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Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:12 pm

I've dealt with something similar a couple times. While the cause could be varied, in my case, both times it was due to category changes made in MLS that were not made at CHQ. Back then, I believe changes had to be called in. If that didn't happen, that could lead to your error.

If that is the cause, finding it is going to be a bit challenging because you are not looking for the date of an expense but instead the date of an adjustment to an expense. You do know, at least, that it was in 2008 so if you look at just that year, the number of expenses that have adjustments made to them should be small. In case you don't know, those that have been adjusted have reference numbers flagged with three asterics (***). The reason for the change should be in the description column.

Another thing to look at is donations. A recent example was a donation made to Other: Temple (specific) that should have instead gone to Other: Temple - Patron assistance. The later is automatically swept but the former collects at the ward and, periodically, cuts are checked and mailed in. While doing the reconcile, we noticed an unexpected balance in Other and investigated. Upon tracking it down, we made the category switch. However, to finish the reconcile, we had to add a temporary item. This temporary item will have to be carried until the category switch is made in CHQ. When it is made, it will show up in the Miscellaneous section of the CUFS. Again, if it never does show up, the temporary item will have to be carried through month to month in order to reconcile.

In both situations, once you identify the category change, go through your finance statements to see if the corresponding switch ever appears. If it doesn't, your fix is as simple as contacting clerk support and informing them of that. The switch shows up the next month, and your temporary item can be removed.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:05 pm

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, have you thumbed though a few months looking for $19 transactions? Hopefully this is a single transaction causing the problem, so a quick look for that specific amount might get fast results.
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crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:08 pm

RussellHltn wrote:At the risk of pointing out the obvious, have you thumbed though a few months looking for $19 transactions? Hopefully this is a single transaction causing the problem, so a quick look for that specific amount might get fast results.


Good point!

ecotim
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Postby ecotim » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:15 pm

Not that this will help, but after I was called and got a little comfortable I found a surplus in an account and had to go back to 2007 to find the details and fix it. I think by the end of this summer (after all the camps are over) all my other accounts will be zero. A lot of investigation and a lot of calling people for permissions to move donations to either Fast offerings or to support a missionary.

BTW. I looked (well not in detail) but is there a policy on how long an other account can have a negative balance?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:04 pm

ecotim wrote:I looked (well not in detail) but is there a policy on how long an other account can have a negative balance?


There is no specific policy, but it shouldn't be long at all. For pass-through accounts, funds are to be collected and spent for that purpose "promptly." But a negative balance in a particular subcategory should not be allowed to stay for long, and an overall negative balance may likely lead to a reminder letter from Church Headquarters.

That "promptly" word appears on the audit form. If you have a negative balance when a semi-annual audit occurs, it is likely to generate an exception. Then you'll have the bishop, the auditor, and the audit committee all encouraging you to take corrective action.
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sgtbrown26-p40
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Postby sgtbrown26-p40 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:41 am

For all those who might wonder what the end result is on this topic; its fixed. I went back to Jan 2008 and worked my way forwarding checking every block. In June 2008 a member donated $19 (under the other category) for a trip to Palmayra and the clerk accidently recorded the funds to the budget category. I made the changes and the numbers reconciled.

I continued to track the other account through June 2010 to account for every transaction to the other category. It only took a little over 3 hours to track down and fix each problem. Not to mention, while doing this I found new problems and fixed each of them including filing errors. I wonder how we passed each audit. As a side note, I learned how to read the CUFS better and I learned more about finances. Blessing in disguise. Now I can sleep better :D.

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:12 am

Thank you for the follow-up.
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bucker59-p40
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Postby bucker59-p40 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:56 pm

Try checking how your miscellaneous disbursements and expenses are entered. Sometimes they are credits instead of expenses and if entered wrong, you can have an unreconciled difference. Just a thought.

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jltware
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Postby jltware » Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:33 am

This may be a silly question given that the problem that prompted this discussion is resolved, but wouldn't it have been easier if a simple error could not be located to request a refresh of the financial data from your support office? That way, everything they have will match exactly with what you have. It won't tell you what the problem was, but it would fix it nonetheless. Or am I missing something here?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:43 am

jltware wrote:This may be a silly question given that the problem that prompted this discussion is resolved, but wouldn't it have been easier if a simple error could not be located to request a refresh of the financial data from your support office? That way, everything they have will match exactly with what you have. It won't tell you what the problem was, but it would fix it nonetheless. Or am I missing something here?


At present, in the US and Canada the financial system has no feature for "requesting a refresh of the financial data." It's quite different elsewhere in the world. So although your suggestion might be helpful in Australia, it doesn't apply in the US. (Changes are underway so that later this year, the US/Canada will have a system similar to what the rest of the world already has.)
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