Clerk frustration with MLS accounting issues

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Clerk frustration with MLS accounting issues

Postby dlcampnell » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:52 pm

The main frustration I have with MLS accounting is that you can solve a problem, only to have it come back to life at a later date, perhaps a year or more later or after we get yet another MLS release like MLS 3.4.1 which reprocesses data differently that a previous MLS release and therefore somehow leads to changes in prior year end balances etc.

I am not an MLS guru or even an accounting guru. But I am familiar with basic principles of accounting.

It seems to me that the Church accounting system, as represented by MLS, is very NON-STANDARD in one key respect: There is no year end accounting process that "closes the books" and establishes "final" year end account balances. Further, I suspect that leaving (several) prior year(s) data "open" and subject to prior period adjustment is the root cause of most of the weirdness (such as unexplained mid year changes in Fiscal Year beginning account balances) that we seem to struggle with.

I really can't see why year end MLS balances can't be finally and firmly established via an accounting year end closing process after the year end audit is done. If this were done, at least we would know any issues are only new ones and related only to the current year. We would not have to continually revisit problems from prior years, which is, for me, very disheartening as I have come to feel that with the MLS system it is actually impossible to feel confident that any accounting issue is "solved" with any finality. The best you can hope for is that you can fix things temporarily and look forward to being released so that these problems will then become the next poor guy's worry.

In light of the above, can anyone explain why MLS lacks a year end closing procedure??

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Postby aebrown » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:59 am

dlcampnell wrote:In light of the above, can anyone explain why MLS lacks a year end closing procedure??

The good news is that MLS is finally adhering to a basic principle of accounting -- you don't back date transactions, including adjustments to existing transactions. Prior to MLS 3.4.1, MLS would date all adjustments to transactions with the same date as the original transaction. It would also allow you to specify a date for many transactions that might be in the past.

But with MLS 3.4.1, the posting date is now the key. The transition to this new system is a bit painful, as you can read on other threads, but the basic philosophy of transaction dating is now correct. I've been asking for this change for at least 15 years, so I'm glad it has finally happened (not that I think my requests had anything to do with it, but just to show that it is a long-standing problem).

So I think your basic issue will finally be addressed properly once we finally work through this round of adjustments caused by the MLS 3.4.1 upgrade and its associated setup file. It will never again be possible to reach into the past to make adjustments, so any month or year end balances will be completely stable.
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