CUBS Concerns

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
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mlh78
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CUBS Concerns

Postby mlh78 » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:38 am

I anxiously await having CUBS activated, but have a few questions that I wonder if anyone has thought about:

1. Will stakes be able to allocate a fixed dollar amount for budget funds or will they be stuck using the attendance figures? Attendance figures in our stake do not always represent actual budget needs for the units in our stake. In addition, we have already assigned an annual allocation to each ward in our stake and would like to stick with those amounts.

2. In my experience, most units use up a signficant portion of their annual budget by the end of summer due to camps, etc. Under the current system, this is not a problem as long as they stay within their budget allocation for the year. Under CUBS, this practice will cause them to go negative in their budget category until the 3rd or 4th quarter allocations are assigned to them.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:08 am

mlh78 wrote:1. Will stakes be able to allocate a fixed dollar amount for budget funds or will they be stuck using the attendance figures? Attendance figures in our stake do not always represent actual budget needs for the units in our stake. In addition, we have already assigned an annual allocation to each ward in our stake and would like to stick with those amounts.


The MLS finance transition wiki article (which is almost exactly the same as the MLS message sent over the weekend to stakes) says that stakes will manage the budget among the stake and wards "by assigning budget distribution percentages." So it doesn't sound like a fixed dollar amount will be an option.

The instructions say that there will be separate distribution percentages for sacrament meeting, YM, YW, Primary, and YSA. But it's not clear to me what those percentages will be based on. I could imagine that they are a percentage of the amount contributed by that ward's attendance numbers (e.g., this ward keeps 80% of their sac mtg attendance and 20% goes to the stake), or that it is a percentage of the total stake budget for each ward (e.g., Ward A gets 10%, Ward B gets 12%, stake gets 18%, etc.). My guess is that it is the latter, but the documentation is somewhat vague on this point. I'm sure it will all become clear when CUBS is activated. Perhaps someone from Canada (which has already switched over) can illuminate.

mlh78 wrote:2. In my experience, most units use up a signficant portion of their annual budget by the end of summer due to camps, etc. Under the current system, this is not a problem as long as they stay within their budget allocation for the year. Under CUBS, this practice will cause them to go negative in their budget category until the 3rd or 4th quarter allocations are assigned to them.


Currently, negative balances in a category don't get a lot of attention unless the whole ward account (Missionary + Other + Budget (now) ) has a negative balance. I've always assumed that there was a fair amount of leniency for temporary situations. I would assume that the same will be true in the future. Since allocations arrive at the beginning of the quarter, you should have 3/4 of the annual allocation by July 1, which I would think would cover expenses pretty well. There might be a temporary negative condition in August, but by the end of September, the final installment will be delivered.
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gpolson
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CUBS Missionary Subaccount Transfers?

Postby gpolson » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:28 am

The email and wiki details say the CUBS system will be setting up subaccounts for each missionary:

"Additionally, a subcategory for each missionary will be automatically set up in MLS for missionaries serving from the ward as indicated from the Missionary Department. Wards should not set them up manually. If donations for a particular missionary are received prior to having a subcategory for the missionary set up through the Missionary Department, the ward should record those donations in the Ward Missionary category. Such donations may be later transferred to the specific missionary's subcategory after it has been automatically set up."

I am a stake financial clerk with several units with missionaries out in various stages (some out a long time, one just left a couple days ago, etc). Most if not all of them, including the guy that just walked out the door already have subaccounts set up in their names. Are we supposed to get each unit to run transfers to push each missionary's funds to the top level Ward Missionary account, then locally run a paper ledger for each missionary until the church re-established their subaccounts and them transfer them back in? Or is that only to occur for those that just left and an account has not yet been setup? The wiki does not seem exactly clear, it just says do not manually create new ones. What about the existing ones? Is the subaccount set up by the missionary department spoken of in the wiki the one we will see in CUBS or are they just talking about the name line we see tagged to normal monthly $400 per month charges per missionary?

If we have to transferring the all existing missionary subaccounts it sounds pretty scary as we have over a dozen units spread over a several thousand square miles and some of them are struggling in the clerical area. The distances involved along with some units only being reachable on Sundays (only two Sundays left), makes it hard for us to run to each one of them and assist them each week until the subaccounts are established by CUBS or the Missionary Dept.

I fear if the struggling local units try to transfer the funds for individual missionary's to the top level account on their own we may not be able to properly account for those funds in the future because (1) They may lose the paper trail and forget how much money was in each subaccount, (2) They may transfer them to the wrong account, (3) They may not transfer them at all, (4) They may transfer them to some other account by mistake, (5) They may loose track of donations made to that missionary in the interim.

Even some of our larger, more trained staff units often struggle when the clerk sick, or is gone a few weeks on summer vacation.

My questions are:

1. Exactly what are we really supposed to do? (Transfer every missionary's funds to the top level Ward Missionary Account by August 15? Only move funds to top level for those who just left and have not yet been billed the first time by the church? Only deposit funds in the top level account for missionaries leaving after August 15th?)

2. Any tips for stakes in our situation (those with concerns about the ability of the local clerks to transfer the funds and properly account for them without a little help and oversight that is difficult for us to provide given the distances and timeline, and some language barriers)? Yes I know we can try to use the MLS email system, but the units that struggle are the same units that do not respond to MLS emails.

3. We have a few returned missionaries with a few bucks in their subaccount or a negative balance. I know the positives need transferred to the top level account. Are we supposed to do that with the negatives now too? Our local bishops are still visiting with some families about contributing the remaining funds to bring their returned missionary up to zero. Seemingly, CUBS would not be creating a subaccount for them.

4. We have some missionaries in the field whose families have moved into or out of our stake and their accounts are either negative here (on of our units is still being tagged for the monthly $$400 till we get it changed) or positive here (a unit in some other stake is still getting tagged for the monthly $400 till we get it changed). We understand how to change which unit should be billed the $400 charges, but are we supposed to move the subaccounts for missionaries whose family recently moved into or out of our stake and the wrong unit/stake is still being billed to the top level account too?

We are getting out and training and working with our clerks and will try to rise to the occasion, but we need to know a little more specifically what it is we are supposed to do so we do not create more confusion.

Thanks
chartman

gpolson
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CUBS Budget entered by when?

Postby gpolson » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:40 am

We understand the stake is to enter local unit budget allotments as a percentage of the stake allotment or as a percentage of the various categories.

Does that have to be done by August 15, by August 22, or just
whenever we get around to it?

We have traditionally entered the unit budgets as a fixed dollar amount and our Stake President would like to think about how best to replicate our current methods using the new system for a little while.

There also appears to be a bit of confusion about those percentages (do they mean a fixed percent of all funds the stake receives from that category OR do they mean that specific unit gets the fixed percentage back of their own contribution to that specific category).

For example if we put 10 percent in the Sacrament category for one unit do they get 10 percent of all funds the stake receives for sacrament attendance OR do they just get 10 percent of the funds back the stake will receive for their particular unit's contribution to the sacrament attendance portion of the quarterly allotment for the state and the stake gets the other 90 percent?

How long do we have?

And how is the percentage calculated?

Thanks
chartman

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:52 am

chartman wrote:Exactly what are we really supposed to do? (Transfer every missionary's funds to the top level Ward Missionary Account by August 15? Only move funds to top level for those who just left and have not yet been billed the first time by the church? Only deposit funds in the top level account for missionaries leaving after August 15th?)


I don't think we know yet exactly what we are supposed to do. You don't need to do anything on August 15 (except make sure you do a Send/Receive).

Although it's nice to be proactive, once we transition to CUBS, we will have time to actually use the system and figure out what we need to do. Nothing will have to be done the day CUBS is activated (except to do Send/Receive to get the new finance file down to our individual MLS installations).

My plan is to jump in as soon as I can see how MLS works with CUBS on August 22. Then I will create documentation that I will post on the wiki, and link to from here on the forum. I have to help the units in my stake anyway, so I'll share that info as a starting point for the community to work out these issues.
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:54 am

chartman wrote:Does that have to be done by August 15, by August 22, or just whenever we get around to it?


My guess is the answer is none of the above. You can't do it on August 15, you don't have to do it on the first day CUBS is active, but you'll need to do it sometime before the Q4 allocations are transferred.

We'll have to see exactly how the process for allocating from the stake to the wards works. But again, we should have some time to do this, and I'll create wiki articles and forum posts once I can actually see how it works.
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gpolson
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Postby gpolson » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:43 am

Thanks Alan for both your quick responses. The instructional MLS emails we received earlier seemed to indicate some level of urgency to get these steps done before the CUBS transition. Its great to hear we still have a little time to prepare for the storm.

chartman

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:00 pm

chartman wrote:The instructional MLS emails we received earlier seemed to indicate some level of urgency to get these steps done before the CUBS transition. Its great to hear we still have a little time to prepare for the storm.


The email dated 25 Jul 2010 said (my emphasis added):

The following instructions are to be used after being notified that the new Church Unit Banking System (CUBS) has been enabled.
And CUBS won't be enabled until August 22 for those units who received the recent announcement. So we do have a little time.
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jpapke-p40
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Why no official trainng?

Postby jpapke-p40 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:24 pm

I hopefully am not alone in my feelings of being in the dark on the whole CUBS transistion. I cannot help but notice the lack of training in any real form save for the rather terse messages received via MLS. Knowning how thorough the church is I can only assume that the new system is so easy to use that training is not required or it is totally transparent to the users and our finance clerks will just merrily go about their business as if nothing has happened.
Am I off base? Or will there be some more communication once our system is activated?

BTW our stake also got the notice of the "quiet period" of Aug 15-22.

-Jeff Papke
Stake Clerk

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:56 pm

jpapke wrote: I can only assume that the new system is so easy to use that training is not required or it is totally transparent to the users and our finance clerks will just merrily go about their business as if nothing has happened.


I think that's mostly the case. The bulk of everything we do in the finance area will be exactly the same. We'll still write checks and make deposits just like we always have. Tithing, Fast Offerings, and Other are completely unaffected. Ward Missionary gets easier because we don't have to enter in the expenses for each missionary each month, although we'll have to sort out the new categorization. The zero-based way of handling Budget funds goes away, and now Budget is handled more like Ward Missionary and Other. Reconciliation goes away.

The stake will have to figure out how to do the new allocations of Budget funds to the wards, but that should be fairly straightforward once we can see it. So although I'd love to know exactly how everything works ahead of time, I really don't think it will be very hard to adjust to when it arrives.

Watch this forum and related wiki pages that will be posted soon after the conversion, and we'll all help each other handle any issues that may arise.
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