Clarification needed regarding entering expenses in LCR vs MLS

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lfura
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Clarification needed regarding entering expenses in LCR vs MLS

Postby lfura » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:29 am

Hello,

With the latest notice from the church regarding ACH transfers for expense payments I started to looking in to it more, it looks we now have functionality to enter expenses and print checks via LCR which we never seem to have had prior.

I figured I would give it a try but just for the heck of it I went in to MLS first and it did in fact prompt me to go online or use MLS for expenses which it never did prior to this Sunday.

So as the ward clerk I figured I would give it a try as I would assume eventually this functionality will get removed from MLS. So I did manage to successfully generate my first expense using the new process. However, even after reading all the documentation I could find I still have some questions that I was hoping I could get some clarification on:

1. I tried to enter the expense via my iPhone so that I could upload pictures of the receipts or in this case the late rent notice as this was a fast offering expense. However the system would give an error and not allow the expense to save via my iPhone. So I had to enter the expense on the ward computer and then upload the photo later. Is this a problem other people are having in regards to being unable to enter an expense from an iPhone?

2. Are wards supposed to buy their own scanners or is the church planning to provide an official model?

3. Are we supposed to also scan a copy of the expense request form and and attach that to the expense or do we just retain those as paper copies?

4. Are expense request forms required for assistance paid out of the Fast Offering categories? Reason I am asking is because we always used our own custom expense form however I found in the Finance -> Reports section an Expense Request form that I could download. That only lists Reimbursement or Advance as the purpose of the expense and none of the fast offering categories are listed. So in this case where I am writing a check for a members rent under the direction of the Bishop do I ONLY need to enter the expense in the system and scan a copy of the lease agreement and because the bishop has to approve it electronically this is considered good enough?

5. Are we still supposed to keep some sort of paper documentation for our 6 month financial audits? or with this new system is everything supposed to be totally online? If I don't keep paper documentation do I still need to keep the check stubs? Our normal procedure was to attach the top two parts of the printed check stub to the expense form that the member (if reimbursement) or Bishop (if fast offering expense) filled out and then placed the detail behind it and would staple it all together, hole punch it and put it in a binder. But if we don't need an expense form or if we just scan the expense form do we not need to keep anything and can safely dispose of the check stub section?

6. Now in the case of this fast offering check I just wrote the system let me enter the expense and then print the check before it went in to the bishops queue to review and approve? Wouldn't he need to approve it before I wrote the check? What would happen if I wrote the check, signed it, had him sign it and then later when he is on his computer he for whatever reason rejected it? The check is already in the mail?

Thank you for your time.

eblood66
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Re: Clarification needed regarding entering expenses in LCR vs MLS

Postby eblood66 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:27 am

lfura wrote:Is this a problem other people are having in regards to being unable to enter an expense from an iPhone?

I'm afraid I can't speak to that. I don't have an Apple device and I haven't tried to enter an expense on my Android device. I've only used the church desktop or my laptop to enter expenses.

lfura wrote:2. Are wards supposed to buy their own scanners or is the church planning to provide an official model?

I haven't heard anything. But there is no requirement to scan receipts as the process allows for using paper receipts still. And mobile devices can usually be used as well. So I wouldn't expect existing working printers to be replaced or for the church to supply scanners. But it's possible that when new printers are needed they could be replaced by multi-function devices especially since the difference in price nowadays usually isn't great. As for using local budget funds to purchase a scanner I'd consider the Meetinghouse Technology Policy section 5.1.3 before doing so.


lfura wrote:3. Are we supposed to also scan a copy of the expense request form and and attach that to the expense or do we just retain those as paper copies?

Personally, I scan the expense request form. Currently the audit instructions don't use the Bishop's online approval checkmark as evidence of Bishop's approval so I make sure I scan whatever has his signature which is usually the request form. If the audit process changes in the future then that may not be as important.

lfura wrote:4. Are expense request forms required for assistance paid out of the Fast Offering categories? Reason I am asking is because we always used our own custom expense form however I found in the Finance -> Reports section an Expense Request form that I could download. That only lists Reimbursement or Advance as the purpose of the expense and none of the fast offering categories are listed. So in this case where I am writing a check for a members rent under the direction of the Bishop do I ONLY need to enter the expense in the system and scan a copy of the lease agreement and because the bishop has to approve it electronically this is considered good enough?

I've never used a expense request form for fast offering payments when the bishop just hands me bills. The main point of the request form is to communicate to the clerk the details of who to pay and what the expense is. It isn't required by any audit question. So I don't see any point in filling out a form to myself. However, as I said above, the audit procedures don't yet look at the bishop's electronic approval. So I still have the bishop sign each bill.

I don't scan fast offering expense receipts. I use paper receipts. That's because you still have to use checks for payments to non-members. When you scan receipts and print a check you have to have two approvers before you can actually print the check. And then you need two signatures on the check after you print. So unless you have another approver available when you're preparing expenses you have to first enter the expenses, wait for another approver to approve them, then later print the checks and then find someone to sign the checks. If you use paper receipts you can just enter the expenses, print the checks and then have another check signer review the documentation and sign the check at the same time.

Personally I only scan electronic reimbursements. In that case I can enter the expense and scan the receipts by myself and then the other approver (usually the bishop) can approve it at their convenience and after that everything else happens on it's own.

lfura wrote:5. Are we still supposed to keep some sort of paper documentation for our 6 month financial audits? or with this new system is everything supposed to be totally online? If I don't keep paper documentation do I still need to keep the check stubs? Our normal procedure was to attach the top two parts of the printed check stub to the expense form that the member (if reimbursement) or Bishop (if fast offering expense) filled out and then placed the detail behind it and would staple it all together, hole punch it and put it in a binder. But if we don't need an expense form or if we just scan the expense form do we not need to keep anything and can safely dispose of the check stub section?

I've been through 2 audits since we started using the new LCR system. During the first audit the audit tools and processes had no knowledge of electronic receipts. But during the most recent audit the audit tool had direct access to the electronic receipts so the auditor could review them. However, the images were reduced from their original size and had no way to magnify them (at least that we could figure out). So we had a couple cases where the auditor couldn't read a receipt and I just pulled out the paper copy so he could check. So, personally, I'm keeping paper receipts for everything for the time being. I assume the audit process will change further and that may affect whether paper receipts remain useful.

As for check stubs, I expect those should be retained under the general financial records retention policy. But they aren't necessary for the audit. The auditor how as the ability to view an image of the actual check itself.

lfura wrote:6. Now in the case of this fast offering check I just wrote the system let me enter the expense and then print the check before it went in to the bishops queue to review and approve? Wouldn't he need to approve it before I wrote the check? What would happen if I wrote the check, signed it, had him sign it and then later when he is on his computer he for whatever reason rejected it? The check is already in the mail?

The rule has always been that the bishop must approve all expenses before they are paid. But that approval can be verbal with a physical approval recorded later after the payment is made. The same applies here. You should never make a payment that the bishop hasn't given his approval on. As long as you do it shouldn't be an issue. If that doesn't happen and the bishop rejects an expense then you're going to have an audit exception and you'll have to void the check and/or ask for the recipient to return the payment. Of course, if the bishop signed the original check and then rejects the expense, then the audit exception is really on him since he shouldn't have signed it if he didn't know what it was for.

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kd7mha
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Re: Clarification needed regarding entering expenses in LCR vs MLS

Postby kd7mha » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:41 am

From the help center

In the middle is the check stub. Do not detach it from the check but fold it over before mailing or distributing.
There are 11 types of people. Those who understand Gray Code and those that don't.

scgallafent
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Re: Clarification needed regarding entering expenses in LCR vs MLS

Postby scgallafent » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:49 am

lfura wrote:Is this a problem other people are having in regards to being unable to enter an expense from an iPhone?

I have successfully entered expenses from Android devices and iOS devices. I have attached receipt images from an Android device. I haven't tried from an iOS device.

lfura wrote:2. Are wards supposed to buy their own scanners or is the church planning to provide an official model?

I do not know of any plans to provide scanners. If we receive paper receipts, we process the paper receipts and store them with our finance records. About 75% of our ward expenses are submitted electronically, so we do not have any paper records for those payments -- everything is stored in LCR Finance.

For mobile devices, Office Lens does a good job of capturing and cropping the image. We also receive plenty of receipts that are just pictures of the receipt sitting on a table.

eblood66 wrote:Personally, I scan the expense request form. Currently the audit instructions don't use the Bishop's online approval checkmark as evidence of Bishop's approval so I make sure I scan whatever has his signature which is usually the request form. If the audit process changes in the future then that may not be as important.

We no longer use an expense request form. Receipts are emailed to the auxiliary president who forwards them to the finance clerk as their approval. In those cases, we only have electronic documentation for the expense.

The bishop notes his approval directly on any bills for fast offering payments before he gives them to the finance clerk.

mwtaylor101
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Re: Clarification needed regarding entering expenses in LCR vs MLS

Postby mwtaylor101 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:48 pm

Related question, when you process electronic receipts and/or approval forms, how are you typically receiving them? Are these being emailed to the clerk or the bishop by auxiliary leaders?


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