Audits 2006,07,08

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
farwest
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Audits 2006,07,08

Postby farwest » Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:50 pm

Need to know if there is something you can do once a ward is backlogged since 2006 and have not reconciled there books and audits reports. We inherited this problem and want to know the best way to get everything up to date. One of the stake auditors and a ward clerk from another ward have just reconciled 2006 and are going to work on 2007. What are the options? There is nothing in the computer for 2005 or earlier.

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:48 pm

I think you have mentioned the only real way to handle this - that is to keep hacking away at it. Unfortunately there is no shortcut that I know.

Since the Church only requires records for the current year plus three years back, you have to get the reconciliations from 1 January 2006 forward done. I assume that since there were no records farther back than 1 January 2006 that the Church provided the necessary starting point information for MLS.
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Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:21 am

farwest wrote:Need to know if there is something you can do once a ward is backlogged since 2006 and have not reconciled there books and audits reports. We inherited this problem and want to know the best way to get everything up to date. One of the stake auditors and a ward clerk from another ward have just reconciled 2006 and are going to work on 2007. What are the options? There is nothing in the computer for 2005 or earlier.


I don't think any MLS computer has records outside of the required retention dates.

You will want to go month by month reconciling. There really is no shortcut. Are you having any particular issues or just dreading (rightly so, I might add) the work it's going to take to catch back up?

If there are issues, I might suggest having the stake clerk come with the Stake Financial Summaries. I've found it useful to use these to make sure at least the ward's monthly budget expenses in MLS match what the SFS says. When a ward has a persistent problem, this is the quickest way for me to identify the month to look into to resolve it.

A side note - you do have to be careful of the date ranges. If the last day of the month falls on a Sunday, then all the expenses entered on that day show up in the next month's statement.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sat Mar 07, 2009 6:14 am

crislapi wrote:A side note - you do have to be careful of the date ranges. If the last day of the month falls on a Sunday, then all the expenses entered on that day show up in the next month's statement.


I think you were referring to donations, not expenses. Expenses will always show up for the day they are entered in MLS and transmitted (except sometimes on the very last day of the year because of financial cutoff procedures at CHQ). But donations do show up on the statement for the next business day after the deposit if the deposit date is a Sunday.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sat Mar 07, 2009 6:23 am

farwest wrote:One of the stake auditors and a ward clerk from another ward have just reconciled 2006 and are going to work on 2007. What are the options? There is nothing in the computer for 2005 or earlier.


As others have mentioned, you just need a good starting point and move forward from there. The good news is that you already have a good start. The fact that 2006 has been reconciled shows that you indeed have a good starting point.

I've been through this process personally as a financial clerk once, and have assisted other financial clerks twice with similar messes. Usually the hardest part is getting started -- you just have to pick a date (the last reconciled date, or the earliest date you have records for) and move forward. Because of unknown outstanding transactions as of the starting date, it can be challenging. But you're on your way with 12 reconciliations already done, so there should be no more unknown old transactions affecting reconciliations as you go forward.

One final point of advice: don't ever go back and try to reconcile a month in the past. That will only cause confusion. Reconcile the oldest unreconciled month, print out the reconciliation report once it balances, and move forward one month at a time until you reach the current month.

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ffrsqpilot
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Postby ffrsqpilot » Sat Mar 07, 2009 7:15 am

Alan_Brown wrote:
One final point of advice: don't ever go back and try to reconcile a month in the past. That will only cause confusion. Reconcile the oldest unreconciled month, print out the reconciliation report once it balances, and move forward one month at a time until you reach the current month.


Alan's advice is right on. If you have to fix errors in the system then going back to the oldest unreconciled month is definitly the way to go and prevents some serious headaches - learned that the hard way.

However, sometimes it becomes necessary to go back and redo reconcilliations. Two years ago I inherited a totally messed up wards finances. I had to start back 18 months and work back through those 18 reconciliations to find all the errors that had been made. It was probably the most unpleasant thing I've had to do as a clerk. I did somewhat follow Alan's advice as I went back to the oldest reconciled report that matched the financial statement, but even then I had to work my way backwards to get there.

So the best advice I would give Stake Clerks, Stake Financial Clerks and savvy Ward Clerks is that if you even suspect that the reconciliations and ward finances aren't right - ask for help. Ensure that the finance clerks are trained and know what they are doing. Going back 18 months was a three week process for me that could have been prevented had the ward finance clerk in question just asked for a bit of help with some issues he didn't understand.

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Postby crislapi » Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:46 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:I think you were referring to donations, not expenses. Expenses will always show up for the day they are entered in MLS and transmitted (except sometimes on the very last day of the year because of financial cutoff procedures at CHQ). But donations do show up on the statement for the next business day after the deposit if the deposit date is a Sunday.


No, I meant expenses. For example, Nov 30, 2008 was a Sunday. Any expenses entered that day did not show up in the November CUFS or SFS. They did show up in the December statements correctly dated as Nov 30.

So if you are going back trying to match total monthly expenses in MLS with the SFS, I would have to set the date range 1 Nov 2008 - 29 Nov 2008 for November and 30 Nov 2008 - 31 Dec 2008 for December.


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