Other Account Balances Way Off - How to Fix?

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boofuss60
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Other Account Balances Way Off - How to Fix?

Postby boofuss60 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:52 pm

When I try to deactivate some Other accounts, MLS says I can't because there is a balance -- it shows me the number. This same number shows up in my Income and Expense Detail Report by Category report. But the numbers are apparently come from some ancient time period (the ancient Church?). I don't know.

I was zeroed out on all these categories at the start of 2010, but the report above shows a starting balance. My monthly statements agree with my correct numbers, but not what MLS is showing.

How to fix? Thanks!

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:24 am

boofuss60 wrote:When I try to deactivate some Other accounts, MLS says I can't because there is a balance -- it shows me the number. This same number shows up in my Income and Expense Detail Report by Category report. But the numbers are apparently come from some ancient time period (the ancient Church?). I don't know.

I was zeroed out on all these categories at the start of 2010, but the report above shows a starting balance. My monthly statements agree with my correct numbers, but not what MLS is showing.

How to fix? Thanks!

If you zeroed these out at the start of 2010, then you have not properly completed the CUBS conversion instructions. All your expenses (both from Budget and Other) got reclassified with the conversion to CUBS. However, income did not. Therefore, all the expenses that zeroed out your Other subcategories got moved while the income did not. The instructions that came with CUBS instructed us to use transfers to move the income from the old subcategories to the major category (in Other, this is Other: Authorized Member Financed Activities). This would have been done at the end of 2010 (specifically end of October).

The ending balance of your category must be zero before you can inactivate it. Backdate your transfers to at least 19 Oct 2010.

Final thought - there is a bug that may also be affecting your CUBS balance. Once you've transferred all the income, run an I&E from 1 Jan 2010 to 20 Oct 2010. Note your total remaining balance. Compare this with the Net Funds Available balance on your 1 Oct - 19 Oct 2010 statement. If your MLS balance is more negative than the statement balance, you are likely affected by the bug. There is nothing you can do to correct this. Just make note of the difference.

Arthur
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Postby Arthur » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:35 am

I see this same issue. I think it's an artifact of the CUBS transition and not a bug in MLS, but it is a frustrating problem for unit administration. It seems that this only affects long-lived categories (longer than the record retention period). Here's what I think has happened:

  • All of the expenses from all sub-categories were "rolled up" into the top-level category while the incomes remained in the sub-categories. (Why?? This part has never made sense to me, but I trust there is some good reason...)
  • CUBS transition instructions had us do one-time transfers after 24Oct2010 to put the sub-category balances back to their pre-CUBS levels.
  • Jan2011 rolls around and a year's worth of data drops out of MLS (record retention policy, I guess) which results in:
    • 1 year of expense data dropping from top-level category
    • 1 year of income data dropping from sub-categories
Normally, this income/expense data would have dropped out of the same category and the ending balance for the category would have remained the same. As it is now, the top-level category is falsely positive while the sub-categories are falsely negative, but the final balance for all categories is correct and still matches the unit financial statement. However, for unit administration they know they have a certain amount of money (from the all-category balance), but they don't know which category has how much money.

I have spoken with MLS support about this:

  • This understanding/explanation seems accurate.
  • This can be fixed by additional transfers from top-level category to sub-categories.
  • This should not happen next year. (I'm still skeptical.)
  • Of course, this can be prevented by not having long-lived categories. I advise my units that this is the best way to handle other (or AMFA) categories, but I also asked MLS support if it was wrong to have long-lived AMFA categories and was told that it is ok to do this way in some situations.
In the situations I've seen so far, I think the easiest way to fix this is to stop using the old AMFA categories and create new ones by transferring appropriate balances - then remember to ignore the old categories from here on out (including the top-level category). In a few years, the CUBS transition transfers should also drop out of MLS, and all this can finally be forgotten. I think it's also good practice to avoid long-lived AMFA categories when possible.

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:45 am

Arthur wrote:In a few years, the CUBS transition transfers should also drop out of MLS, and all this can finally be forgotten. I think it's also good practice to avoid long-lived AMFA categories when possible.

This was in fact what was causing my problem and the reason I do think it is an MLS bug. At the beginning of 2011, my expense information for 2007 was removed from MLS. However, the transfers I had made per CUBS instruction were all dated in 2010. MLS incorrectly computed a carryforward balance for 2007, which caused my categories to suddenly have balances again equal to the 2007 amounts. Had it correctly computed the balance forward, this would not have happened. So unless this bug has been fixed, this same error will occur every single year unless care is taken to date the transfers to match the year of the expenses/income it is acting on.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:05 am

Arthur wrote:All of the expenses from all sub-categories were "rolled up" into the top-level category while the incomes remained in the sub-categories. (Why?? This part has never made sense to me, but I trust there is some good reason...)


That's not really what happened, although I know that it appeared that way. What really happened is that CHQ took its record of all the transactions and sent them back to MLS, replacing the existing transactions. But CHQ only knew the major category and had no knowledge of the subcategories for any transactions (except for income transactions, which is why we ended up with subcategories of Budget Allocations that had only income transactions in them), so they could only lump all the transactions into one subcategory of the major category.

I would have preferred a more nuanced merging of CHQ data with local MLS data instead of a wholesale replacement, but it would have been challenging to reliably link each MLS transaction with a CHQ transaction, so that would have been a lot of work and might not have had better results, anyway. In any case, it's all in the past now.

Arthur wrote:Of course, this can be prevented by not having long-lived categories. I advise my units that this is the best way to handle other (or AMFA) categories, but I also asked MLS support if it was wrong to have long-lived AMFA categories and was told that it is ok to do this way in some situations.


We have had long-lived Other categories for years, and never had a problem. As the year closed out, the transactions of the year being deleted were added up and the subcategory beginning balance adjusted accordingly. That's a very straightforward process, and it has always worked just fine in every subcategory I have ever examined. At least that was the case until the transition into 2011, when there were definitely some problems. Those problems should be addressed, but I don't see any reason why that MLS bug should change practices.

The problem is not with long-lived Other categories per se, but rather with any subcategory that has transactions that span a year boundary. It could be a subcategory that has two transactions in it, one on December 28 and another on January 2. The entire life span could be less than a week and still have this problem.
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RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:05 am

crislapi wrote:This was in fact what was causing my problem and the reason I do think it is an MLS bug. At the beginning of 2011, my expense information for 2007 was removed from MLS. However, the transfers I had made per CUBS instruction were all dated in 2010. MLS incorrectly computed a carryforward balance for 2007, which caused my categories to suddenly have balances again equal to the 2007 amounts. Had it correctly computed the balance forward, this would not have happened. So unless this bug has been fixed, this same error will occur every single year unless care is taken to date the transfers to match the year of the expenses/income it is acting on.


We followed the CUBS transition instructions last October, and the post-CUBS Other totals did not match the pre-CUBS totals. We meticulously compared all the 2010 YTD transactions from the printout, and it was apparent that many of them had been mishandled in the data conversion. These items included transfers that had occurred when expenses were recategorized, as well as some voided checks. Similar errors also probably occurred in prior years, but we have no record of that to compare. Of course, the pre-CUBS records are all gone.

When I called support in late October, they acknowledged that there was a bug, not in MLS itself but in the data conversion that repopulated the financial database in a post-CUBS format. We were promised that there would be a remedial data load to correct this bug. A few week later, on another call, I was told that was not ready yet. Now, almost five months later, I still don't think it has happened, and I expect to spend tomorrow verifying this again so our stake clerk can escalate the conversation. In addition to the faulty totals, the monthly statement now spews out pages of bogus "action items" that are mostly an artifact of the bug-infected data.

CUBS is a four-letter word. Enough said.

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Postby lajackson » Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:04 pm

RossEvans wrote:In addition to the faulty totals, the monthly statement now spews out pages of bogus "action items" that are mostly an artifact of the bug-infected data.


The auditors have noticed this are are having a wonderful time with their audit reports. When the audits start returning to CHQ later this month, there will be even more attention on the matter. Although we all recognize that we cannot hold CHQ to a 30-day fix. [grin]

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Postby jdlessley » Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:30 pm

RossEvans wrote:Of course, the pre-CUBS records are all gone.
This is true for some units but not for all. I say this because you have access to this data if you have a pre-CUBS MLS backup and the MLS installer version from which the backup was created, or an MLS installer version that is compatible with the backup. By installing the MLS version that created the pre-CUBS backup I can view the financial situation that existed pre-CUBS.
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