Budget roll-overs and importance of deadlines

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
Gary_Miller
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Postby Gary_Miller » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:27 pm

The correct way is to use all the funds in the alloted year and not have a surplus or deficit.

The funds are there to bless the lives of members through activities that appropriately build unity and testimonies. You can't do this if your not using the funds provided for this purpose.

You can do it by helping Bishop and Organizations build an "Activity based budget" which ensures allocation of funds according to objectives and outcomes. https://tech.lds.org/wiki/Budget_allocation_methods

As clerks it our job to make sure the funds are being accounted for properly in the catagories so the Bishop and Organization leaders know where the funds are being used and how much they have remaining.

I was just put in as the Finance Clerk at the beginning of December and it quickly came to my attention the funds was not bing accounted for in the the correct categories. When I told the Bishop that he had a large surplus of funds (2.8K) he was surprised. What makes this especially disturbing was parents were asked to provide money for YM/YW camps last year when there was plenty of funds available to cover the expenses.

This all could have been avoided if two things were happening:

1. The budget was an "Activity base budget" instead of the "Traditional method"

2. The Clerk provided the Bishop a monthly "Budget Allowance Summary Report" and Organizational leaders a monthly "Budget Allowance Detail Report".

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:45 pm

Gary_Miller wrote:The correct way is to use all the funds in the alloted year and not have a surplus or deficit.


Well, that statement is far too categorical. There are very wise reasons upon occasion to reserve some funds in one year so that more funds can be spent in the following year. For example, a ward youth conference may be held every other year, and that may be a very good reason to spend different amounts in alternating years. I believe that priesthood leaders acting under inspiration will choose the correct method for their wards and stakes, and that may very well not match your opinion.

Gary_Miller wrote:1. The budget was an "Activity base budget" instead of the "Traditional method"


What do you think is the "traditional method"? In our stake, activity-based budgeting is the traditional method.
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allenjpl
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Postby allenjpl » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:24 pm

Gary_Miller wrote:As clerks it our job to make sure the funds are being accounted for properly in the catagories so the Bishop and Organization leaders know where the funds are being used and how much they have remaining.


Not to go too far off topic, but the easiest method of doing this is to put the onus back on the organizations, where it belongs. If it comes out of Scouts, have them say so. If there's a question, ask the bishop. If the organizations approve every expense, my experience is that they have a pretty good idea of how much they have left even without me reminding them.

I was just put in as the Finance Clerk at the beginning of December and it quickly came to my attention the funds was not bing accounted for in the the correct categories. When I told the Bishop that he had a large surplus of funds (2.8K) he was surprised.


No reason for the bishop to ever be surprised about anything financially-related. Every expense report (printed after every check is cut) shows the amount of budget funds remaining.

2. The Clerk provided the Bishop a monthly "Budget Allowance Summary Report" and Organizational leaders a monthly "Budget Allowance Detail Report".


I don't know how it's done in other wards, but I've always made sure the Ward Council had these reports at least once a month. Just seemed to make sense to keep them updated.

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Postby allenjpl » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:27 pm

aebrown wrote:What do you think is the "traditional method"? In our stake, activity-based budgeting is the traditional method.


I think he's referring to the wiki, which identifies two different methods of budgeting: "traditional" and "activity-based."

Oh, and welcome to the forums, Gary_Miller. You have my sympathies for coming into your calling during Tithing Settlement, but I assume you got through that okay. I love being the ward finance clerk. Best calling in the church.

Gary_Miller
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Postby Gary_Miller » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:01 pm

allenjpl wrote:I think he's referring to the wiki, which identifies two different methods of budgeting: "traditional" and "activity-based."


Correct.

allenjpl wrote:Oh, and welcome to the forums, Gary_Miller. You have my sympathies for coming into your calling during Tithing Settlement, but I assume you got through that okay. I love being the ward finance clerk. Best calling in the church.


Since I had been a Finance Clerk then Ward Clerk in a military ward it was not much of a problem. My biggest hurdle was just learning the MLS program system, unless your an old clerk you don't know how good you have it.

I was the Ward Clerk when the Budget Allowance program first came out, I still have a copy of the original instructions. I also was responsible for implementing the MIS and FIS in our ward when they first came out and was an option for wards, back then the wards had to purchase their own computer.

These forms and the Wiki are great. I wish we had them when I was first called as a clerk, they would have saved me allot of headaches. Being able to discuss problems one might be having, get others take on guidelines, or just find out whats working best is just great.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:15 pm

allenjpl wrote:I think he's referring to the wiki, which identifies two different methods of budgeting: "traditional" and "activity-based."


I guess I hadn't paid much attention to the Budget allocation methods article. To my thinking, it's totally an opinion piece someone wrote a few years ago. The author's point of view is clearly that the activity-based method is superior, and so he characterizes a different method as "traditional," with no justification for the claim that it is truly traditional. Personally, I don't think the term "traditional" is accurate or helpful. I would call that "baseline" budgeting. In fact, I'll go edit the article right now to make that improvement.
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Gary_Miller
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Postby Gary_Miller » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:33 pm

aebrown wrote:Well, that statement is far too categorical. There are very wise reasons upon occasion to reserve some funds in one year so that more funds can be spent in the following year. For example, a ward youth conference may be held every other year, and that may be a very good reason to spend different amounts in alternating years.


There are alway exceptions, in the 1995 guidelines Specific planned activities or checks waiting to be cleared was the only reason given for a stake to keep surplus funds. Any other surplus was to be returned to Church Headquarters. While this is no longer required, I feel the spirit of the law is still the same..

aebrown wrote:I believe that priesthood leaders acting under inspiration will choose the correct method for their wards and stakes,


Yep that is their stewardship.

aebrown wrote: and that may very well not match your opinion.


Please understand this is not my opinion, its the guidelines, and has been from the beginning of the "Budget Allowance Program".

aebrown wrote:What do you think is the "traditional method"? In our stake, activity-based budgeting is the traditional method.


The "Traditional Method" is one of the methods discussed in Wiki article "Budget Allocation Methods" See the link above.

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Postby russellhltn » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:04 pm

Gary_Miller wrote:The "Traditional Method" is one of the methods discussed in Wiki article "Budget Allocation Methods" See the link above.


Not anymore. :D
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Gary_Miller
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Postby Gary_Miller » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:10 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Not anymore. :D


Baseline Budgeting is the correct term, so it was a good change.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:57 am

Gary_Miller wrote:
aebrown wrote:Well, that statement is far too categorical. There are very wise reasons upon occasion to reserve some funds in one year so that more funds can be spent in the following year. For example, a ward youth conference may be held every other year, and that may be a very good reason to spend different amounts in alternating years.
There are alway exceptions, in the 1995 guidelines Specific planned activities or checks waiting to be cleared was the only reason given for a stake to keep surplus funds. Any other surplus was to be returned to Church Headquarters. While this is no longer required, I feel the spirit of the law is still the same..


We're certainly in agreement. I was simply pointing out that you made a blanket statement with no allowance for exceptions. I noted an exception (I even said "on occasion"), which is entirely within the letter and spirit of the law. Since you noted the possibility of an exception, you clearly understand this as well.

By the way, I would recommend that you discard any policies from 1995 and focus on the current Handbook. The general guideline you mentioned is still in Handbook 1, Section 14.7.2, so your point is certainly backed up by current policy.
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