Filing Best Practices

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
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mlh78
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Filing Best Practices

Postby mlh78 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:28 pm

I am always interested in hearing how other stakes file their financial records. For each month, I have a sturdy file folder with clasps on the top of both sides when opened. On the right, I attach expense batches (report, followed by, for each expense, check stub, reimbursement form, and receipt). On the left, I attach the consolidated financial statement, followed by deposit batches, and then, on top, the Unit Financial Statement. I then have a single folder for the year in which I place everything else that might be worth saving.

I would sure like to hear about others' systems.

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wrigjef
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Postby wrigjef » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:53 pm

In a ward we used an envelope filing system. We had a #10 envelope labeled (Batch/Date) for every week of the year then we had other #10 envelopes labeled (Expenses/Month) for each month. Each week we would just pull out the labeled Batch envelope and put tithing receipts and other batch paperwork in there. Our reimbursement requests were third of a page, check size, so when reciepts were attached, they could be folded and stuffed nicely into an envelope. all the envelopes could be stored nice and neat vertically across the width of a file cabnet drawer. In addition we just had hanging folders for monthly statements and any other records. In the stake we use full size reimbursement request forms and have no batches so I just have hanging file folder folders for each months expenses, then one for deposits, monthly statements and then audit records and such.

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:02 pm

wrigjef wrote:In a ward we used an envelope filing system. We had a #10 envelope labeled (Batch/Date) for every week of the year then we had other #10 envelopes labeled (Expenses/Month) for each month. Each week we would just pull out the labeled Batch envelope and put tithing receipts and other batch paperwork in there.


When I was a clerk, we used the envelopes (usually the ones left over from the last change in bishops) for the donations, but used monthly folders for the expenses.

Then once we closed out the year (tithing reports turned in, etc) we'd toss everything into a tithing envelope box, label it and put a "destroy on" date on the side. (And destroy the appropriate box from storage).

The goal is simple to file and simple to find. Not necessarily super organized. The computer is the source of most of the reports. The paperwork is there for audits and to support what was entered into the computer.
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crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:19 pm

As an auditor, I have a growing dislike of the envelope system for expenses. The system that seem to provide me the quickest and easiest access to their finances is a folder containing all the UFS in order, another containing the CFS, another for expenses from Jan-Jun and another for Jul-Dec. For expenses, the expense report is on top with all paperwork for the checks on the report stapled beneath in order. The expenses are filed in order in the corresponding folder. A separate folder for transmission reports.

When I come to audit, I grab the 6 UFS and the appropriate expense folder. If everything has been filed correctly, the expenses are a breeze to find and audit without having to dig through multiple folders. Refiling is also simple - close the folder and hang it back in the drawer in the correct spot.

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Postby aebrown » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:45 pm

crislapi wrote:As an auditor, I have a growing dislike of the envelope system for expenses. The system that seem to provide me the quickest and easiest access to their finances is a folder containing all the UFS in order, another containing the CFS, another for expenses from Jan-Jun and another for Jul-Sep. For expenses, the expense report is on top with all paperwork for the checks on the report stapled beneath in order. The expenses are filed in order in the corresponding folder. A separate folder for transmission reports.

When I come to audit, I grab the 6 UFS and the appropriate expense folder. If everything has been filed correctly, the expenses are a breeze to find and audit without having to dig through multiple folders. Refiling is also simple - close the folder and hang it back in the drawer in the correct spot.


That's very close to the system I use in my stake, for all the same reasons. So much of the audit uses the Unit Financial Statements as the starting point that it is very handy to have them in a separate folder.

But our second expense folder goes all the way to Dec -- we don't just do Jul-Sep and take the rest of the year off, as you apparently do :) (sorry for the joke about your typo, but I couldn't resist).
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Postby davesudweeks » Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:06 pm

We follow a similar system as instructed by our Stake. There is a hanging folder for each month of the year. Inside the hanging folder, there is a manilla folder for each week (deposits) and a single folder for the month's Expenses. I put the UFS and the verified Bishop's Storehouse orders in front of the manilla folders for each month.

A prior clerk took to stapling each weekly deposit paperwork together (used to be a challenge for packet size but after 2 boundary changes we don't have that problem anymore). I don't like that as well because the Auditor makes us un-staple it for him, but it helps keep everything together (and my financial clerk is fine with it so it is not worth rocking the boat to me). Some wards in our stake put the deposit slips in an old tithing envelope to hold them together.

For Expenses, we staple the receipt behind the Reimbursement request form and the check stub in front. As mentioned in another post, I recently began grouping the reimbursement paperwork with each Expense report that the Bishop signs because we were always having to paw through the paperwork to match them up for the auditor. So now, for every batch of checks cut, the Expense Report is attached to (and filed with) all the expense information listed on the report.

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Postby aclawson » Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:46 pm

Based on the retention policies it looks like it would be convenient to file the year end contribution reports separately from everything else since those must be kept for 5 years and everything else for only 3. Two envelopes banded together should do the trick.

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Postby jdlessley » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:08 pm

aclawson wrote:Based on the retention policies it looks like it would be convenient to file the year end contribution reports separately from everything else since those must be kept for 5 years and everything else for only 3. Two envelopes banded together should do the trick.
For the US, all financial data is only required to be retained for three (3) years. There is no five (5) year retention requirement in the US. Each country's retention time period may vary. In Canada it is five (5) years for financial records.
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Postby aclawson » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:23 pm

That's what I had remembered, but I verified with the information in the wiki: https://tech.lds.org/wiki/Record_retention which directs you to Use and Retention of Records and Reports—Ward or Branch (United States and Canada) (last updated in 2008).

Everything says "Keep for the current year and either the previous three years (U.S.) or the previous five years (Canada). Then destroy." except for "Official Receipt Valid for Income Tax Purposes (MLS)" which reads "Keep copies for the current year and the previous five years. Then destroy them."

Is there a letter or policy posted somewhere that replaces this? It seems pretty clear to me.

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Postby aebrown » Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:31 pm

aclawson wrote:That's what I had remembered, but I verified with the information in the wiki: https://tech.lds.org/wiki/Record_retention which directs you to Use and Retention of Records and Reports—Ward or Branch (United States and Canada) (last updated in 2008).

Everything says "Keep for the current year and either the previous three years (U.S.) or the previous five years (Canada). Then destroy." except for "Official Receipt Valid for Income Tax Purposes (MLS)" which reads "Keep copies for the current year and the previous five years. Then destroy them."

Is there a letter or policy posted somewhere that replaces this? It seems pretty clear to me.


The point of confusion is that you are referring to a Canada-only report. The "Official Receipt Valid for Income Tax Purposes (MLS)" is an official Canada government form. In MLS it is selected under Donor Statements by choosing "Official Receipt for Income Tax (Canada)"'; when you print it from MLS, you'll see the title on the form is "Official Receipt Valid for Income Tax Purposes".

Since it applies only to Canada, the Record Retention policy simply lists 5 years. Since you are in the US, that report does not apply to you.
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