Why roll out a new system with no training

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kenmcalister
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Why roll out a new system with no training

Postby kenmcalister » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:55 pm

If anyone from the church headquarters reads these forums I have a question. And only please respond to the thread if you are from there.
I am a stake financial clerk and have not gotten any prior information about the changes that have taken place in MLS and requiring a now electronic approval of written checks. This seams to be a systemic problem in the roll out of changes to the finance section of MLS through the years. This is now a drastic change to the procedures and more will be coming and the clerks in the wards are asking all kinds of questions that I have no answers for. My questions are noted.
1. When will we start to get formal notification of changes that will be taking place and when the date of implementation will be switched?
2. When will we start to get formal tanning to the changes so we do not have to make it up as we go along?
3. When will we get notification to questions that magically change during the audits? It would be nice to get them throughout the year when they do change so that we can be in compliance and not get an audit exception during the audit.

It would be nice to get notifications as all of our emails are on file and it would be easy to send out an email to all of us when changes are going to be taken place so we can train the ward clerks and know for ourselves how to deal with the problems that arise from the changes as they affect all of us.

scgallafent
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Re: Why roll out a new system with no training

Postby scgallafent » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:27 am

kenmcalister wrote:1. When will we start to get formal notification of changes that will be taking place and when the date of implementation will be switched?

Leaders in affected units were notified by email when the online reimbursement system was activated for their area. The application was rolled out over the course of several weeks and leaders in each area were notified as their area was activated. I got the email when Utah was activated. (I am currently a counselor in a bishopric.)

kenmcalister wrote:2. When will we start to get formal tanning to the changes so we do not have to make it up as we go along?

The email that went to leaders of activated units referred to a notice posted in the Official Communication Library at https://letters.churchofjesuschrist,org/. That notice included links to the Help Center. One of those links provides general instructions for members using the online donation system. Those instructions include a short video on how to add a reimbursement account in the online donations system. The other link provides instructions specifically for leaders and clerks using the online system for reimbursements.

If you printed the instructions that were referred to in the online notice, you would end up with eight printed pages of instructions for members using the online donation system and three printed pages of instructions for leaders entering expenses using the online system. There is also a video showing members how to add a reimbursement account. The instructions for leaders include step-by-step instructions for entering expenses, approving expenses without attached electronic receipts, approving expenses with attached electronic receipts, and expense review by the bishop or stake president.

Have you reviewed this training material?

kenmcalister wrote:3. When will we get notification to questions that magically change during the audits? It would be nice to get them throughout the year when they do change so that we can be in compliance and not get an audit exception during the audit.

I'm not involved with the Church audit department except when their development team interacts with my development team. If you feel like the Church needs to provide notice of changes in audit questions, your best approach would be to discuss this with your stake audit committee chairman and ask him to get that request to the audit department.

I have been both the auditor or audited party for audits inside and outside [501(c)(3)] the Church. I've never had ongoing advance notification of audit changes. I just get the audit form and work through it.

kenmcalister
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Re: Why roll out a new system with no training

Postby kenmcalister » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:10 am

Leaders in affected units were notified by email when the online reimbursement system was activated for their area. The application was rolled out over the course of several weeks and leaders in each area were notified as their area was activated. I got the email when Utah was activated. (I am currently a counselor in a bishopric.)

There was no notification of changes in our area (Arizona)

Have you reviewed this training material?


How can I review this material if I never got the notification that it was even happening?
After doing much searching I found the document you were trying to link to. Your link does not work. In that document still vague on actual steps to do it correct for audit purposes.
This is what I found after digging but still leaves un answered questions.

LCR Procedures

Depending on your location, your procedures for recording expenses may vary slightly from the following guidelines. If you have questions, contact your administrative office.
Enter Expenses

On the LCR menu bar, click Finance, then Expenses.
On the Enter Expenses tab, select the appropriate payment method.
Note: The option to select a payment method may not be present if your unit has only one payment method. The default payment method for most areas will be EFT.
Enter the reference number if one is not automatically provided.
In the Date field, enter the date of the expense.
Enter the name of the payee, or expand the Payee field and find the desired payee in the list. If the payee is not in the list, you may need to click the Include out of unit box or add the person as a new payee by clicking the Add Payee button and completing the payee information.
Note: If EFT payments are available in your unit, and if the payee is a Church member whose bank account information is not available, instruct the payee to add the information to the Expense Reimbursement Account section on ChurchofJesusChrist.org/donations/#/settings after signing in to his or her LDS Account.
In the Purpose field, enter the purpose of the expense.
To choose the category for which the payment is being made, expand the Category field and select the category from the list. If the desired category is not in the list, go to MLS to add the new category.
Note: If you are in an area where the Church is required to pay sales or other taxes on purchases, the first category will be the tax category.
In the Amount field, enter the amount of the expense.
Note: If you are in an area where the Church is required to pay sales or other taxes on purchases, the amount will be the total amount minus the tax amount.
If the payment is for more than one category, click Add Category. Then repeat step 7.
For a fast-offering expense, in the Select Recipient field, enter the name of the member receiving aid. If the recipient is not in the list, you may need to click the Include out of unit box or add the person as a new recipient by clicking the Add Recipient button and completing the recipient information.
LCR allows receipts to be electronically uploaded. To attach a receipt, click Choose file or drag and drop the receipt in the designated area only.
After clicking the Review Upload button to view the receipt, click Save.
Note: Each uploaded receipt must be reviewed before the expense can be saved.

Approve Expenses

Two authorized users approve each expense. Authorized users include the following:

This still leaves lots of un answered questions on policy.
1. can a member just email me a picture of the receipt that I can attach?
2. do I have to print the receipt and keep a paper copy of it?
3. Does the member not have to fill out a request form now and just email me the receipts since I can just attach them electronically and when the bishop approves the expense electronically he can see the receipts?
4. Do I not have to keep any paper documents for reimbursements as long as they are all stored electronically and attached to the record in LCR

There needs to be clear documentation on what is expected so we know what is required for the audits. Still too many questions to have rolled out a new system with NO real training or clear requirements.

I have been both the auditor or audited party for audits inside and outside [501(c)(3)] the Church. I've never had ongoing advance notification of audit changes. I just get the audit form and work through it.

My point exactly. We never get notification of changes. How can we be dinged during an audit for something we did not know there was a change. This is what I am talking about with no communication from SLC when changes are being made. They have my email and know I am a stake financial clerk. Why not just send me the information. Sometimes I get so frustrated as a simple communication to the people that have to deal with these things would be nice.

drepouille
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Re: Why roll out a new system with no training

Postby drepouille » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:24 am

My stake audit committee trains auditors on changes to audit procedures. And last year, we even held a special training for bishoprics and clerks to prepare for the upcoming audit cycle. Unfortunately, those who needed the training the most did not attend the training.

Having said that, I will repeat my prediction that the next two audits will be very interesting indeed. I don't think auditors who are not members of bishoprics will know anything about the new system, unless they receive training prior to the mid-year audit.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

kenmcalister
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Re: Why roll out a new system with no training

Postby kenmcalister » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:45 am

drepouille wrote:My stake audit committee trains auditors on changes to audit procedures. And last year, we even held a special training for bishoprics and clerks to prepare for the upcoming audit cycle. Unfortunately, those who needed the training the most did not attend the training.

Having said that, I will repeat my prediction that the next two audits will be very interesting indeed. I don't think auditors who are not members of bishoprics will know anything about the new system, unless they receive training prior to the mid-year audit.

Yes I am going to go rogue this audit cycle and we are going to get hit with many audit exceptions this cycle because I am going to instruct the clerks to go 100% electronic if possible and develop my own process flow, then if the process is not correct that we are doing we are going to blame SLC for the audit finding with no clear direction on the new system they rolled out. Very frustrating.

jonesrk
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Re: Why roll out a new system with no training

Postby jonesrk » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:45 pm

kenmcalister wrote:There was no notification of changes in our area (Arizona)

The letter was to '... the following leaders of activated units in the United States ... Bishops and Branch Presidents; Stake and Ward Councils', so you may not have directly received it. I'm not sure if finance clerks have rights to the online letters. Either way your stake president and stake clerk should have gotten the letter.

The link from the letter requires you to sign in. I hope that finance clerks can see it.

Edit: My email notification showed up about two weeks after the letter date. I believe that was about the time my stake was activated in their system.
Ryan Jones
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scgallafent
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Re: Why roll out a new system with no training

Postby scgallafent » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:22 pm

kenmcalister wrote:1. can a member just email me a picture of the receipt that I can attach?
2. do I have to print the receipt and keep a paper copy of it?
3. Does the member not have to fill out a request form now and just email me the receipts since I can just attach them electronically and when the bishop approves the expense electronically he can see the receipts?
4. Do I not have to keep any paper documents for reimbursements as long as they are all stored electronically and attached to the record in LCR

From the Help Center article referenced earlier: "A member requesting reimbursement provides proper documentation with an Expense Request form and attaches receipts or invoices with the amount and date of the purchase. These forms and receipts can be either electronic (a picture or scan) or paper."

That explicitly says that receipts can be a picture or scan. The page also documents two different workflows, one for expenses with electronically attached receipts and one for expenses without electronically attached receipts, which implies to me that electronic documentation stands on its own.

We don't use a formal request form -- by the time the email gets to the ward clerk, we have everything that would be on a request form in the email. We also don't store any paper receipts if they are electronically stored with the expense record. For each expense tested in the audit, the clerk can produce the documentation from electronic records if receipts are electronically attached and from paper records for expenses without electronic documentation.

We don't go to the effort to scan things unnecessarily. If the bishop hands us an invoice to be paid, we record the expense without attaching a receipt and file the paper. On the other hand, if I'm processing finances with the clerk and have a paper receipt for myself or my wife, I scan it so that he can process it with attached receipts. That avoids having to hunt down a second approver to be in the room when he enters it.

I don't know why you need to "go rogue." You have spent enough time as a clerk that you should be able to develop and follow a reasonable procedure that you believe satisfies audit requirements.

Our ward has been through two finance audits using EFTs and hasn't had any issues. (For those trying to do the math, our first EFT expense was processed on 11 Mar 2018.) I can't speak for how things will go with your stake audit committee.

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Re: Why roll out a new system with no training

Postby eblood66 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:36 pm

scgallafent wrote:Our ward has been through two finance audits using EFTs and hasn't had any issues. (For those trying to do the math, our first EFT expense was processed on 11 Mar 2018.)

How did you handle proof of the bishops approval in the audit for all electronic transactions? I've had two audits with EFTs as well and as far as we could tell in our audits, the bishop's electronic approvals didn't show up in the audit system. So far I've keep paper copies for all transactions even if I attached electronic ones and just used those signatures in the audit. Did you scan a bishops signature or attach other proof of approval, pull up the bishops approval list in LCR or is there something that we didn't see?

scgallafent
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Re: Why roll out a new system with no training

Postby scgallafent » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:20 pm

eblood66 wrote:How did you handle proof of the bishops approval in the audit for all electronic transactions? I've had two audits with EFTs as well and as far as we could tell in our audits, the bishop's electronic approvals didn't show up in the audit system.

It shows up in LCR.
eft-leader-approval.png
eft-leader-approval.png (6.78 KiB) Viewed 978 times

eblood66
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Re: Why roll out a new system with no training

Postby eblood66 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:33 pm

scgallafent wrote:
eblood66 wrote:How did you handle proof of the bishops approval in the audit for all electronic transactions? I've had two audits with EFTs as well and as far as we could tell in our audits, the bishop's electronic approvals didn't show up in the audit system.

It shows up in LCR.
eft-leader-approval.png

Last I heard you couldn't have two different people logged into LCR and the audit tool in the same browser (because of the single sign on). Is that no longer the case or did you use different computers or different browsers?


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