
what I have seen is that it actually creates some as well.

Step 2 for "Other items" seems to cause many, many problems
for newly trained clerks. The training really needs to stress
how seldom this step is used. It is basically for "refunds"
from the church, but I have seen all sorts of things incorrectly
entered here from missionary payments to distribution orders.

Since the CUFS are sent electronically, why not automate parts
of the reconciliation process.

For example, when the clerk clicks to reconcile, the expenses
tab is automatically opened for each "not a check" expense such
as distribution charges and missionary payments. The form
is also partially filled out from the information from the CUFS
such as dates and reference numbers .

Also, clearing donations and checks can be done automatically
as well. Plus the ending balances and interest amounts can be
filled in from the CUFS. Many reconciliations I've seen out of
balance had typos in the ending balances.

Even NSF Returned checks can bring up a "wizard" to take a new clerk
through the process of deleting the donation, and so forth.

Just make sure to leave in manual control in case the automation
has bugs, but automation can surely speed up the more tedious
parts of the reconciliation process. After all, the early MLS
versions made us clear each transfer associated with checks,
but now clearing a check automatically clears its transfer.

- Atticus Ewig

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