Fasting Offering Ending Balance

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
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nbflint
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Fasting Offering Ending Balance

Postby nbflint » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:54 am

I am a Ward Clerk and have just accepted that the Fast Offering balance on the Unit Financial Statement is (usually) 0 due to the transfers. My Bishop has asked me to explain why. I have no idea.

I get why negative balances are transferred, to ensure funds are available to meet obligations. Why are positive balances transferred?

Specifically, my Bishop wants to know what the balance of our Fast Offering fund is. Do I tell him it is 0 or do I total all of our income/expenses from the inception of the ward and give him that number?

Could someone please help me understand the why the transfers occur to the Fast Offering fund so I can explain it to my bishop?

Thank you.


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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:14 am

nbflint wrote:I am a Ward Clerk and have just accepted that the Fast Offering balance on the Unit Financial Statement is (usually) 0 due to the transfers. My Bishop has asked me to explain why.


Many years ago, surplus fast offering funds were retained in wards and stakes for the needs of the members in the local area. But for the last several years, Church Headquarters has immediately taken all fast offering deposits and immediately reimbursed all fast offering expenses. This enables the Church to move fast offering funds instantly to where they are needed, rather than having unused funds sitting in many unit accounts around the world. It's simply a matter of efficiency.

If you are interested in how your unit's fast offering donations compare with your expenditures over time, you can extract those two totals from each month's Unit Financial Statement and put them in a spreadsheet. I do that for all the wards in our stake (I am a stake financial clerk) so that I can show our stake president the trends of donations and expenses for each ward.

Although it can certainly be informative for a bishop to be aware of the relationship between fast offering donations and expenses, note that the amount of donations in a particular ward should not affect the way that the bishop chooses to provide assistance to the needy. Presiding Bishop H. David Burton said "There is no requirement, however, that fast-offering expenditures within the ward and stake remain in balance with fast-offering contributions" (Basic Principles of Welfare and Self-Reliance).
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jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:32 am

The resources from unit fast offering contributions are transferred to one account at CHQ and then made available as needed across the Church. This pooling of resources enables contributions to be distributed as needed. This allows more wealthy communities to help support those less fortunate. It also relieves the burden from those units in areas where there is more need than there are contributions. Without this pooling some units would be limited in the welfare support that could be provided if only the contributions from within their unit were available.

Take a look at the wiki article Fast offeringfor some information on reports available. Using the reports available in MLS bishops and stake presidents can view the welfare status in contributions and disbursements for their units.
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Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

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nbflint
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Postby nbflint » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:34 am

Perfect. I think both my Bishop and I have been stuck in the paradigm of a local balance account with overdraft protection. Your explanation makes sense and should prove helpful.

Thank you.


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Postby daveywest » Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:54 pm

For a quick review of your unit's Fast Offering expenditures compared to income, you can review your year-to-date income and expense report. A positive intake will appear as a negative amount in the transfers column, while a positive amount reflects additional needs beyond local donations.

When advising new Bishops who have similar questions, I (and my stake president) remind them they have been given the priesthood keys of discernment for their unit. I also remind them of the relative wealth members in the U.S. enjoy and gently suggest generous donations may be an excellent subject for a sacrament meeting or 5th Sunday lesson where there seems to be a shortage of donations.
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jonesrk
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Postby jonesrk » Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:18 pm

Also the Unit Financial Statement has a chart (started on the May Statement) on the last page showing the Fast Offerings income/expenses for the year.
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tysonkearns
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Postby tysonkearns » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:05 pm

aebrown wrote:If you are interested in how your unit's fast offering donations compare with your expenditures over time, you can extract those two totals from each month's Unit Financial Statement and put them in a spreadsheet. I do that for all the wards in our stake (I am a stake financial clerk) so that I can show our stake president the trends of donations and expenses for each ward.


aebrown - Do you have a spreadsheet template or something else that can help me get started on tracking this information? I am also the stake financial clerk and would like to do a better job at analyzing trends for the stake presidency. Are there any other trends that you suggest I track and analyze? Thanks for the help in advance.

SNRote
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Postby SNRote » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:25 pm

Wouldn't a conference call be beneficial for all the Ward Clerks? Like a training session or Q & A session? I am not responsible for this duty but my good friend is and I know he has some similar concerns and stresses. Sharing spreadsheets, tips, etc. would be extremely beneficial or simply streamlining the way these reports and financial statements are handled in all Wards.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:28 pm

SNRote wrote:Wouldn't a conference call be beneficial for all the Ward Clerks? Like a training session or Q & A session? I am not responsible for this duty but my good friend is and I know he has some similar concerns and stresses. Sharing spreadsheets, tips, etc. would be extremely beneficial or simply streamlining the way these reports and financial statements are handled in all Wards.


I don't think a conference call is particularly practical, given that there are 20,000+ ward clerks. I think this forum serves that need pretty well, with much simpler logistics for connecting up and sharing ideas.
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