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Cancelling An Expense

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:50 pm
by EarloftheWest
Our Ward is in the process of dipping our toes into using the Website for expense reimbursement.
Today, our Ward Clerk took a photo of the expense receipts and created an expense entry on the website for our Ward member.
He approved it and I as the 1st counselor approved it.
We wanted to make a slight adjustment to the dollar amount but noticed that when it got to the Bishop's approval status, there was no way for anyone to cancel the expense.
Or, there was no way for the Bishop to "disapprove" the expense. It only gave him the option to approve.
Is there a way to cancel an expense pending for the Bishop?
Thanks!

Re: Cancelling An Expense

Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:41 am
by eblood66
Once an expense has been approved by two people it is processed immediately. The two people are supposed to make sure that the bishop has verbally approved the expense before making their approvals. The bishop's approval is just a permanent record of his verbal approval and it doesn't delay the expense and there is no (easy) way of cancelling the expense after they have approved it. So the only thing the bishop's approval does is determine whether you get an audit exception or not.

Now, if it's been very soon after the 2nd approval it might be possible to contact the GSC and they might be able to cancel it. But there is no guarantee of that.

Re: Cancelling An Expense

Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:57 am
by EarloftheWest
eblood66 wrote:Once an expense has been approved by two people it is processed immediately. The two people are supposed to make sure that the bishop has verbally approved the expense before making their approvals. The bishop's approval is just a permanent record of his verbal approval and it doesn't delay the expense and there is no (easy) way of cancelling the expense after they have approved it. So the only thing the bishop's approval does is determine whether you get an audit exception or not.

Now, if it's been very soon after the 2nd approval it might be possible to contact the GSC and they might be able to cancel it. But there is no guarantee of that.
Thank you very much for this information. It's essential.

I've been involved in finances in our Ward/stake for over ten years as a finance clerk, Ward clerk, stake auditor and now as a counselor.

Our typical paper workflow is this...
The person requesting the reimbursement fills out a paper request.
The organization head signs it and turns it in to the Bishop.
The Bishop signs the form and gives it to the finance clerk for payment. (This counts as evidence that the Bishop approved the expense prior to payment.)

Our hope for using the website was that we could begin approving expenses without the form and that processing expenses outside of the clerk's office becomes a possibility. Based on what our clerk and I did yesterday, and based on what you shared above, the website version doesn't require a Bishop's "signature" as the final approval prior to payment. (This also explains why when we do reimbursement via MLS, the Bishop is getting a notification and has to go on to the website to approve the expenses that were processed via MLS.)

It sounds to me, that even if we were to process reimbursements via the website, that we would still have to maintain our paper process to show Bishop's approval prior to a reimbursement being made.

Is my assessment above correct?

It sounds like the website is simply a replacement for MLS expense processing not a change in workflow.

Thanks!

Re: Cancelling An Expense

Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:11 am
by drepouille
I have asked similar questions of my stake clerk and audit committee chairman, and have received no guidance yet. I asked them if the auditor would record an audit exception if we do not upload a signed expense form. No guidance yet. So if the auditor records an exception, I will show him the email I sent to the stake, and let them work it out at that level.

Re: Cancelling An Expense

Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:22 am
by eblood66
I'd say both yes and no. One way to adjust to the new LCR support is to keep the same workflow and just use electronic reimbursements as just an alternative to printing a check.

However, there are other options. If feasible in your unit, you can ask that requesters emails their requests to you with a CC to the bishop. The bishop can then provide his 'verbal' approval by responding to the email. This is mostly the same workflow but with an alternative communication mechanism.

In our unit we basically have a policy that the bishop is almost always the second approver. If he is the second approver then it automatically records his additional approval as well. If anyone else needs to be the 2nd approver then they have to either verify that the uploaded documentation includes the bishops signature already or talk to or text the bishop to get the 'verbal' approval. But so far we've never had to do that with an electronic reimbursement because it's so easy for the bishop to do the approval himself and he can do it from most anywhere on is phone nowadays. With this workflow we don't have to get his signature beforehand but he does have to review the documentation himself.

If you search the forums a bit you should be able to find other workflows that people are using. Several people have described theirs.

But note that there appears to be a new system for submitting reimbursement requests electronically in beta test. We have no idea when or if this will go live but it will likely have a bigger effect on workflows.

Re: Cancelling An Expense

Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:24 am
by lajackson
EarloftheWest wrote:It sounds to me, that even if we were to process reimbursements via the website, that we would still have to maintain our paper process to show Bishop's approval prior to a reimbursement being made.
You need the bishops approval, and the electronic system provides that. Ideally, the bishop will approve expenses before they are paid. We do this verbally (or the bishop has initialed the reimbursement request). But the auditor just needs to see that the bishop has approved the payment. No paper required if the electronic system is used.

Re: Cancelling An Expense

Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:25 am
by eblood66
drepouille wrote:I have asked similar questions of my stake clerk and audit committee chairman, and have received no guidance yet. I asked them if the auditor would record an audit exception if we do not upload a signed expense form.
The audit question doesn't ask if there is a signed expense for but only asks if the bishop has approved the expense. And if the bishop has marked the expense as approved in LCR then that question is automatically marks as yes in the audit. I don't know if the auditor can go back and change that answer or not.

Re: Cancelling An Expense

Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:57 am
by davesudweeks
Per the handbook and finance instructions, the Bishop must approve each expense. There is no requirement that that approval be in writing. Our old process included the paper form with signatures from the organization head and bishop. We still use that on rare occasions. Most of the time the receipts now come electronic from the organization head to the bishop or clerk and they are entered via LCR. Paper receipts are usually scanned/photographed and loaded in LCR as if they were received electronically because it makes the audit and other processes much easier (especially for AHC reimbursements).

Personally I ("used to" - released as clerk yesterday) would print from LCR checks that were loaded through LCR and print from MLS checks that were loaded through MLS. Due to the above scenario, nearly all ward's our reimbursements are processed through LCR now.