Procedures for Counting Donations

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mlh78
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Procedures for Counting Donations

Postby mlh78 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:14 am

This came up in a recent audit of one of the wards in my Stake. A clerk and a bishopric member open and count donations. They then slide the slips over to another clerk who enters the donations in MLS. The auditor took the position - a reasonable one - that they were not following procedures because two people were not inputing the donations, as the instructions seem to require. What say ye?

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Postby jdlessley » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:32 pm

This is a tough one. The purpose for having two people process donations is to reduce the chance for error. There are two set of eyes looking at what is happening and two minds processing the activity.

What may be the cause for concern is that while the two are opening and counting the one entering data may make an error that nobody else can see or catch.

For this situation I would agree with the auditor.
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Postby nutterb » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:42 pm

As far as safeguarding the funds, I see no error in the three person system.

But it seems like a terrible waste of resources and time. You're using three people to do the job that two people could adequately do in nearly the same amount of time. I'd just as soon get the third person out of the way.

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:25 pm

jdlessley wrote:The purpose for having two people process donations is to reduce the chance for error.


I disagree. The primary purpose is to prevent even the appearance of someone pocketing some cash.

I'd suggest reviewing the training video.
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thedunsons
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my two cents

Postby thedunsons » Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:42 am

If anyone is addressing the "trust" issue, then you need five people. Two to always look at the money, two to always look at the computer, and a fifth to supervise. This is obviously ridiculous. Two people can get it done.

Any missing cash will be caught by bank personnel/machines counting the deposit. If you have two bad apples taking money and not entering it into the computer, I don't see how a third person would help. They would find a way to confuse and distract him if they so desired.

Remember before transmittal there is a re-verifying process of all cash amounts and check amounts/numbers? Based off of the member-submitted tithing slip, compared against actual amount enclosed, then entered into the computer. All captured with 2 (TWO, not three) electronic signatures and handwritten initials. Then signed by the clerk and reviewed and signed by the Bishop.

Remember, there is more than one right way to get most things done. Do as your local leaders and the Spirit direct you to do. Every Stake and Ward is different. However, what I take away from the training is that you must have TWO people present, at least one a member of the Bishopric.
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Postby kylems-p40 » Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:53 am

mhl78,

In reading about your situation, the first thing that I noticed is the error of having one clerk record the donations in MLS by himself. From the training, we learn: "The companionship principle requires two priesthood holders to be actively involved in opening the donation envelopes, counting the money, and recording the amounts [emphasis added] in the Church financial software. Having one person open envelopes and count money while the other person does something else is not adequate" (Processing Weekly Donations, slide 20).

Within the context of this posting, the error was not made by the two who opened and verified together. It was made by the one who recorded it into MLS by himself.

All of this aside, there also seems to be some discussion in the forum about having three people open together, count together, and record together. If I were asked my opinion, I'd recommend listening to your local leaders. They are more familiar with the details of the situation.

The general principles would dictate that exactly two do the work. I suggest this based upon the companionship principle balanced with a clerk's need-to-know. Obviously, just because a clerk has access to financial data, doesn't mean he should be exposed to them unnecessarily. However, as we all know, the Spirit (through the instrumentality of your local leaders) is the ultimate authority and can authorize any exceptions.

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Postby russellhltn » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:12 pm

relaxmosphere wrote:Remember before transmittal there is a re-verifying process of all cash amounts and check amounts/numbers?


Yes, but if I remember correctly, that only covers totals, not that the correct individual has been credited or the correct category.

As you say, there's more than one right way. That's why I suggested reviewing the training video to learn the principles from the primary source.
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Postby dshep2020 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:49 pm

While I agree that two people overseeing donations on MLS seems overboard, I have seen firsthand the advantage of the second set of eyes. Even the seasoned clerk or bishopric member can mistakenly enter a donation under the wrong category. The balance remains the same, but it is recorded improperly if not caught. Not a huge issue. It usually is corrected during tithing settlement, but I do see the wisdom of the extra care when recording.

IMO, three or more people complicates the counting procedure, especially if you share a clerks office with another ward! Too many distractions. As stated before, your priesthood authority should be consulted on how exactly to carry out this activity.

Review the training, work with your stake and ward leadership and define a process that is simple and straight forward so that it isn't deviated when other persons participate in the donation processing. A process that is organized and repeatable, regardless of who participates, will catch errors, becomes efficient with practice and experience and accomplishes this important responsibility.

That is my advice and it has worked for 5+ years!

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Postby Mikerowaved » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:47 pm

dshep2020 wrote:Even the seasoned clerk or bishopric member can mistakenly enter a donation under the wrong category.

Yep, or sometimes under the wrong name. We have a very nice gentleman in our ward whose last name begins with "A" and alphabetically he is the very 1st name on the donor list. Nearly every year he would come to us with his donation summary statement in hand pointing to odd donations that he didn't recognize. We discovered if a clerk was not careful in selecting a donor, his name would show up as the default.

With another set of eyes, the likelihood of this happening would be greatly reduced.
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A simple two-minute check that cuts down the "credited to the wrong person" errors

Postby GeeGL » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:53 pm

After we enter donations, and before we go through the step that involves checking the checks entered and amounts, we go through every donation slip and verify that the name on the slip matches the name on the donation entry. It is a simple check. One person reads the names on the donation slips in order while the other reviews the donation entries in the open batch. It only takes a minute or two to go through all of the slips.

Before we implemented this check we regulary had problems with donations credited to a member with the same last name or even to the children. Since we added that two-minute check it is very rare for us to have problems at the end of the year.

-Greg Gee
Provo, UT


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