CUBS Concerns

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
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childsdj
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#11

Post by childsdj »

I have been informed that the implementation dates of CUBS has been pushed back. There is not a date yet, but this means that you can use your finances as normal next week. You should be getting an edoc stating this anytime.

There have been some issues raised from the implementation in Canada. The CUBS team is analyzing these issues. I will post the new date as soon as I get it.

I know there is not a great deal of training on this. As Alan stated, most financial functions will work exactly as they do now. This is more of a backend system change, but it does allow the United states and Canada to now have a two way communication with the backend system. This couldn't happen previously. Any changes that a clerk would see can be found in the wiki article Alan referenced in the previous post.

I hope this helps.
lajackson
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#12

Post by lajackson »

DJC wrote:There have been some issues raised from the implementation in Canada.

Thank you for keeping us updated. Is it true that CUBS will require two people to print checks? If this is so, can we load all the expenses at one session, exit MLS, and then come back later to print the actual checks?

This will be a real challenge for us. With those we currently have in these callings, we will have to change travel arrangements between cities, rework our procedures, and learn a totally new way of doing business.

We already struggle to get our phone bills paid on time each month.
russellhltn
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#13

Post by russellhltn »

lajackson wrote:Is it true that CUBS will require two people to print checks?
Currently, yes. But it appears they've heard the complaints and are working on removing that.
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techgy
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#14

Post by techgy »

lajackson wrote:Thank you for keeping us updated. Is it true that CUBS will require two people to print checks? If this is so, can we load all the expenses at one session, exit MLS, and then come back later to print the actual checks?

This will be a real challenge for us. With those we currently have in these callings, we will have to change travel arrangements between cities, rework our procedures, and learn a totally new way of doing business.

We already struggle to get our phone bills paid on time each month.
See this post.
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crislapi
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#15

Post by crislapi »

While this appears to be resolved, I'll add my experience. In response to this post, I (along with a few other members of the forum) did some testing on the new CUBS yesterday. It does not require two people to authorize the printing of a check.
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aebrown
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#16

Post by aebrown »

Alan_Brown wrote:The instructions say that there will be separate distribution percentages for sacrament meeting, YM, YW, Primary, and YSA. But it's not clear to me what those percentages will be based on. I could imagine that they are a percentage of the amount contributed by that ward's attendance numbers (e.g., this ward keeps 80% of their sac mtg attendance and 20% goes to the stake), or that it is a percentage of the total stake budget for each ward (e.g., Ward A gets 10%, Ward B gets 12%, stake gets 18%, etc.). My guess is that it is the latter, but the documentation is somewhat vague on this point.
I now know that my guess was wrong. It is indeed the former option. Upon further reflection, I think that is a good choice. If a stake just wants to keep 20% of the allocation, they can simply enter 80% for every ward for every category and might never need to adjust it again. That way the wards and stake share in the ups and downs of changes in the budget allocation, but the ward is the most affected by their actual attendance figures, which seems to be appropriate. But there's also enough flexibility that a stake president can allocate the funds to the wards however he sees fit.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.
crislapi
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#17

Post by crislapi »

Again, after having had an opportunity to pose questions as well as test out some of the features of CUBS yesterday, here's some more perspective. I expect some of the others who were there will comment as well. Here goes:
mlh78 wrote:1. Will stakes be able to allocate a fixed dollar amount for budget funds or will they be stuck using the attendance figures? Attendance figures in our stake do not always represent actual budget needs for the units in our stake. In addition, we have already assigned an annual allocation to each ward in our stake and would like to stick with those amounts.
Part 1 - will you be able to assign fixed dollar amounts? No. Currently the stake receives a disbursement report every quarter that indicates the budget disbursement contributions of each ward in the stake. It breaks out the amounts by sacrament attendance, primary, YM, YW and YSA. These numbers come from the quarterly report.

After the conversion, stakes allocate budgets by indicating what percent of the ward's disbursement in each of these categories the ward will actually receive. The percentages are percent of the budget disbursement/contribution from that ward only and not the total disbursement. The remaining balance is the stake's take. Sum up the remaining balance for each ward and that is the stake budget.

If you want to still keep your wards at set dollar amounts, you will have to reverse calculate to determine the percentages necessary to assure your wards get the correct dollar amount. One month before the disbursement arrives, you can play with the budget percentages on the Stake MLS and preview the budget disbursement (at least that's what I understood). So you can either pick percentages and let the disbursements occur, or you can put a lot of effort into playing with the percentages to keep the yearly dollar amount the same.

Part 2: We have already assigned an annual allocation to each ward in our stake and would like to stick with those amounts. - This was one of my questions as well. The budget in CUBS will start at 0 the day it is implemented. The way it is set up makes it so the first budget amount they get is only what they can spend for the remainder of the quarter. It will begin from the day it is initiated and move forward. So from my understanding, you will not see a YTD budget total. It will begin with a remaining budget through the end of the current quarter.

All future disbursements will occur quarterly, and budgets are now local to the units. This means the stake can't simply tell the ward to adjust their budget up or down as desired. Instead, money is moved either through the automatic budget disbursements or by check only. So to set up the ward budgets initially, all the money does reside in the stake. The stake would cut a check to each ward to disburse out the remaining budget balance as desired (look at SFS to get this amount). From that point on, all future budget disbursements occur automatically according to the percentages as described above.

So if this happened today, you would split up the remaining balance from any OTA, carryover and the first 3 quarter disbursements as desired between all your units and the stake and cut checks to all the wards/branches to transfer the money to them. The fourth quarter disbursement would automatically be split up based on the percentages entered in the budget screen in the stake MLS.
mlh78 wrote:2. In my experience, most units use up a signficant portion of their annual budget by the end of summer due to camps, etc. Under the current system, this is not a problem as long as they stay within their budget allocation for the year. Under CUBS, this practice will cause them to go negative in their budget category until the 3rd or 4th quarter allocations are assigned to them.
This is correct. The nice thing, however, is that budgets are now local. A ward going negative does not hit the stake budget, other ward budgets, or any surpluses. It only hits the future ward budget. All checks will still be covered, of course, but CUBS does NOT automatically zero the budget at year end. The system will allow wards to carry their remaining balance forward. It is up to the stake to determine a budget policy and, if they desire wards to start each year at $0, they would have to have the wards cut checks to the stake to return any excess balances at the end of the year. So again, a negative balance will reduce the next quarterly disbursement, but as long as the ward manages their expenses, it should not be a problem.

As an aside, this currently happens anyway, it's just the ward does not see it. Budget is disbursed to the stake quarterly already and, if the ward expenses exceed disbursements, the stake as a whole could be negative for a bit. Given a little training, it shouldn't cause any problems.
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aebrown
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#18

Post by aebrown »

Thanks, crislapi, for that summary. I would only make two clarifications based on what I heard yesterday.
crislapi wrote:One month before the disbursement arrives, you can play with the budget percentages on the Stake MLS and preview the budget disbursement (at least that's what I understood).
The way I understand it, I agree that stakes will receive a notification as to what the budget allocation will be for the coming quarter a month before the quarter begins. But I thought it was just going to be an MLS message giving the amounts, rather than an actual set of data that you can play with in Stake MLS. However, I might have missed that point.
crislapi wrote:A ward going negative does not hit the stake budget, other ward budgets, or any surpluses. It only hits the future ward budget. All checks will still be covered, of course, but CUBS does NOT automatically zero the budget at year end. The system will allow wards to carry their remaining balance forward. It is up to the stake to determine a budget policy and, if they desire wards to start each year at $0, they would have to have the wards cut checks to the stake to return any excess balances at the end of the year. So again, a negative balance will reduce the next quarterly disbursement, but as long as the ward manages their expenses, it should not be a problem.

I would word this somewhat differently. Being negative doesn't really "hit the future ward budget" and it certainly doesn't "reduce the next quarterly disbursement." The disbursements will happen as determined by the stake, regardless of whether a particular ward is positive or negative on their current budget balance. But wards that run a negative balance will obviously have a new balance after the quarterly disbursement that is less than the total disbursement.

Suppose a ward is scheduled to get a $2500 allocation on October 1st. If on that scheduled date they have a budget balance of -$1000, they'll still get the $2500, but their new balance will only be $1500, and so they should tighten their belts and live on $1500 for the quarter. If they keep spending the full $2500, they'll always be negative at the end of the quarter, and the stake president will probably have a chat with the bishop about that.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.
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mlh78
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#19

Post by mlh78 »

crislapi wrote:Part 1 - will you be able to assign fixed dollar amounts? No. [. . .] If you want to still keep your wards at set dollar amounts, you will have to reverse calculate to determine the percentages necessary to assure your wards get the correct dollar amount.

I don't understand why it won't include a feature to allow dollar amount allocations. I am pretty sure that the existing ward budget allocation tool in MLS allows this (though I found it cumbersome and never used it). What is the downside?

Although I relish the opportunity to create a fancy spreadsheet to work out these calculations each quarter, this could be a real burden on clerk's who do not share my enthusiasm for numbers. I also think that requiring the stake to back into a dollar amount allocation, though doable, is a barrier to the Stake President exercising discretion in allocating the budget.
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#20

Post by jonesrk »

mlh78 wrote:I don't understand why it won't include a feature to allow dollar amount allocations. I am pretty sure that the existing ward budget allocation tool in MLS allows this (though I found it cumbersome and never used it). What is the downside?

Although I relish the opportunity to create a fancy spreadsheet to work out these calculations each quarter, this could be a real burden on clerk's who do not share my enthusiasm for numbers. I also think that requiring the stake to back into a dollar amount allocation, though doable, is a barrier to the Stake President exercising discretion in allocating the budget.
To me this seems to move towards a more fair distribution. When I was previously involved with budgets our stake would take a fixed amount off the top and then distribute the rest based on the attendance percentages. It sounds like some operate the other way around. But why not have both the stake and the ward's budget allocations vary with the actual attendance? That way if the attendance varies from what it has historically been there both the stake and the ward have an interest in addressing the problem (assuming the variance wasn't extra attendance :)).
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