Stake Clerk Problem

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stott-p40
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Stake Clerk Problem

Postby stott-p40 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:02 pm

I am confused. I am the stake clerk and a finance clerk for my ward. I keep track of the budget allowances and expenses for the wards on a spreadsheet. The amount on the Stake Financial Summary that is debited from each ward for the current month, what does that represent exactly? I thought it represented the budget amount debited from each ward found on the ward's bank statement. But I found out that it doesn't. Or maybe I can't see how the numbers add up. Here is an example.

1. The Stake Financial Summary says ward S. for Jan 31, 08 is -215.38 (or that amount spent.)

From the Jan, 08 bank statement for ward S. we have:
Deposits into budget 0.00
Checks cleared in budget -655.29
Misc disb. and credits for budget -68.20
Total -723.49

Why does the -723.49 from my bank statement not equal the -215.38 on the Stake Fin. Sum.? Outstanding checks written in Jan amounted to 0.00.

2. One clerk suggested that the church also takes into account the checks written that month but not cashed. But we have no checks written in Jan.

3. Here is an example where maybe the checks written but not cashed come into play.

Stake Fin. Sum. Oct 31 2008 for ward S -50.94

Bank Statement for ward S
Deposits into budget +120.00
Checks cleared in budget -86.56
Misc disb. for budget -81.19
Total -47.75

The difference from the ward total and the Stake Fin. Sum amount is 3.19.
The amount of outstanding checks written in Oct. is -3.19. You may say, "There it is!" But I found this correlation to happen in only 4 out of the 12 months of 2008. The other months were off by various amounts, none of which I could find on the bank statement. How do you explain this?

4. The bottom line is I want to be able to know exactly where the numbers for the amount spent by each unit found on the Stake Fin Sum. can be found on the ward bank statement. As I explained above, some months it looks like the checks written that month but not cashed come into play. The other months do no correlate at all and I cannot find the difference anywhere on the statement.

5. One may say that the church numbers are correct and I have to dig deeper. That is not always so. One month last year the Stake Fin. Sum. math for 7 out of 8 units was completely off. I sent what I thought the numbers should be to Salt Lake and they agreed and made the changes. So much for relying completely on what they send us. I wonder if someone who is entering numbers on my Stake Fin. Sum. in Salt Lake is entering them wrong. HELP!
AS

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:25 am

stott wrote:I am confused. I am the stake clerk and a finance clerk for my ward. I keep track of the budget allowances and expenses for the wards on a spreadsheet. The amount on the Stake Financial Summary that is debited from each ward for the current month, what does that represent exactly? I thought it represented the budget amount debited from each ward found on the ward's bank statement. But I found out that it doesn't. Or maybe I can't see how the numbers add up.


I can't explain all the differences you are seeing, but one particular item that sometimes causes confusion is when checks are written on December 31 after the budget cutoff. In this case, MLS will record a check on December 31 of the prior year, but it will show up on the Church Unit Financial Statement in January. That doesn't seem to be a factor in your situtation, but it might be an issue, so I thought I'd mention it.

stott wrote:One clerk suggested that the church also takes into account the checks written that month but not cashed.


That is most definitely the case. Again, it does not explain all the issues you are mentioning, but as you are doing your calculations, note that every check written in MLS for the statement month (and transmitted before whatever cutoff date there is for generating the CUFS) will be included on the statement, and also on the Stake Financial Summary (or at least is supposed to be!).

I am a stake financial clerk, but am not currently a ward financial clerk, so I have no easy access to the CUFS for any wards. I must admit that I have simply trusted the Stake Financial Summary, and have never compared it with any ward's CUFS. You are in a fairly uncommon situation of having easy access to both ward and stake details. I'll check with a couple of my ward financial clerks and see if the numbers match up in our case.

faireskind
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Postby faireskind » Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:37 pm

I'm an assistant stake clerk in our stake for finances. I have studied this issue a little while researching why some units exceed their annual budget given to them by our stake. The amount that shows up on the Stake Financial Summary is the same as the "Total Amount Transferred" at the end of the Church Unit Financial Statement (CUFS). That is the easy part.

The hard part is to answer the question, "How does the Church calculate the Total Amount Transferred?" The answer is that they look at all the activity pertaining to the month they are reporting. This activity includes checks that are transmitted by each unit during the monthly period being reported along with activity in the "Miscellaneous Disbursements and Credits" section of the CUFS. It is important to realize that they don't look at the date that checks clear in their calculations. This means you need to exclude checks written in prior periods and include outstanding checks from the current period.

There is insufficient information on the CUFS to reconcile to the "Total Amount Transferred". Because the CUFS lists only the Date Cleared in the "Checks Cleared" section, you must go to MLS and look at View/Update Expenses to see the date the check was written.

In your example for ward S, it shows that 655.29 cleared in budget. What you need to determine is, of that 655.29, what portion of that amount was attributable to checks written in January 2008? Add to that the budget amounts found on the "Miscellaneous Disbursements and Credits" section of the January statement. Also add any checks written in January from the Outstanding Checks section of the statement. You may also need to add in checks written on December 31, 2007 which were transmitted after the noon MST deadline.

From a unit in my own stake, they had the following on their January 2008 statement from the Budget category:
Deposits 0.00
Checks Cleared -1772.57
Miscellaneous Disbursements and Credits -182.25
Outstanding Checks -508.71
Stake Summary Amount -804.18

Clearly, the top four totals don't reconcile to the stake summary amount. However, when you look only at the checks that were actually written during the January period, it balances. Here's what that looks like:
Deposits 0.00
Checks Cleared (written on 12/31/07) -182.14
Checks Cleared (written during January) -79.69
Miscellaneous Disbursements and Credits -182.25
Outstanding Checks (from January) -360.10
Stake Summary Amount -804.18

You can safely trust the numbers on the Stake Summary Report (well, when they don't have YTD problems like they did last year for a couple of months) and it is those numbers for which the Church holds the stake accountable. However, they don't really make it easy to reconcile those numbers to what appears on the CUFS.

stott-p40
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Postby stott-p40 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:20 pm

I appreciate the 2 above replies. We finally figured out how to get a number off of the bank statements that matches the Stake Financial Summary. Take a ward bank statement. All of these numbers are in the budget column only.
1. Add in any deposits under the current month. (Usually none) This is a positive number.
All the following are negative numbers.
2. Take the Gross Checks under Checks Cleared. Subtract from that number the budget checks in last month's Outstanding Checks section that cleared this month. (This is because these latter checks have already been charged to the ward last month.) This new number will represent this month's cleared checks that were written this month.
3. Take the total of the budget charges listed in the Misc. Disbursement section. These are mostly charges from the Distribution Center. They are not checks written but they are amounts charged to the ward this month.
4. Now take the total of the new checks written this month that will be debited this month but have not cleared. They are found under this month's Outstanding Checks section and have this month's date to the left.
5. #1 will be a positive number and #2, 3 and 4 will be negative numbers. Add them all together. This new total should equal the amount charged the ward on the Stake Financial Summary. (Yes brethren. This calculation is definitely one of the mysteries of the Kingdom.)

The main point is that the units are charged during the month checks are written and the month Misc. Disbursement charges are made, not when the checks clear the bank. The unit bank account does not function like a regular bank account where money is debited from the account when the checks clear. The fact that the church zeros out the budget column makes it hard to visualize what is really happening.

Stake finance clerks can use an Excel spread sheet to monitor the wards' budgets. This can contain columns that have from left to right-
name of wards, each quarters' budget allowance by quarter (calculated using whatever formula your stake uses), YTD total allowance, YTD expenses (from Stake Fin Summary), YTD balances, % of YTD allowance spent. This is then handed out on a regular basis to the wards so they can see where they stand. This also gives them a new quarterly allowance which they should use to readjust their estimated yearly budget on their View/Edit Budget page in MLS. If the wards do this, they will have on their Budget Allowance Report a fairly accurate YTD budget balance.
(I am sure you finance wizzies think this is all a piece of cake. But for we non-finance people this can all take many hours to figure out!)

A.S.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:12 am

stott wrote:The main point is that the units are charged during the month checks are written and the month Misc. Disbursement charges are made, not when the checks clear the bank. The unit bank account does not function like a regular bank account where money is debited from the account when the checks clear.


I'm sorry you had to go through so much pain to figure it out, but your conclusion above is right on and well stated. Once you realize that the Budget Allocation is based on when checks are written or other miscellaneous expenses are incurred, it really is quite simple. That's how MLS tracks expenses, so it is quite straightforward to match MLS with the Satke Financial Summary.


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