Online reimbursement using jotform

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wipersnaz
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Online reimbursement using jotform

Postby wipersnaz » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:51 pm

Does anyone use an online form for stake/ward reimbursements? I searched on this site and found a 2015 post from johnshaw that he used jotform.com. (How do I tag him since I can't PM yet?)

Do you know if JotForm supports workflows for an approval process with email notifications at each stage?

Process I'd like to create:
1. Person fills out online form and uploads .pdf or .jpg versions of their receipt(s)
3. Organization leader (if not the person submitting the form) gets email to approve
4. Stake president/Bishop then gets email to approve
5. Clerk processes reimbursement

How does it work for you stake/ward?

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johnshaw
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Re: Online reimbursement using jotform

Postby johnshaw » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:43 pm

When I did this for a stake the real issue we were trying to solve was the major distances involved with a paper system. Since there is no requirement for an 'organization' sign off, if the budget was there, and they were submitting for a budget defined activity it went to the stake president for signature. We planned well enough that rarely did something come in that fell outside that scope. If so, the clerks would reach out to the org leader. We never needed jotform to do anything beyond the free tier.

I find what you've proposed too complex and overbearing, if I'm an org leader with an approved budget, what are the other approvals meant for? Anyway, I'm not sure what the paid tier of jotform gives you but it would likely do what you need, even if I think you should reconsider.

As mentioned in the other thread, we eliminated lots of bad feelings from leaders when h c failed miserably to be timely about reimbursements. Cut out the middle man.
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johnshaw
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Re: Online reimbursement using jotform

Postby johnshaw » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:49 am

I just looked at the JOTFORM website and here is some text from the homepage.

Create online forms and publish them. Get an email for each response. Collect data.

Looks like it will do what you want.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

― Thomas Paine, Common Sense

wipersnaz
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Re: Online reimbursement using jotform

Postby wipersnaz » Wed Feb 01, 2017 1:47 pm

Thank you for your comment. The way the stake has run the paper reimbursements is for the org leader and the stake pres to sign the reimbursement form. I didn't know that it wasn't required for a signature. If that's the case, then yes, we wouldn't need as many steps in the online reimbursement process.

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Re: Online reimbursement using jotform

Postby russellhltn » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:08 pm

While not required, I do think it would be a common courtesy to make sure leader who's budget is being impacted is OK with it.
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johnshaw
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Re: Online reimbursement using jotform

Postby johnshaw » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:26 pm

For courtesy 'notifications' I found that a monthly budget report (which we also did) can cover that for the High Council. The communication around a planned, pre-approved budgeted activity was such that there was rarely a question about items coming in. Again, remember, it did require we do some really good planning, but went along with my mantra.

It's a budget, NOT an expense account.

Expenses are approved in a manner described in the OP, reimbursements, in my mind serve a different function, it's already been technically approved for purchase by the org leaders by the nature of the budget being approved by the Stake Council and Stake President, only the reimbursement, per the check issued, has need of approval of either the SP and/or the Bishop.

For example, a the Stake Young Women's Secretary submits a reimbursement request for paying the DJ for a Stake Dance. Is this something that the org leader needs to 'approve' will it be 'not approved'? or for that matter, for that same Stake Dance, another member of the Presidency submits a reimbursement for 'treats' for the Stake Dance. I'm not going to ask the YW President to make sure that this is an approved expense, I'm pretty sure that members of her presidency didn't, on their own, hold a rogue stake dance and try to 'sneak' in approvals for a DJ and treats. On the other hand, if they were to submit a reimbursement for 'Dinner with other Stake Young Women Presidencies in the area' that isn't on our list of approved budget items for the Stake Young Women org, I'd reach out to both the stake president and stake young women's president asking what's up with that... then the stake president would likely say, oh ya, I forgot to tell you I approved that.

If items came in that were seemingly being treated like an expense account I alerted the Stake President and a conversation happened. But overburdening a process, particularly one at the stake level where you're not necessarily processing financials each week like in a ward only leads to people being put in financial burdens, and avoids the member asking that we also pay the interest charge on a card because a high councilman sat on a paper form.

I can see this being a bit tighter at the ward level, though good planning really does the trick there as well.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

― Thomas Paine, Common Sense

waltbristow
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Re: Online reimbursement using jotform

Postby waltbristow » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:44 pm

Not being familiar with Jotform and similar sites, do these sites have an audit trail so that when expenses are pulled for the mid-year and year-end audits, the auditor has something to show that the bishop/branch president or the stake/district president have approved the expense? Or will the auditor need to rely on other documentation?

eblood66
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Re: Online reimbursement using jotform

Postby eblood66 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:24 pm

waltbristow wrote:Not being familiar with Jotform and similar sites, do these sites have an audit trail so that when expenses are pulled for the mid-year and year-end audits, the auditor has something to show that the bishop/branch president or the stake/district president have approved the expense? Or will the auditor need to rely on other documentation?

I'm pretty sure that documents on a 3rd party site would not be considered sufficient for the audit. If such a site were used, you'd still need to print and file documentation. The bishop's/stake president's signature would have to be included somewhere in that documentation. An electronic approval wouldn't be enough.

waltbristow
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Re: Online reimbursement using jotform

Postby waltbristow » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:05 pm

So it IS possible to print the completed documentation? If someone has used Jotform or something similar, could you confirm that? And it sounds like you can go online and see the form along with the approvals? Does anyone know if the online 'history' shows who gave approvals?

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johnshaw
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Re: Online reimbursement using jotform

Postby johnshaw » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:07 am

walbristow,

I can confirm that when we used it we printed it. The problem we were solving was the frequent complaints that High Councilman lost paperwork, or kept hold of it for weeks before turning it in, or that people would send stuff across email that was potentially lost in the shuffle because they would just pick some email from the past with a subject that didn't indicate REIMBURSEMENT REQUEST in any way.

In no way did I want audit issues resulting from asking someone to look at an online free site, that seemed crazy. At the time (I don't know if it still does) The form could be emailed to us but additionally it was saved in a folder on a Google Drive in PDF format, so we had a folder, a pdf form (that included a place for the Stake President signature) and the expense receipt that we PRINTED and stored just like we stored our Paper copies of reimbursement requests.

Overly complex systems aren't successful with the variety of types of members we deal with on a regular basis, in my experience. Here, for those that want to use it, is a simple online form that you can fill out that just creates the paperwork in our stake clerk office, rather than waiting on the inconsistent response from a High Councilman.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

― Thomas Paine, Common Sense


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