CUBS - lessons learned and critique

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
jim.knox
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CUBS - lessons learned and critique

Postby jim.knox » Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:33 am

I am STS of Macon Georgia Stake. I have been a software programmer/analyst/engineer for almost 40 years. I started as an applications programmer using Cobol and RPG. I now work as a defense contractor putting together Air Force trainers and simulators using C++.

I have been in different stake and ward clerk positions for over 30 years.

I have a group of very upset unit financial clerks. The "training' for CUBS consisted of two MLS messages dated 08OCT(Friday). Because stake presidency meeting is Wednesday evening, I didn't see them until 13OCT. Access to financial information was cut off at 11:59PM on 17OCT. If an email had been sent to the stake clerk stating that 2 time critical MLS messages were available, I would have had more time to react.

From my past experiences, I knew CUBS was not going to be a smooth and uneventful switch. On 17OCT I went around to my various units and copied the 17OCT MLS backups to a flash drive. I have had to visit all my units in a single trip a few times before, so I now have my itinerary down to 5 hours of travel time. If I had not created a stand-alone system with 17OCT data, many of my units would be left high and dry because they did not print the required reports. Also this stand-alone laptop can be used to help resolve conversion problems. Many thanks to LDSTech Forum members for explaining how to do that - even though LUS refused to provide that information and said I should not do that.

A 30 min financial training satellite broadcast or webcast would have prevented a lot of frustration and confusion. The program should have consisted of a short explanation of how the CUBS will work, how the conversion amounts were accumulated, and an example of how to adjust a category using the transfer function. Instead I have spent 3 days talking
to various LUS people and trolling the LDSTech forums. Once I learned the information listed below, rereading the 2 MLS messages made more sense and I could understand what was being done.

1. The financial clerk job now consists of making deposits and writing checks. Reconciliation of CUFS has been removed. All corrections will be done at CHQ. CUFS has been replaced with a status report.

2. There is now a single set of accounts controlled by CHQ. Local sub-sub-categories may be created, but their existance is not known to CHQ.

3. The swept accounts (tithing, fast offering, etc) information is sent to CHQ on the first transmission. A second transmission will clear those accounts.

4. On 24OCT, budget accounts must start at zero. Use the transfer function to move amounts until that happens. Any income entries since 2007 remain with the subcategories, and any expense entries are combined in Budget:Budget Administration. Budget will now be real money to be watched over, and end of year balances will carry over to the next year. The stake will determine amounts by percentages, and money will be sent to each unit in Budget:Budget Allocations via MLS. If a unit wants to track budget at a finer level, the amounts must be transferred to the appropriate subcategories each quarter. The initial budget allocation will be a check from the stake for any remaining 2010 allocation and will be deposited into Budgt:Budget Allocations.

5. On 24OCT Ward missionary must be balanced. Missionary Department will now send information so that MLS will create a separate subcategory for each single missionary from the ward. MLS will automatically deduct monthly expenses from those accounts.

6. On 24OCt, Other accounts must be reconciled with the 17OCT Income and Expense report. Any unused Other accounts have been deleted. Any income entries since 2007 remain with the subcategories, and any expense entries are combined in Other:Payable to Local Unit. Transfers must be done to bring subcategory account balances back to 17OCT amounts.

7. A backup reminder is no longer displayed when exiting MLS. The clerks must now remember to use File->Backup to a file. Stake guidelines of keeping a backup on removable storage locked in the file cabinet, and taking a copy home for off-site protection continue. Since all data is now a reflection of what is maintained at CHQ, a financial refresh can be requested but any local additions will be lost.

8. MLS donation records will now contain only the name the record is linked to in membership. Husband and wife names will no longer be used for a single record.

9. Other instructions and clarifications will be forth coming as needed.
James Knox
Stake Technology Specialist
Macon Georgia Stake

jonesrk
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Postby jonesrk » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:51 am

knoxj wrote:8. MLS donation records will now contain only the name the record is linked to in membership. Husband and wife names will no longer be used for a single record.


It appears that you can still set the name to be a husband and wife, but they have all been reset to match the member to whom they were linked (see this post).
Ryan Jones
CDOL Developer
Stake Technology Specialist - Software / Stake Assistant Clerk
Former Ward Clerk

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childsdj
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Postby childsdj » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:51 am

I think it is important to understand that every effort is made to communicate or train. Sometimes our hands are tied as to what we can do both technically and ecclesiastically. I agree that more training would have helped most clerks.

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mfmohlma
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Postby mfmohlma » Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:47 pm

Before I say what I want to say, I'd just like to mention that this:

knoxj wrote:7. A backup reminder is no longer displayed when exiting MLS. The clerks must now remember to use File->Backup to a file.


seems to be a bug. It's likely to be fixed in a subsequent release.

Bro. Knox, thank you for joining the forum. Your list of information is very good and will likely help those who come after you seeking information. Many of us share your frustration that some things caught us off guard, but as DJC stated, there may be many more facets to the decision and timing than we can see. I'm positive that the disappointment we have all felt with this change has been felt by those who implemented it. No good programmer wants to make his users mad. :D

Having said that, I thank you again for your contribution. Please stick around and see if you can volunteer to help on the many projects here. As a "hardware guy" I've so far been unable to do much but post in these forums, but a seasoned programmer would likely be very valuable. In the end, we'll all get through this together. Imagine what a change like this would have been like before this forum existed. :eek:

waynecooke
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Postby waynecooke » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:39 pm

knoxj. I also want to thank you for your concise explanation. I just hope it is not copyrighted, because I am going to copy it and take it in so all the clerks can see it and, I am sure, understand this conversion much better. Thanks again.:D

jim.knox
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Postby jim.knox » Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:39 pm

CUBS - lessons learned and critique - part B

1. As far as I can determine, here is how the numbers came to be :

a. Budget
Any MLS budget categories with any income entries since 31DEC2006 were
renamed to Budget:Budget Allocations:<subcategory>. These are temporary
categories to zero out during CUBS post conversion and should not be used.
All other MLS budget categories were deleted.

Income entries stayed with the subcategory.

Expense entries and income transfer entries were put in Budget:Administration.
If there are no problems, this category balance should be zero.

Expense transfer entries were put in Budget:Budget Allocations.

b. Other

Any MLS Other categories with any entries were renamed Other:Payable to
Local Unit:<subcategory>. All other MLS Other categories were deleted.

Expense entries and transfer entries were put in Other:Payable to Local
Unit.

Income entries stayed with the subcategory.

2. After reviewing some of my units reports, I was trying to come up with a
method that would allow repeated correction cycles. It dawned on me that
keeping a static date when all corrections are entered would allow the multiple
cycles to occur and also allow MLS to process donation batches and checks
without interfering with the corrections.

One workaround I have come up with to deal with 24OCT and later data :
For post CUBS conversion Income and Expense report before additional
financial transactions are entered - select summary by subcategory - select
date range All - then select date range custom and set ending date to 23OCT
- select all categories. This will get you back to the Income and Expense report
you were supposed to print on 24OCT. If you then enter all your transfers to
adjust the various categories with date of 23OCT, you can keep coming back
to that setup until the adjustments are complete. If you have already
entered transfers, you'll have to make adjustments on a paper report to remove
any donation batches or checks or SLC entries.

I have found out that Budget transfers should use the Income column rather
than the Balance column on the Income and Expense report. The sum of
Income in Budget:Budget Allocations:<subcategory> (positive amount)
should add up to the negative balance in Budget:Budgat Allocations.
A few of you will end up with a negative balance for a subcategory, and I'm
still trying to find out why.
James Knox
Stake Technology Specialist
Macon Georgia Stake

jbh001
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Postby jbh001 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:35 pm

knoxj wrote:If you then enter all your transfers to adjust the various categories with date of 23OCT, you can keep coming back to that setup until the adjustments are complete.
It recommend using a date of 18OCT, since it is possible for some units to have had Distribution Center or other charges posted after 17OCT but before 24OCT.

jim.knox
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:32 am
Location: Warner Robins, GA

access to 17OCT MLS backup

Postby jim.knox » Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:41 am

Through the years of trolling the LDSTech Forums, I have come to respect Alan_Brown's comments. I would follow his suggestion of using MLS 3.2.3 and see what happens. If it works for you, you're home free. If you have problems, post a "return and report" status

In my case, I tried MLS 3.2.3 and was stilled locked out of financial access, even though the date was past 24OCT. I didn't think of trying 3.2.3 with 17OCT. I was desparate so I simply started using earlier versions. I didn't know at the time that the lockout was date related. Alan_Brown says that using MLS 3.2.3 with a date of 17OCT will allow access to pre-CUBS 17OCT MLS backup.

If you have problems with 3.2.3, I would be willing to post 3.2.1, but the size may preclude that option.

Good luck.
James Knox
Stake Technology Specialist
Macon Georgia Stake


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