Budget Allowance Topics on Ward Audit

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aebrown
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Budget Allowance Topics on Ward Audit

Postby aebrown » Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:54 am

There are some important financial procedures related to the budget allowance that do not seem to be included in the ward financial audit form. Specifically, two very important points are:
  1. Does the ward have a budget and are budget expenditures kept within the budget allocation from the stake?
  2. Are all ward expenses funded through the budget allowance? Specifically, do members provide services or supplies at their own expense without getting reimbursed?
I have scoured the audit form and cannot find any audit point that relates to these.

For item 1, there is nothing at all on the ward audit. The ward could be operating without any budget at all, overspending its allocation by thousands of dollars each year, and it would not show up on the audit. The stake audit has question #40 that makes sure the stake as a whole doesn't have a negative Budget balance, but there is no such ward audit question. I know the budget allocation is administered at the stake level, but it seems like this is an auditable item for wards, too.

For item 2, there is question #22 that asks us to check if "Funds are being raised or collected beyond the budget allowance guidelines." That covers one related issue where members are asked to pay fees to participate in activities. But when leaders provide significant services or supplies or long-distance transportation and are not reimbursed, that is a violation of the Budget Allowance Guidelines in the Church Handbook of Instructions (p. 159). Yet that important question is nowhere on the audit form.

I know the audit forms don't cover every possible question, but these seem like major omissions, and they are ongoing problems in our stake for some wards. Does anyone else share these concerns? How do you handle these issues in your stakes? Do you just deal with them outside the regular audit process?

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:03 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:There are some important financial procedures related to the budget allowance that do not seem to be included in the ward financial audit form. Specifically, two very important points are:
  1. Does the ward have a budget and are budget expenditures kept within the budget allocation from the stake?
  2. Are all ward expenses funded through the budget allowance? Specifically, do members provide services or supplies at their own expense without getting reimbursed?

... Does anyone else share these concerns? How do you handle these issues in your stakes? Do you just deal with them outside the regular audit process?


As part of the audit, I verify that their budget allocation in MLS matches what we in the stake have actually allocated. Whether they choose to break that out to ward committees or not is up to them, but since all expenses have to be recorded in MLS anyway, their remaining balance should be correct.

Since this is a year end audit, I have also told my wards that we will be making sure their total expenses in MLS match what we have on our December SFS. This is mainly because some wards have not been entering their expenses from the miscellaneous section, meaning at the end of a year they think they have more budget than they really do. I also see this as a great indicator of if they understand the reconciliation process or not. Obviously if their total expenses don't match what the SFS says, they have not been entering all the expenses in MLS and need to be trained.

I have not looked to see if there are specific places on the audit form for entering this info, but I will still be including these checks as part of our audits. As you mention, if they are not doing it correctly, there is potential for them to overspend their budget.


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