Organization of Expenses

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wjw42
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Organization of Expenses

Postby wjw42 » Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:01 pm

Hello, I'm a full-time missionary serving in the Dominican Republic as Branch Clerk. While I feel I've gotten most of the practices down with a lot of help from this forum and the lds help site, I'm still left a bit confused or unhelped with two things about finances and expenses:

One - What is the best way to organize current and past expenses? We have tons of aid that we give so organizing it all has been a little overwhelming. We also, out of necessity, often give payments in advance for the aid we give, so we are left with "pending" expense reports / paperwork each time until we receive the receipt one or two days later.

Two - what paperwork exactly is needed to be kept for each expense? I know of course the authorization form and the receipts, but I've seen in some places that the expense report that the clerk and bishop sign is not needed. Should that still be there as it is good to have, or is it unnecessary? Also, for each aid we give, is a Needs and Resources Analysis needed? For what purpose is this form used? We've been doing so but I haven't read anything specific about that.

Thank you very much for your help.

-Élder Walker

russellhltn
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Re: Organization of Expenses

Postby russellhltn » Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:30 pm

When you say "aid" are you talking about Fast Offering assistance, or something else? There's a considerable difference between how Fast Offering assistance and how Budget funds for Branch activities are handled in MLS.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

lajackson
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Re: Organization of Expenses

Postby lajackson » Sat Sep 19, 2015 6:24 pm

wjw42 wrote:Two - what paperwork exactly is needed to be kept for each expense? I know of course the authorization form and the receipts, but I've seen in some places that the expense report that the clerk and bishop sign is not needed. Should that still be there as it is good to have, or is it unnecessary?

You should have an original receipt for the expense, and the signature of the bishop that he has approved it. Most clerks use the expense report, but if the bishop has signed another form authorizing the expense, that is sufficient.

wjw42 wrote:Also, for each aid we give, is a Needs and Resources Analysis needed? For what purpose is this form used?

The bishop uses the Needs and Resources Analysis form to determine the resources a member has and to help decide what Fast Offering assistance will be given. As a clerk, you do not need to keep the Needs and Resources Analysis form, unless the bishop asks you to keep it for him. While the bishop should use it in making his assistance determination, it is not a required form for the financial records.

wjw42
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Re: Organization of Expenses

Postby wjw42 » Sat Sep 19, 2015 6:42 pm

russellhltn wrote:When you say "aid" are you talking about Fast Offering assistance, or something else?

Yes, that. It's a bit confusing because I learned all the MLS stuff in Spanish so sometimes it doesn't translate right. And I know the two work differently in MLS, and I already understand how they work there, but the paperwork required for filing afterwards was still a bit confusing.

lajackson wrote:You should have an original receipt for the expense, and the signature of the bishop that he has approved it.

Does that then imply that an expense authorization form is not necessary as long as we have some type of signature of the branch president?

And the other part clears up much about the Analysis form. Thank you!

russellhltn
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Re: Organization of Expenses

Postby russellhltn » Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:56 pm

wjw42 wrote:Does that then imply that an expense authorization form is not necessary as long as we have some type of signature of the branch president?

The authorization is the critical part. The form is simply a common means of getting it along with taking care of other information usually needed to cut a check.

Note that Fast Offering assistance should go direct to the expense being paid - not to the member to pay their bills. For example, if the rent is being paid, then the check should be cut to the landlord.

You can find more information in the Help Center/Finance
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

lajackson
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Re: Organization of Expenses

Postby lajackson » Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:13 pm

wjw42 wrote:Does that then imply that an expense authorization form is not necessary as long as we have some type of signature of the branch president?

The expense authorization form is very helpful in documenting the details of the expense. The Financial Help instructions suggest that you should have the form. (Look under Expenses and Reimbursements.) The form also helps you as you prepare the check to know who is being reimbursed and from what category the expense is being paid.

In the end, for the audit, you only need the receipt or invoice and the branch president's signature authorizing the expense. But I would continue to use the form.

wjw42
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Re: Organization of Expenses

Postby wjw42 » Sun Sep 20, 2015 12:30 pm

Alright, so to sum it up - Receipts and a signature from the branch president are the bare minimum.

An expense authorization form is strongly suggested.

If I have the receipts and the expense authorization form, I do not need the expense report because I already have all the signatures I need. The Analysis is something of the branch president's and not mine to worry about.

In closing, I'll keep with me the receipts and a fully complete expense authorization form, and if the branch president wants, he can use and keep the Analysis's.

Is that the right conclusion? Anything I'm still not getting?

__________________________________________________

And so about the organization - of course it's kept in a locked cabinet but besides that how do you suggest it be organized? Manila folders? A hanging file system? And filed by week, month, quarter or something else?

And really, thank you for all this help. It's not so much that the help guide is confusing but that I've seen conflicting facts and opinions on what's actually required and not. This really helps clear it all up.

lajackson
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Re: Organization of Expenses

Postby lajackson » Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:52 pm

Good conclusions, I think.
wjw42 wrote:And so about the organization -

How you decide to do it is up to you, but a simple system I have seen seems to work well.

Expenses. Keep everything for one expense (i.e., check number) attached (stapled) to one piece of paper. The request, the receipt(s), the check stub. Keep each expense in number order in a manila (or hanging) folder. When the number of expenses fills the folder, use a new one. But always start a new folder every six months (January and July). This corresponds to the audit period. When the auditor comes and is ready to look at expenses, pull out the folder(s) and they are all there in numerical order.

Deposits. Keep everything for one deposit together in one envelope. The white #10 envelopes (business size) with the name of the former branch president on them work well. (And even the ones with the current name.) When the deposit is complete, put the white donation slips, the pink deposit slip, the printed batch report and bank report, and the tab from the deposit bag/envelope (if applicable) together in the envelope and write the date of the deposit on the front of the envelope. Store them together in the file cabinet in date order. (You can get fancy and rubber band a month or three together if you wish.) When the auditor comes and is ready to look at deposits, pull out the envelopes for the deposits the auditor wishes to examine. (Hint: give them to him one at a time and don't let him mix them up.)

After the audit period, the expense folders work their way farther and farther back in the file cabinet drawer and the envelopes with the deposit information do the same. In January, you pull the oldest year from the back of the cabinet and shred the information. In addition to the current year, you will hold prior year finance information for at least three years (in the U.S.) or longer (if you are in another country). There is an official retention period for financial information. Your district or stake clerk, or the area office, can advise you how long you should keep the financial records.

Keep it simple and in order.


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