Reconciling other items

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
justincy
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Reconciling other items

Postby justincy » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:42 pm

The Reconciliation page for the Wiki says the following about Other Items:

Ideally, a clerk should enter automatic debits (i.e. Ward Missionary payments, Distribution Center charges) as Expenses and then check the Not a Check box.


Is that saying it is preferred to enter them in as expenses instead of as other items, or that we should do both?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:16 pm

Gustaf wrote:Is that saying it is preferred to enter them in as expenses instead of as other items, or that we should do both?


Definitely only enter such expenses once. Otherwise they will incorrectly be subtracted from your budget (or whatever category) twice. The advantage of entering them as expenses is that there is no possibility of confusion as to whether to enter them as positive or negative amounts, which is an error sometimes made by clerks who enter these expenses as Other Items during reconciliation.

But I know clerks who effectively enter these expenses as Other Items, too. In any case, pick a method and stick with it -- but don't enter any items twice!
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crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:56 am

Gustaf wrote:Is that saying it is preferred to enter them in as expenses instead of as other items, or that we should do both?


One or the other, as Alan_Brown said. The problem with entering them in the Other Item section of the reconcile is that they show up as transfers in the finances instead of expenses. It is much easier to find/review them if all your expenses just showed up in the view/update expenses screen. For that to happen, you much enter them as Expenses and check the "not a check" option.

As an aside, the Other Item section does serve one important purpose - it is the only location in MLS that you can enter credits, whether they be from returned items, voided checks from a previous year, etc.

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:38 am

crislapi wrote:As an aside, the Other Item section does serve one important purpose - it is the only location in MLS that you can enter credits, whether they be from returned items, voided checks from a previous year, etc.


The switch to CUBS has me wondering - any thought of where we will be able to add credits once we no longer reconcile?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:23 am

crislapi wrote:The switch to CUBS has me wondering - any thought of where we will be able to add credits once we no longer reconcile?


That's a good question. But I see no information in the meager documentation that gives even a hint as to the answer. For many such details, I guess we'll just have to go through the transition and then figure it out.
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gregwanderson
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Postby gregwanderson » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:44 pm

This is reminding me of the transition from FIS to MLS (which, for us, happened in November 2004). I knew exactly what was going on in our ward finances (and was all up-to-date in FIS before the transition) but I just didn't know how to please MLS at first. I wasn't trying to enter any false information or mis-manage ward funds in any way but MLS was still "slapping my hands" a lot. Don't try to argue with MLS because 1) it's in charge anyway, 2) it's extremely stubborn and 3) it'll win every time using the law of "because I said so." In 2004 I was convinced that FIS had been my tool but MLS was my master.

But then, once I learned the MLS way of doing things, it was okay. So I would suggest that the first month of CUBS will cause a lot of hair loss but, after that, it'll probably be okay. Dig into it as soon as you can. Then let's all come back here and share our "tips and tricks" right off the bat.

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gregwanderson
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Postby gregwanderson » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:54 pm

When we switched from FIS to MLS in 2004 I was frustrated at the way MLS would prevent me from editing "transfers." I still don't know why transfers are "set in stone" and whenever I help another clerk I'm at a loss to explain it. So I simply tell them "that's the way it is" and encourage them to create a "Not a check" expense whenever possible and avoid transfers whenever possible.

It's not that I intend to play with the numbers or enter any false data. It's just that, as a general rule, I prefer dealing with data that I can edit when I decide that editing is necessary.

bsoard
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Postby bsoard » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:30 pm

The word "other" seems to be a source of much confusion for clerks.
There are specific rules that apply to how the "other" category is to be used. Unit leaders often want to use the "other" category to store funds for various purposes which is okay as long as the funds are kept temporarily and used for a specified purpose. Although simple in theory the use of the other category can be confusing when funds are not disbursed promptly, clerks are released, and no one can quite remember why the subcategory containing the funds was created in the first place.
Add to the confustion by having "other items" in the reconciliation process and you have a recipe for disaster. Clerks become confused and frustrated which leads to unreconciled accounts.
That is why I stopped using the "Other Items" section in the reconciliation process and began entering all direct charges as non check expenses. The result is the same but the confustion is reduced or eliminated.


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