TinMan wrote:The whole premise of the opening post is that the bishop "wrote the check" out of the "other account" (which didn't have any money in it yet, but was going to get money as camp funds came in) instead of the "budget account" (which apparently did have the money to cover the expense.) If you have the money in the budget account, don't you have the money?
No. The "Other" account truly is a separate account, and you need to treat it as such, because the Church does.
If I have $1000 in my checking account and owe $300 to a credit card company, I can't just say "I've got a total $700 positive balance, so it's all good." I have to pay my credit card bill. Even if that credit card is issued by the same bank where I have my checking account, I still have to pay my credit card bill, or bad things will start to happen.
The same is true for a deficit in the "Other" account. This is not just theory. I know for certain that the Church sends out notices when "Other" has a negative balance, because priesthood leaders have passed on those communications to me (I don't know precisely how quickly or which amounts draw their attention, but it does happen). It matters not one whit how much money is available in the Budget account. The letters are kind, not threatening, but they are quite firm that action must be taken promptly to correct the deficit.
TinMan wrote:So, it seems to me that by moving money back and forth from "budgets" and "others" accounts, it sort of defeats the purpose of even having "other" accounts.
Not so. A specific subcategory of "Other" is used to account for all money that comes in for a specific purpose. That same category is also used to track all expenses for that specific purpose. This is very useful accounting.
Now it's very clear in all the documentation for the "Other" account that there is no requirement or even expectation that the money contributed for that specific purpose will completely cover the cost of the event. So it is common and completely correct to spend all of the money available in the "Other" account that was paid for the specific purpose, and the remainder of the cost comes from Budget.
When the event is over, and all funds have been accounted for, the end result should be that the "Other" subcategory is at zero, and the Budget has been charged for the costs not covered by that subcategory. Along the way, it's possible that some adjustments had to be made to cover (or better yet, avoid) temporary deficits in the "Other" subcategory. But those are just steps towards that end state of the accounts, and in no way defeat the purpose of the "Other" account.