Stake reconciliation of Ward Deposit Transaction Reports & Tithing Status Report

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nobackyard-p40
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Stake reconciliation of Ward Deposit Transaction Reports & Tithing Status Report

Postby nobackyard-p40 » Sun May 03, 2009 7:37 pm

I just got the stake notification to reconcile the Ward Transaction Reports to the Annual Tithing Status Report. In the past, we've always got a summary report doing the reconciliation for us, showing us which units were out of balance, so we could just worry about those. This year no such report was provided, & we're told to get Tithing Status Reports from the units to compare to the Transaction reports we're sent. Why weren't we sent the reconciliation this year?

The issue is compounded by the year-end Tithing Settlement training, which contains no instruction to the units to send either the Annual Tithing Status Report or the Batch Summary report to the Stake. All the training says is for wards to send is the Tithing Declaration Report to the stake, which is all our wards sent me. Unfortunately, this means we now get to go back and chase down the other two reports for all units to do the reconciliation?

Seems like we took a step backward! Am I missing something here?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun May 03, 2009 8:31 pm

nobackyard wrote:I just got the stake notification to reconcile the Ward Transaction Reports to the Annual Tithing Status Report. In the past, we've always got a summary report doing the reconciliation for us, showing us which units were out of balance, so we could just worry about those. This year no such report was provided, & we're told to get Tithing Status Reports from the units to compare to the Transaction reports we're sent. Why weren't we sent the reconciliation this year?

The issue is compounded by the year-end Tithing Settlement training, which contains no instruction to the units to send either the Annual Tithing Status Report or the Batch Summary report to the Stake. All the training says is for wards to send is the Tithing Declaration Report to the stake, which is all our wards sent me. Unfortunately, this means we now get to go back and chase down the other two reports for all units to do the reconciliation?

Seems like we took a step backward! Am I missing something here?


The Ward Transaction Reports are reconciled with the Batch Summary Reports. The wards were all clearly instructed to send Batch Summary Reports to the stake in the letter that was sent to all bishops and stake presidents back in October or November. If they weren't sent to the stake, the stake clerk or stake financial clerk should have followed up in February to make sure they were submitted. In my stake, only about half the wards submitted them on the first try, but with some simple follow up, we had all of them by mid-February.

The reconciliation of Ward Transaction Reports with Batch Summary Reports can happen independent of the summary report that shows if the total tithing amounts from donation batches balance with the submitted Tithing Declaration Reports. So you don't have to wait for that report from CHQ. When it does arrive, if it is out of balance, the work you did in reconciling Ward Transaction Reports with Batch Summary Reports should make correcting any problems very easy.

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aebrown
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Deposit Transaction Report

Postby aebrown » Thu May 07, 2009 12:48 pm

To provide some details on reconciling the Deposit Transaction Report with the wards' Batch Summary Reports, I just added an article to the wiki, with the clever title Deposit Transaction Report.

Stake clerks and stake financial clerks may find this helpful (and are welcome to contribute to the article as well), especially considering that the cover letter for the 2009 DTR contains misleading instructions.

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Postby stott-p40 » Sun May 10, 2009 5:58 pm

1. I agree with nobackyard. Why did they not just send us a side by side comparision of each ward so we could look at a clance? We know it is possible to do so and what is wrong with saving us some time? Obviously, the church has this side by side comparison because they will notify us if we do not correct the problem.
2. Alan B. I read the article in wiki and it is very helpful. However, I still think it may be very hard, if not impossible, to find every problem. Here are some examples.

A. Case 1. Let's say the ward receives a check where the number is $200 all for tithing but the written amount is $210. The bank records $200. A year later as we are comparing the BSR and the DTR, how on earth are you going to find who's check it was? You would almost have to get a copy of all the checks for that day to find who wrote his check wrong? Correct? Actually this happened to me today with one ward. Luckily the ward clerk knew exactly the name of the member that had a problem that day. Otherwise, we would be sunk. What would you do if you could not identify the member?

B. Case 2. The mls deposit total is $3000. There are several coins and dollar bills. While loading the deposit pouch a dime rolls onto the floor and is not noticed. The BSR will say $3000 and the DTR will say $2999.90. How are you going to find who that 10 cents belonged to and how are you going to correct it?

C. Case 3. The ward clerk is entering the donations on the computer on a fast Sunday. He incorrectly enters a check amount for Sis. Jones under FO of $10 instead of $100. The counselor was not paying attention enough so he did not catch the error. The DTR for that day will show $6010 instead of $6100. How are you going to find where the error is and how are you going to correct it? The $90 off could be from any FO donation made that day. Again, is it a case that you have to request a copy of everyone's check to see if all entries were made correctly? What if it was one of many cash donations?

I am not trying to be difficult. Just want to be prepared.

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Postby jbh001 » Sun May 10, 2009 6:46 pm

stott wrote:Case 1. Let's say the ward receives a check where the number is $200 all for tithing but the written amount is $210. The bank records $200. A year later as we are comparing the BSR and the DTR, how on earth are you going to find who's check it was?
In our ward, that is fairly simple since we write the check number(s) (and amounts if there was more than one check with the slip) on the donation slip in red pencil (red so we know that it wasn't the donor that wrote on the slip). This makes it much simpler to go back through a batch and match check numbers to a particular donation slip. It has helped save us a lot of headache on several occasions.

Would that work for your Case # 1 and # 3 or did I miss something?

One way to reduce the problems of your case # 2 is to make sure the funds are properly recorded on the slip. Again, we will hand correct the slip with red pencil to reflect the actual breakdown of funds. For example, let's say you receive a donation totaling $15 in the form of a check for $10, $3 in bills and $2 in coin. Regardless of how the donor filled out the slip, we would hand-correct the totals at the bottom of the slip (in red pencil) so that it showed the following:

Check: $10
Currency: $3
Coin: $2

While that might not eliminate all problems, it does help reduce some of the guesswork when troubleshooting problems.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun May 10, 2009 8:11 pm

stott wrote:1. I agree with nobackyard. Why did they not just send us a side by side comparision of each ward so we could look at a clance? We know it is possible to do so and what is wrong with saving us some time? Obviously, the church has this side by side comparison because they will notify us if we do not correct the problem.


The side-by-side comparison helps with only one set of possible problems. The DTR-BSR reconciliation can find far more potential problems. So I'll agree that the out-of-balance report would be helpful, but it is by no means sufficient to help you find all possible problems.


stott wrote: 2. Alan B. I read the article in wiki and it is very helpful. However, I still think it may be very hard, if not impossible, to find every problem. Here are some examples.


I think you're confusing what the DTR-BSR reconciliation is supposed to accomplish. Every one of your examples should have been caught much earlier. Cases 1 & 2 would have been caught by the bank, which would result in the Church sending the ward a notice that the deposit was less than call. This would also show up on the bank statement for that month, and would have to be dealt with or you could not successfully reconcile the monthly statement. Case 3 would have been caught before you could even close the batch. Between the notifications from the Church, entries on the CUFS, and the monthly reconciliation process, all such issues should be found and fixed within a month at the longest. jbh001 gave some helpful advice in preventing and tracking down such issues.

But as I said, these kinds of issues are not what the Deposit Transaction Report reconciliation is for. The monthly reconciliation process already made sure that the Church's record of each donation batch matches the MLS records. But the Church's record of donation batches can change after the fact, because of adjustments that are later made to correct donation categories or to cancel donations. Similarly, some changes can also be made on the MLS side of things that may not be communicated to the Church or correctly processed by the Church and thus won't affect the Church's record of donation batches. The DTR helps make sure that these adjustments are all reconciled, and that they are also reflected in the Tithing Declaration Report. Every one of these adjustments will have an entry in MLS or on a CUFS, so they can absolutely be tracked down -- there is no guesswork as with the scenarios you proposed.

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Postby stott-p40 » Tue May 12, 2009 8:04 pm

Alan and jbh thanks for your input.
jbh- I agree that most problems will be avoided if certain steps are taken such as placing the check # on the donor slip and verifying amounts as you go. I am mainly talking about, as a stake clerk, going in cold to try and find the error when the BSR and the DTR are off.
In case 1, this problem can be eliminated if the counselor and the finance clerk review the donor slip and the checks including both the numerical and written amount of the check. If these numbers don't match, you stop there. But I as a stake clerk will not know if the numeral and written amounts of all the checks match on the problem day because we will not have the checks. Alan I don't think the bank will always catch these 2 amounts being off. Like I mentioned above I just had a ward have this problem and the only reason we knew what to do was because the fin. clerk remembered exactly what the problem was that day. If the bank always goes by the written amount on the check, they are not going to notify us if the numerical amount doesn't match. That is what happened in this ward, the bank recorded the written amount and the clerk recorded the numerical amount. Without the checks, how can we know this was the problem or whose check was it?
In case 2, Alan, let's say the church notifies us that we are 10 cents short for that day. How can we correct this? We don't know who's dime we lost. Do we randomly go into Suzie Smith's donation slip and subtract 10 cents? Or do we pull a dime out of our pocket and try to submit a late entry of 10 cents for the day last year in question?
Case 3, Alan, I agree that the check at the end of the donation entry process would say we are out of balance and we would have to back up and find the error. Again, it pays to have the 2 sets of required eyes verifying every step of the process to avoid errors.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue May 12, 2009 8:47 pm

stott wrote:I am mainly talking about, as a stake clerk, going in cold to try and find the error when the BSR and the DTR are off.


Although the cases you mentioned could indeed happen, I repeat that these should not ever persist to the point of the BSR-DTR reconciliation. Thus they really don't belong in this thread. Every one of these cases will result in the deposited amount not matching the transmitted batch total, which will always be flagged as an error on the Church Unit Financial Statement.

Such differences could only continue to be problems when the BSR is reconciled with the DTR if the ward financial clerk failed to reconcile the monthly statement, or "cheated" in his reconciliation and made adjustments for no reason other than to create a balance. Such problems should be found during the semiannual audit, with appropriate training to follow.

You're certainly correct in stating that following the companionship principle will be helpful in avoiding such problems.

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Postby atticusewig » Wed May 13, 2009 9:27 am

stott wrote:Alan and jbh thanks for your input.
If the bank always goes by the written amount on the check, they are not going to notify us if the numerical amount doesn't match. That is what happened in this ward, the bank recorded the written amount and the clerk recorded the numerical amount. Without the checks, how can we know this was the problem or whose check was it?


My solution to this problem would be to implement an overly
complex procedure for the wards to follow - Scan the checks.
Sure scanners are slow and expensive, but at least you would
be able to look at the checks. Of course a much simplier way
would be for the clerks to head on down to the library and
photocopy all the checks. Either way, precautions would need
to be made to completely obscure the MIRC line at the bottom
of the check. Wouldn't want there to be any chance that
routing and account numbers to be exposed to possible fraud.
Unfortunately, both methods significantly increase the time
needed to process donations, and my experience with bishopric
counselors regarding counting donations is that the faster the
process is over the happier they are -- especially on Fast
Sundays.

- Atticus Ewig

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Wed May 13, 2009 10:16 am

atticusewig wrote:My solution to this problem would be to implement an overly
complex procedure for the wards to follow - Scan the checks.
Sure scanners are slow and expensive, but at least you would
be able to look at the checks. Of course a much simplier way
would be for the clerks to head on down to the library and
photocopy all the checks. Either way, precautions would need
to be made to completely obscure the MIRC line at the bottom
of the check. Wouldn't want there to be any chance that
routing and account numbers to be exposed to possible fraud.
Unfortunately, both methods significantly increase the time
needed to process donations, and my experience with bishopric
counselors regarding counting donations is that the faster the
process is over the happier they are -- especially on Fast
Sundays.

- Atticus Ewig

I don't see the need to keep a copy of member's checks for deposit. Anytime I've had an issue with a batch, the bank has always provided me with the needed photocopies of the check(s) in question.
So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.


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