Beta Electronic (ACH) Expense Reimbursement - Best practices

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wnukem
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Beta Electronic (ACH) Expense Reimbursement - Best practices

Postby wnukem » Thu May 03, 2018 5:01 pm

I was wondering if anyone on LDSTech is actually currently in beta testing for Ward Electronic expense Reimbursement (ACH) processing. For the last few weeks, our ward has been in beta where we either cut checks or process electronic ACH reimbursements via LCR Finance section.

If you are, I would like to get an understanding on your approach to records retention. Since the beta gives two options for electronic reimbursement to members, one with hard copy supporting docs or one with electronic / attached documentation. Are you electing to keep all hard copies and file away for 3 years or are you going the electronic option and shredding any documentation.

We have reached out to our Stake Clerk and asked for the Stake Audit Committee recommendation but haven't yet received guidance. For now, we are retaining all documentation.

For anyone without this beta, before a reimbursement can be issued, both Bishop and Clerk need to authorize by putting in their LDS Account credentials. This information is recorded and can be reviewed by any auditor. I actually like the process but thought to reach out about best practices.

Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.

russellhltn
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Re: Beta Electronic (ACH) Expense Reimbursement - Best practices

Postby russellhltn » Thu May 03, 2018 5:46 pm

Since you're given an option, it's hard to imagine that both are not acceptable.

Are you able to select the option on a per-transaction basis? The reason I ask: if I have paper in front on me, I'd rather staple it together, chuck it into a folder "Expenses: 2018 May" (ordered by check number) and put it into the file cabinet and be done with it. It's too time consuming to scan, locate the file, and upload. Granted, paper isn't as "high tech", but it can be fast.

OTOH, if the paperwork was already electronic, (perhaps it arrived in a email), I'd be more tempted to file electronically.

Another consideration would be "where" you'd be when you were processing this - as well as when you'd get requests to see the documents. If everything is being done at the meetinghouse, then paper is fine. But if you keep getting requests to look thing up during the middle of the week, then electronic starts to look more attractive. (In my experience, lookups are fairly rare.)

Another question: I think a number of wards add a requirement for the appropriate quorum or auxiliary leader to sign the request if it impacts their budget. I don't think it's a audit requirement, but it does strike me as professional courtesy. (You wouldn't want a sister depleting the RS budget without the RS President's knowledge.) That's easy enough to do with paper - but how would you include that in the electronic process?
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eblood66
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Re: Beta Electronic (ACH) Expense Reimbursement - Best practices

Postby eblood66 » Thu May 03, 2018 6:24 pm

We've been on it for about 3 weeks. But so far I've only had an opportunity to do one online expense (for some reason we've had a dearth of reimbursement requests right now). I did scan and attach the documents. But I also kept and filed the hard copies and had the bishop sign them as well. Personally, I'm going to keep all paper documentation and get all the normal signatures until after we've had an audit and know for certain what the auditors look at and what their instructions are.

eblood66
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Re: Beta Electronic (ACH) Expense Reimbursement - Best practices

Postby eblood66 » Thu May 03, 2018 6:33 pm

russellhltn wrote:Are you able to select the option on a per-transaction basis?

Yes. You can attach or indicate that you've got paper receipts. But both approvers have to review the documentation. So if the other approver is available it's easier to just use paper. But if you want the approver to be able to do their approval at a later time (and possibly at home) then you'd need to upload and attach.

russellhltn wrote:Another question: I think a number of wards add a requirement for the appropriate quorum or auxiliary leader to sign the request if it impacts their budget. I don't think it's a audit requirement, but it does strike me as professional courtesy. (You wouldn't want a sister depleting the RS budget without the RS President's knowledge.) That's easy enough to do with paper - but how would you include that in the electronic process?

The system doesn't provide an electronic reimbursement request. And I haven't seen anything that removes the requirement to have a reimbursement request form (at least not yet). But since there isn't any specific format mandated about that form, you could probably just ask members to include the appropriate information in an email and CC it to the organization leader. Then you could either assume approval after a reasonable time or specifically ask the organization leader to respond with approval.

russellhltn
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Re: Beta Electronic (ACH) Expense Reimbursement - Best practices

Postby russellhltn » Thu May 03, 2018 6:57 pm

eblood66 wrote:But if you want the approver to be able to do their approval at a later time (and possibly at home) then you'd need to upload and attach.

Good point.

My day job is building document scanning system. Scanning is work (expense). The benefit is retrieval - either pulling things up right away (during a phone call) or retrieving it remotely. Saving space by not having to store paper never pencils out cost-wise. So, I think each unit will have to look at the pros and cons and decide if the benefit of scanning is worth the extra work.

One tip: Office Lens - it's a free app from Microsoft. It will use a phone's camera to make a cropped PDF of a document. That might encourage more members to submit their receipts electronically. I'm sure there's others, but coming from "Microsoft Office" it's a starting point.
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scgallafent
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Re: Beta Electronic (ACH) Expense Reimbursement - Best practices

Postby scgallafent » Fri May 04, 2018 10:50 am

wnukem wrote:If you are, I would like to get an understanding on your approach to records retention. Since the beta gives two options for electronic reimbursement to members, one with hard copy supporting docs or one with electronic / attached documentation. Are you electing to keep all hard copies and file away for 3 years or are you going the electronic option and shredding any documentation.

We are going electronic and don't have any paper documentation. I had to submit some receipts this week for reimbursement. I scanned them and sent the scanned images to the finance clerk. He will enter the expense into the system with the scanned images and approve it. Once he is done, the bishop will approve it and the reimbursement will be issued.

The only "paper" documentation will be the bishop's signature on the monthly finance summary report. We have the scanned copies of the receipts and two electronic approvals for the payment.

russellhltn wrote:Are you able to select the option on a per-transaction basis? The reason I ask: if I have paper in front on me, I'd rather staple it together, chuck it into a folder "Expenses: 2018 May" (ordered by check number) and put it into the file cabinet and be done with it. It's too time consuming to scan, locate the file, and upload. Granted, paper isn't as "high tech", but it can be fast.

You can select on a per-transaction basis, but you can only do "distributed" approvals with electronic documentation. If you are using paper documentation, you have to have both approvers in the same place at the same time. Or... what eblood66 said. :)

russellhltn wrote:Another question: I think a number of wards add a requirement for the appropriate quorum or auxiliary leader to sign the request if it impacts their budget. I don't think it's a audit requirement, but it does strike me as professional courtesy. (You wouldn't want a sister depleting the RS budget without the RS President's knowledge.) That's easy enough to do with paper - but how would you include that in the electronic process?

Our ward's process is that the reimbursement request must come from the auxiliary leader. If the Cub Scout committee chair needs to submit a request for reimbursement, she sends it by email to the Primary president. The Primary president sends the detail, along with any instructions ("take from Cub Scouts") to the finance clerk, who processes the expense. After he has processed and approved it, a member of the bishopric approves it and then the funds are sent.

russellhltn wrote:One tip: Office Lens - it's a free app from Microsoft. It will use a phone's camera to make a cropped PDF of a document. That might encourage more members to submit their receipts electronically. I'm sure there's others, but coming from "Microsoft Office" it's a starting point.

Seconded. That's what I use to scan receipts before I email them to our finance clerk.

lajackson
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Re: Beta Electronic (ACH) Expense Reimbursement - Best practices

Postby lajackson » Fri May 04, 2018 3:37 pm

scgallafent wrote:
russellhltn wrote:One tip: Office Lens - it's a free app from Microsoft. It will use a phone's camera to make a cropped PDF of a document. . . . I'm sure there's others,

Seconded. That's what I use to scan receipts before I email them to our finance clerk.

I use TinyScanner on my Android phone. It works well for everything I need. I did not see Office Lens when I was looking for an app last year.

wnukem
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Re: Beta Electronic (ACH) Expense Reimbursement - Best practices

Postby wnukem » Fri May 04, 2018 4:07 pm

Thank you all for your feedback and for answering other people's questions. I think for now we will retain hard copies until specific guidance from our Stake Audit committee comes back. I like the functionality of the electronic reimbursements and the process that Bishops can do to approve, especially if they travel a bunch like our Bishop does. He can do it remotely as opposed to sending an approval email and then afterward coming back to sign.

We have noted that once all approvals are in place, the next day the member who has set up their LDS Account with the ability to receive ACH reimbursement. It has taken about 2 business days for members to have the funds in their account. I created a quick how to document to hand to members submitting expenses that walk them through the process of making those changes. Figured I would share with those in the event they want to use when their units can do this. Sharing below with google drive document:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=18NYoy ... dzHOUZhBp4

Thanks again for all your feedback.

russellhltn
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Re: Beta Electronic (ACH) Expense Reimbursement - Best practices

Postby russellhltn » Fri May 04, 2018 4:32 pm

wnukem wrote:I think for now we will retain hard copies until specific guidance from our Stake Audit committee comes back.

It appears that many will likely submit electronically. There will be no hard copy unless you print your email out.
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