Online Expense Reimbursement Request Form

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
jdlessley
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Re: Online Expense Reimbursement Request Form

Postby jdlessley » Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:29 pm

davide wrote:Who has access to submit direct requests in LCR? Is it just members of presidencies of organizations?

If you are referring to the Payment Request feature then the organization presidencies, including the organization secretary, can submit payment requests for their organization budget categories as well as any other category for which they have been given permission (see this post in another thread).
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siredge
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Re: Online Expense Reimbursement Request Form

Postby siredge » Sun Nov 29, 2020 7:55 pm

davesudweeks wrote:We don't use a form any longer except for paper receipts. We ask members to email their digital receipts to the organization president with the reason for the expense and how they want the reimbursement. We ask the organization president to forward the email to the assistant clerk-finance or the clerk as their approval for the expense and the purpose. When I do it, I save the email as a pdf document and save the receipts separately (pdf or jpg). Then I load each one as backup documentation for the reimbursement.

Haven't tried it on a smart phone - I like doing this on a nice big screen where I can easily tell what's going on.


So were the auditors satisfied with that process? I am questioning the need for the request cover page if it all happens in LCR from beginning to end. Having the receipt as one document and the cover as another makes my bishop uncomfortable, so I spend a lot of time trying to combine the cover page with the receipts into a single file and I think we are doing a lot of unnecessary work. But I wanted to see if others shared that opinion.

eblood66
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Re: Online Expense Reimbursement Request Form

Postby eblood66 » Sun Nov 29, 2020 8:10 pm

siredge wrote:So were the auditors satisfied with that process? I am questioning the need for the request cover page if it all happens in LCR from beginning to end. Having the receipt as one document and the cover as another makes my bishop uncomfortable, so I spend a lot of time trying to combine the cover page with the receipts into a single file and I think we are doing a lot of unnecessary work. But I wanted to see if others shared that opinion.

I see no point in trying to combine any documents into one document and I've never done that. Whether images are combined or separate doesn't really tell you anything about whether they are valid or not. As long as there is documentation showing the purpose of the expense, who it should be paid to and receipts showing the amounts the auditor should be fine.

As for whether you need the reimbursement request or something similar (like a PDF of an emailed request), I would recommend having it at least for expenses where you are paying someone other than then person or company on the receipt. Having that document helps you ensure that you've entered the correct payee and purpose and it allows the 2nd approver to verify that as well. As an auditor I didn't look that closely at that information. I looked more at the receipts. But as a finance clerk, I like having it as that second check that everything is entered correctly and to provide a way to check back on it if there are any questions later.

davesudweeks
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Re: Online Expense Reimbursement Request Form

Postby davesudweeks » Sun Nov 29, 2020 8:46 pm

siredge wrote:So were the auditors satisfied with that process? I am questioning the need for the request cover page if it all happens in LCR from beginning to end. Having the receipt as one document and the cover as another makes my bishop uncomfortable, so I spend a lot of time trying to combine the cover page with the receipts into a single file and I think we are doing a lot of unnecessary work. But I wanted to see if others shared that opinion.

We never had any audit exceptions from our process. They were all attached to the same expense so in effect, they were in a single "folder" in the system. I had some reimbursements that were between 5 and 10 separate receipts and they were all individually uploaded. We never had any audit problems from multiple receipts as long as all the information was correct and the amounts all added up.

For the paper system, did your bishop make you photo-copy all the individual receipts onto a single page of paper for filing or were you allowed to attach them all individually to the reimbursement request? We would staple the individual receipts (along with the check stub) to the reimbursement request. Electronically, I consider this the same thing.

siredge
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Re: Online Expense Reimbursement Request Form

Postby siredge » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:00 pm

davesudweeks wrote:
siredge wrote:So were the auditors satisfied with that process? I am questioning the need for the request cover page if it all happens in LCR from beginning to end. Having the receipt as one document and the cover as another makes my bishop uncomfortable, so I spend a lot of time trying to combine the cover page with the receipts into a single file and I think we are doing a lot of unnecessary work. But I wanted to see if others shared that opinion.

We never had any audit exceptions from our process. They were all attached to the same expense so in effect, they were in a single "folder" in the system. I had some reimbursements that were between 5 and 10 separate receipts and they were all individually uploaded. We never had any audit problems from multiple receipts as long as all the information was correct and the amounts all added up.

For the paper system, did your bishop make you photo-copy all the individual receipts onto a single page of paper for filing or were you allowed to attach them all individually to the reimbursement request? We would staple the individual receipts (along with the check stub) to the reimbursement request. Electronically, I consider this the same thing.


His point was that if the sheet was separated from the receipts, then modification of an electronic file would be easier to accomplish and more difficult to detect than on a physical receipt. I see his point, but like I said, I spend hours trying to get these things working and I'm not sure it is giving us much risk mitigation. I may have found a solution to speed things up using LibreOffice, which seems to be able to combine PDFs without an expensive utility. But again, if the action is unnecessary altogether, then finding an easier way to do it is still unnecessary.

davesudweeks
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Re: Online Expense Reimbursement Request Form

Postby davesudweeks » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:31 pm

I believe digitally combining them all into one .pdf is unnecessary - there are already checks and balances in the system to minimize the risk of inappropriate actions with respect to the financial records. If the church thought it was important to combine them all into a single document, there would be instructions to that effect and the system would not be built to allow multiple documents be uploaded. But your bishop holds the keys for his ward. I have served with bishops who were stubborn and as the clerk I just had to make it work because they wouldn't listen to common sense (even though what they required caused confusion and headaches in the financial records for several years).

Once the receipts are uploaded, they are more secure (in my opinion) than paper records. Many receipts are thermally printed and can fade over time. I would be very surprised if the church did not have change tracking built into the system even though it isn't visible to the ward.

eblood66
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Re: Online Expense Reimbursement Request Form

Postby eblood66 » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:47 pm

siredge wrote:His point was that if the sheet was separated from the receipts, then modification of an electronic file would be easier to accomplish and more difficult to detect than on a physical receipt.

Putting the images together into a single document does not provide any additional protection. A PDF can be easily cut apart and put back together using online tools that can be found using a simple search. Even in the physical case there really isn't much way to ensure that physical documents stay together. It's also quite easy to remove a staple, rearrange documents and restaple. That does leave staple holes but there are lots of reasons why documents may be unstapled and restapled by either the member before submission or by the clerk (such as to scan the receipts) so it really doesn't mean much.

The more effective protections are that the reimbursement request should show the total amount requested (which should match the receipts) and the purpose (which should be consistent with what is shown on the receipts).

jefferso
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Re: Online Expense Reimbursement Request Form

Postby jefferso » Sun Jan 10, 2021 9:56 am

I second that question. I'm an executive secretary and have made purchases for the ward. I'd love to be able to submit direct requests. It appears I'm not one who is allowed to submit reimbursement requests electronically?

jdlessley
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Re: Online Expense Reimbursement Request Form

Postby jdlessley » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:08 am

jefferso wrote:It appears I'm not one who is allowed to submit reimbursement requests electronically?

The online payment request feature provides only organization presidencies the ability to submit online payment requests. Outside that direct entry into LCR > Finances > Expenses is limited to those with finance permissions. Those not in either of those two groups do not currently have an online payment request ability and must use the procedures established for your unit. The closest online payment request capability is to submit a payment request by email, with supporting documentation as attachments, to the appropriate organization president or to the ward clerk, assistant ward clerk, or assistant ward clerk - finance (Bishopric members also have finance permissions).
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