New Local Unit Financial Statement

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
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childsdj
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New Local Unit Financial Statement

Postby childsdj » Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:14 am

A new Church Financial Statement is being created to be used with a new backend system for local unit finances. We would like to see if any leaders or clerks have any input into this mock up of a new statement. Please add any constructive criticism or praise to this thread. The information in this is not real data. :)
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:46 am

DJC wrote:A new Church Financial Statement is being created to be used with a new backend system for local unit finances. We would like to see if any leaders or clerks have any input into this mock up of a new statement. Please add any constructive criticism or praise to this thread. The information in this is not real data. :)


Here are some initial reactions:

Positives:

  1. The beginning summary is wonderful. It makes it easy to see at a glance what happened in the month for reach category.
  2. The graphs showing trends are very helpful.

Negatives:

  1. The deposit summary is missing, which will make reconciliation of deposits much more difficult. On the old statement, you could easily see for each deposit the total for each category and the total deposit, so that during reconciliation you could check off each deposit. Instead, there is now just a total for each category for each deposit, but these are organized by category, not by date. So to check off a deposit in MLS during reconciliation, you have to sift through each one of the categories to find the deposit date you are trying to check off.
  2. There is no Outstanding Checks section (although there is one Action Item related to an outstanding check). That was really useful, so I would be sad to see it eliminated.

Questions:

  1. It appears that the Budget has a beginning balance. Is that because this sample statement represents an area of the world that does not use the Budget Allowance program? For units using Budget Allowance, the beginning and ending balance is always 0. Also, the Church has no idea what a ward's budget balance is, since that is administered at the stake level. Because of this, the Action Item for Overdrawn Budget Funds seemed unusual.
  2. I was surprised to see the detailed subcategories for Local Missionary, Budget, and Other. Currently the Church has no idea of what subcategories are involved in transactions -- those are only maintained in local MLS. Does this represent a change where a lot more detailed information will be transmitted to the Church from MLS?
  3. The missing weekly donation report reminder seems a bit heavy-handed. There are a variety of legitimate reasons why a weekly donation report may not be submitted (stake conference is an obvious one). Would simply checking off the check box in MLS that there was truly no financial activity that week eliminate that notice?
  4. Does JK Rowling know you are using the name "Neville Longbottom"? :D

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Postby Mikerowaved » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:09 am

I haven't gone into it fully yet, but a couple of things I noticed were...


  • Where's the monthly earned interest declared?
  • There are no reference numbers or even missionary names for the automatic transfers. How do you know who it's for?
  • I'm a little confused as to how the Budget can be non-zero.
  • The graphs are great. These are scaled down versions of what I send to my bishop each month. One additional I add is a monthly running YTD Fast Offering transfer total. If it's a negative number, the ward is contributing excess donations to CHQ. If it's positive, than the ward's Fast Offering expenses are greater than the donations it's receiving.
  • Overall, it seems pretty clear, but (how shall I put this?) kind of "wordy". For example, it takes 8 pages for your rather simple test data.
  • IMO, it appears finding information for reconciling would be harder than the existing statements, where you have summary info in the first few pages, then detailed info in the following pages. The summary info is all you need for a "normal" reconcile, and the detail pages are great if you are chasing down a problem.
I'll look at it in a little more detail when I have time.

Mike
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Postby MorettiDP » Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:22 pm

Question: This new Financial Statement will be released in a global release, or, to international areas MSR offices too???
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grmiles-p40
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Jordan oaks Stake said

Postby grmiles-p40 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:40 pm

[color=blue][font=Arial]Bro Bailey- This new report seems pretty straight forward,I had a guy in our office who is a ward clerk look at it, he said it looks fine.[/font][/color]

7th ward financial clerk said:

Bro. Sorensen-
[color=#1f497d][font=Calibri]I think it looks pretty good, it seems easier to read through and spacing is better.

One thing I would say though is that the balance details and graphs that are on pages 6-8 are really better for the clerk to go over with the bishop(ric) where the 1st 5 pages are for the account reconciliation. If they were separated into two different reports so that the clerk could go over the fund balances with the Bishop each month and use the other to reconcile the account, and then if the Bishop wanted to see that part at any time he could. It just seems like overkill to include the balance part of this report as part of the reconciliation (which HAS to stay with all of the financial papers as per audit instructions).

Just my thoughts.
[/font][/color]

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Postby dannykos » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:25 pm

not sure whether I like the Fast Offering expenditure vs income graph - as, there should be no correlation at all between how much is spent vs received. We've been specifically counselled NOT to let income dictate expenditure in this issue.

I would certainly benefit from an income only graph for Fast Offering though.

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Postby aebrown » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:32 pm

dannykos wrote:not sure whether I like the Fast Offering expenditure vs income graph - as, there should be no correlation at all between how much is spent vs received. We've been specifically counselled NOT to let income dictate expenditure in this issue.

I would certainly benefit from an income only graph for Fast Offering though.


I (and more importantly, my stake president) find both pieces of information to be very useful. Correlating the two figures is helpful and appropriate. One needn't assume that noting the relative values causes a priesthood leader "to let income dictate expenditure." Rather, it may be a motivation in some cases for an inspired priesthood leader to encourage some members to be more generous in their fast offering donations.

Even if you don't choose to note the relationship between the income and expenditure, it is clearly important to see both pieces of information, and showing them on the same graph is an efficient use of space. So I would definitely vote to leave the graph as is.

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Postby Mikerowaved » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:40 pm

dannykos wrote:not sure whether I like the Fast Offering expenditure vs income graph - as, there should be no correlation at all between how much is spent vs received. We've been specifically counselled NOT to let income dictate expenditure in this issue.

AFAIK, our bishop does NOT let fast offering income dictate expenditures, however, there have been occasions he has announced in priesthood meeting a temporary need for those who are able to be a bit more generous with their fast offerings.

The graph is not a big deal, as the YTD numbers are clearly printed in the statement. I offer it to him so he can easily see trends without having to dig through previous reports.

Further discussion on these lines should probably be moved to another thread.

EDIT: Thanks Alan, beat me to it. Pretty much echos my feelings.
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Postby dannykos » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:45 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:I (and more importantly, my stake president) find both pieces of information to be very useful. Correlating the two figures is helpful and appropriate… Even if you don't choose to note the relationship between the income and expenditure, it is clearly important to see both pieces of information, and showing them on the same graph is an efficient use of space. So I would definitely vote to leave the graph as is.


I can see how that could be useful from a Stake perspective, in terms of analysis, but from a Ward perspective, I just don't think it's important how much money I may have used for Fast Offerings. As each situation is dealt with on a case by case basis - Fast Offering expenditure history should have absolutely no bearing at all. I would suggest that there are probably differing needs in some instances on a Ward Financial Report compared to a Stake Report.

EDIT: Let's leave it there :)

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Postby lajackson » Tue Jul 21, 2009 5:55 pm

Specific comments generated from the sample report:

In the summary section, the local missionary fund shows a 900 transfer. Your example might want to use the number 800 (assuming 2 missionaries), unless you are about to announce a change in the equalized amount from $400 to $450. This sample report is probably not the place to make that announcement. (Nevermind. I see in the detail section that there are two 400 transfers and a 100 transfer.)

That brings up a new question: Why is $100 being transfered? Did the elder extend one week?

And another question: Which elder? With a number of missionaries beginning and ending their messions in a given month, it is important to know which missionaries are being charged to the ward so that any errors can be resolved easily.

(Another Nevermind. I see that the data under the Local Missionary chart shows the names of the two elders. As someone else has pointed out, I know Neville Longbottom, by the way. I suspect he is serving from one of the wards just northwest of London. [grin])

The income section reports a donation report not recorded by the bank. When a unit is on deposit concentration, do they actually contact the bank and ask if they got the deposit in the night drop? No one in any of our wards of branches has authority to contact the bank in any sort of official manner.

The Missing Local Unit Budget Allocation Qualification Requirements section reports that an Audit is missing. The unit has no control over any of the audits or their submission. Only the stake can do that. I suppose it is Ok to list it on the ward report, but all they can do is call the stake and ask about it. The stake has to take care of any action.

The Overdrawn Funds section lists the Budget as overdrawn for 2 months (352.00). If the transfers and sweeps are working properly, the ward Budget will never be overdrawn, at least as far as their Local Unit Checking Account is concerned.

In the Detail section a Budget Allocation: Q2 2009 of (800.00) is shown. Does this mean that stakes will begin allocating budget using MLS? While the stake budget allocation is based on the ward and branch statistics, the ward does not necessarily get all of the budget allocated to them, since the stake retains a part of the overall budget allocation to operate the stake.

In the Transfer section, I see a transfer from the stake to the ward. Is this a new feature that is coming in MLS?

In the YTD summary, there is a small entry for Local Missionary and Budget. Are these interest credits? Are they explained anywhere else?


General comments:

I find the overall report to be favorable, but have trouble finding all of the things needed to reconcile.

For example, there is no way to quickly check the total of a weekly deposit. The summary section and the detail section are broken out by specific category. To determine a deposit total (as required for each week by the audit process, for example) will require a manual adding up of all of the amounts from each deposit. I would anticipate complaints from the auditors. [grin]

I sense from this report that some of the information comes from the Budget section of the Ward MLS. Not all of our wards use this. If my perception is correct, we will need to enforce this feature if the Local Unit Reports are to be of benefit. Of course, having this information on the Report may also encourage the ward to keep it updated.

Unfortunately, we still have some "creative accounting" going on by our wards and branches in the Budget section of MLS. Perhaps this will put a stop to it. [grin]


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