Budget:Distribution Center Charges

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churchdog
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Budget:Distribution Center Charges

Postby churchdog » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:05 pm

Has anyone figured out a way to deduct DC charges from the organization budget? IE, if the relief society orders something from the DC the charge goes into the subject subcategory, not the relief society budget.

I thought about doing a transfer from the organization to the DC Charges, but so far transfers have only made a mess! If you "budget" for the DC Charges the costs are covered, but the purchase is not deducted from the organization.

Perhaps there should be a way of tagging each DC Charge to a budgeted subcategory when it comes in?

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Postby allenjpl » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:48 pm

Short answer:

Go into Finances, then click on View/Edit Expenses. The DC charges will be listed. Select the charge, and change the Category from Budget: DC Charges to Budget:Young Women (or whatever.) Indicate the reason for the change. You're done.

Short Short answer: Check out these two threads.

https://tech.lds.org/forum/showthread.php?6813-Best-Practice-for-Distribution-Orders&highlight=distribution+center
https://tech.lds.org/forum/showthread.php?7095-Transferring-Distribution-Center-charges-to-proper-category-(MLS-3.3.1)

Welcome to the forums!

On a similar note, do you create a payment request form for DC orders so that you have the Bishop's approval on them? I do, and I was wondering if I was the only one.

davesudweeks
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Postby davesudweeks » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:20 am

We don't, but I think it is an outstanding idea. DC orders are a bit of a uncontrolled item now (before new.lds.org, organizations had to order through the Clerk because our bishop wouldn't let them have the ward account number - this gave me the opportunity to run everything by him before placing the order).

We use a form required by our Stake (so all the units use the same form) and I think I will speak with the Stake Clerk about this kind of a change to strengthen our adherance to church policies.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:24 am

allenjpl wrote:On a similar note, do you create a payment request form for DC orders so that you have the Bishop's approval on them? I do, and I was wondering if I was the only one.


I definitely do, and advise all our ward finance clerks to do the same, and train auditors to check for this. After all, the requirement is that every expense is approved by the bishop or stake president, not just those paid by check.
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Postby jdlessley » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:31 pm

aebrown wrote:I definitely do, and advise all our ward finance clerks to do the same, and train auditors to check for this. After all, the requirement is that every expense is approved by the bishop or stake president, not just those paid by check.
That begs the question, what do you do if the bishop does not approve the expense from the distribution center? The expense has already occurred and processed through the system. For the most part I can see this rarely happening - that is the bishop not approving the expense. The sequence of approval is out of normal order in respect to on-line distribution center orders. I guess anyone placing on-line distribution center orders could get a disbursement request approval before placing the order. The issue then would be making the order amount on the form match the actual debited amount that shows up on the UFS.
...Just some thoughts.

Our bishop is not concerned about auxiliary leaders placing distribution center orders. The expense currently remains in the Budget: DC Charges account. As the financial clerk, I then ensure the remaining documentation is completed - mostly after the fact.
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:53 pm

jdlessley wrote:That begs the question, what do you do if the bishop does not approve the expense from the distribution center? The expense has already occurred and processed through the system. For the most part I can see this rarely happening - that is the bishop not approving the expense. The sequence of approval is out of normal order in respect to on-line distribution center orders.


The vast majority of Budget expenses we pay are reimbursements to members (generally some sort of leader) who have already incurred an expense. Although the bishop or stake president usually approved the general activity, and he certainly approved the organization's annual budget, he rarely approves the specific expense ahead of time. In this regard, Distribution Center expenses are not very different. Yes, the expense has already hit the unit's account in the case of DC orders, but in both cases the expense has actually occurred and it's extremely unlikely that the unit leader will leave the member who incurred the expense on the hook to pay personally.

jdlessley wrote:Our bishop is not concerned about auxiliary leaders placing distribution center orders. The expense currently remains in the Budget: DC Charges account. As the financial clerk, I then ensure the remaining documentation is completed - mostly after the fact.


I've seen units charge DC orders to a specific organization, and I've seen others choose to leave them in a separate subcategory. Either way can work, but in both cases there needs to be proper budgeting and authorization (even if it is usually after the fact). The one challenge units face when they don't allocate DC charges to organizations is that those incurring the expenses are generally not managing that expense to a budget. If a YM president, for example, knows that his DC expense is going against his annual budget, he can manage that. But who is managing the shared DC Charges budget? I'm not implying that anyone would take advantage of the situation, but it's harder to manage to a budget in that scenario.
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ckmcdonald
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Postby ckmcdonald » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:55 pm

Every time I spout off my contradictory opinion in the forum here I later spend time repenting. I might be about to do that again... ;)

Over the past 2-3 weeks I have attended 4-5 meetings informing us there is a church-wide effort to off-load our Bishops. This seems to be a major initiative coming from CHQ lately.

In this thread I'm hearing that we should bother the Bishop for approval on every DC order. Something seems inconsistent in my mind. Of all the things that make sense to off-load from the Bishop, it seems most DC orders are prime candidates. I know the last thing our Bishop wants to be bothered with is approving routine and inconsequential DC orders.

In our ward, we require all DC orders to go through the Ward Clerk. I believe part of the WC's stewardship is to be the Bishop's eyes and make sure DC orders are appropriate. Occasionally, we'll get an unusual order request and the WC will discuss it with the Bishop before the order is made. This happens about once or twice a year. For all other DC orders we shelter the Bishop's priceless time, both before and after the order.

If policy does say that ALL expenditures (not just checks) must be approved by the Bishop prior to the disbursement, then we are in violation. If so, it would seem to me that a little application of common sense, delegation and spirit-of-the-law might be appropriately applied in this case - especially if we consider the effort to off-load our Bishops.

I also wonder if what I describe is even the unwritten intent - given there appears to be no audit checking for the Bishop's approval for DC expenses ... at least I've never been audited for such in the past 15 audits.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:21 pm

ckmcdonald wrote:I know the last thing our Bishop wants to be bothered with is approving routine and inconsequential DC orders.


I don't think the amount is the critical factor here. Many checks are much more routine than some DC orders. The policy is very simple, and makes no mention of anyone making a judgment as to what is routine or inconsequential.

But I really don't understand why this is such a big issue. If the financial clerk prepares the documentation well, it should take the bishop about 30 seconds to review the expense and sign it. In our stake we have about 10 such expenses per year; when I was a ward financial clerk we had 20-30 per year. I think even a very busy bishop can spare 15 minutes a year.

ckmcdonald wrote:If policy does say that ALL expenditures (not just checks) must be approved by the Bishop prior to the disbursement, then we are in violation. If so, it would seem to me that a little application of common sense, delegation and spirit-of-the-law might be appropriately applied in this case - especially if we consider the effort to off-load our Bishops.


The policy does say that expenditures (no qualifier on what kind) must be approved by the bishop or stake president. Where the letter of the law is so clear, I fail to see how the "spirit of the law" would be any different.

ckmcdonald wrote:I also wonder if what I describe is even the unwritten intent - given there appears to be no audit checking for the Bishop's approval for DC expenses ... at least I've never been audited for such in the past 15 audits.


That's definitely not the case. Although there is no explicit audit step for checking DC orders, nonetheless step 16 asks "Did the bishop approve all payments?" It doesn't qualify which kinds of payments. Furthermore, the worksheet associated with step 16 has a column for "check or document number." If only checks were to be checked, there would be no reason for that "or." If your auditors are skipping those expenses, then that is an indication that they were not trained properly or you just have been lucky (they do only sample a couple of payments per month, and DC orders are far less common than checks).
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churchdog
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Wow-Thanks!

Postby churchdog » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:08 pm

It's been a long time since I participated in a forum. I'd forgotten how questions grow a life of their own. I really appreciate the responses to my original question...and all the branches it's taken since. Lots of good thoughts;)

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ckmcdonald
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Postby ckmcdonald » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:40 pm

You build a pretty strong case Allen! :) I thought there for a minute I was going to have to go off and repent. But then I realized, if the WC does all the ordering and DC items need approved by the Bishop prior, it would be the WC's responsibility to get that approval.

The way things run in our ward now (and I suspect in most wards), this is something he can't delegate to me his assistant if he's doing the ordering. I have no control to enforce an approval as I seldom know there even was a DC order until well after the fact. I'll mention this to the WC and let him decide what to do about it.

One other question. What does "Bishop's Approval" mean? Does it mean he glanced at it, doesn't necessarily know if the expense is needed/appropriate but signs to take responsibility? Or, does it mean he understands clearly what the expense is for and knows that it is both needed and appropriate? If the latter, I disagree with a 30 second estimate.

I ask because our Bishop routinely takes several minutes looking over our check-based expenses and frequently asks questions such that he understands what he's signing for. Being a corporate executive, he takes his signature more serious than most. He would in general be much less familiar with DC orders (especially at first as he seldom sees any) and would surely take more than 30 seconds if we asked him to review them.

This thread makes me wonder how many wards always get the Bishop's approval for ALL expenses prior to disbursement? The 3 former wards I was a FC in didn't. We have some cleaning up to do. :)

Thanks for the feedback!


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