Posts Tagged ‘S&T’

S&T Making Cents newsletter: November 2019

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Tweaking the TAR

When the beginning of the calendar year rolls around, the SMART Constitution requires the Treasurer’s Annual Report (TAR) to be presented to the membership and then filed.

The procedure kicks off when trustees assemble in January for this annual audit of a Local’s finances and review the receipts and disbursements for the prior year before signing the report. The report is then presented at the local’s next meeting and copies are filed and submitted to the SMART TD offices before a Feb. 20 deadline.

With the implementation of WinStabs-NMR, the TAR will be undergoing changes effective with the 2019 report. Historically, the TAR simply generated a high-level financial overview of the Local’s books, but over the last several years the Field Audit Support Team has seen an increase in locals that get behind on other required business-related duties. This revised TAR will flag items that are not getting completed.

Local Treasurers can work along with Local Trustees to review these items and formulate a plan for fixing them as part of the report to the SMART TD office. Additionally, this will allow the Field Audit Support Team to identify Locals needing additional support at an earlier stage so that catching up and getting into compliance is not a monumental undertaking.

The revised TAR will be more detailed and include other action items that should be reviewed and signed off on by Local Trustees. The new report will show a better, more detailed position of the Local’s fiscal outlook along with its compliance with SMART constitutional and federal requirements.

With the addition of these changes, more information will be necessary to gather to generate the 2019 TAR. Treasurers can start preparing now by reviewing or gathering the following:

  • The revised TAR will only be available via the next WinStabs-NMR version release. There is no longer a paper form. If you have not yet started using WinStabs-NMR, contact the Field Audit Support Team IMMEDIATELY.
  • Prepare a list of all meeting dates: Was there a quorum? Were minutes recorded?
  • Prepare a list of physical assets that belong to the Local: e.g. computers, file cabinets, desks, etc.
  • Have the Local’s EFTPS PIN handy. The IRS prefers Locals to deposit federal taxes through EFTPS.gov. If the local doesn’t already have an account, there is a guide here to assist with enrolling.
  • Check that the Treasurer information in WinStabs-NMR is accurate and current.
  • Review LCA Maintenance under Process eBill in WinStabs-NMR. There should be one or more entries for each LCA for each eBill worked.
  • Update the Task List which can be found in the Reports Tab in WinStabs-NMR.
  • Keep checking statements and savings statements, if applicable, reconciled monthly in WinStabs-NMR.
  • Keep current with eBill submission. eBills that remain late as of Dec. 31 will be documented on the revised TAR.

IMPORTANT: Closing out
the 2019 eBill

All treasurers should make every attempt to complete all 2019 eBills before December 31, 2019. All bill adjustments to ANY 2019 eBill must be made prior to March 31st, 2020. Treasurers will not be able to add any dues to collect or dues to return after March 31st.

On April 1, 2020, treasurers will be locked out of making any additional adjustments to 2019 eBills.



Important dates

• Nov. 20 — Monthly billing due to SMART TD office.

• Dec. 14 — Deposit CT-1 and Form 941 taxes. Quarterly 940 taxes (FICA only) also must be deposited.

• Dec. 20 — Monthly billing due to SMART TD office.

• Dec. 27 — Deadline to reserve discounted room rate for K.C. workshops.

• Jan. 20 — Registration deadline for Kansas City, Mo., workshops.

• Jan. 27-29 — S&T workshop in Kansas City, Mo.

• Jan. 30 — Local president/trustee workshop in Kansas City, Mo.

• By January 31 — Quarterly Form 940 (FUTA) taxes must be deposited (FICA only).

https://www.eftps.gov/eftps

For more info: SMART TD guide to paying and reporting Form 940 tax

• By Feb. 20 — Treasurer’s annual report (TAR) for 2019 and Local President Financial Oversight forms are due to the TD office.

Questions
about the S&T’s roles and responsibilities?

Visit the S&T Tools page on the SMART TD website for guidance on getting the job done!

Still not sure?

Call the Field Support Help Desk at 216-227-5444. Drop-in help desk hours are 9a-5p (Central Time) M-W-F. Help desk appointments can be scheduled in advance for Tuesdays, Thursdays, weekends, and evenings. Call or email fieldauditor@group.
smart-union.org
to schedule an appointment.


Training opportunities for Local officers

Workshop offerings are being finalized for S&Ts who are interested in learning the ins-and-outs of running the finances of your Local.

Among the topics to be discussed are:

  • Using TD Connect
  • WinStabs
  • Creating required reports
  • Financial pitfalls to avoid

The first workshops will take place in Kansas City from Jan. 27 to 30, 2020. The first workshop — Jan. 27 to 29 — is intensely focused on the role of the Secretary, Treasurer or S&T in managing a Local’s finances. A second workshop on Jan. 30 is for Local Presidents and Trustees to better understand their role in the Local from a fiscal perspective.

Additional workshops in 2020 are in the process of being finalized in Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and New Orleans as well as one planned during the Cleveland Regional Meeting in August.

Details and registration information for all workshops will be posted to the SMART TD website as well as emailed out. Don’t miss out on this chance to expand or refresh your knowledge of the duties of your office!


About the Field Audit Support team

So what’s the Field Audit Support Team about?

We’ve been conditioned throughout our lives to tighten up anytime the word “audit” is used because it brings up thoughts of sitting across from an IRS tax collector being hassled and then owing gobs of money if our personal returns are reviewed.

And yes, IRS audits can bring stress and the possibility of penalty because of financial missteps.

But even though you see “Audit” in our name, the SMART TD Field Audit Support Team is in your corner. Our mission is to help you to get your Local’s books in order, to keep accurate records and to help your Local’s finances stay out of the crosshairs of any number of agencies: the IRS, the Department of Labor or the Railroad Retirement Board.

We realize the kind of stress that these responsibilities can create, and we are here to SUPPORT you if you need assistance in working through any fiscal concerns or difficulties.

“The big thing is that we want all of the locals to establish compliance with all federal regulations and with the requirements set forth by the SMART Constitution,” Field Auditor John Purcell says.

If the SMART requirements are followed, then it stands to follow that state, local and municipal tax regulations will be complied with as well as those on the federal level, Purcell said.

“We’re here to help you deal with the headaches and the heartaches that come with all of these scattered compliance issues with the end goal of getting your local into 100% compliance,” he said. “The message is — we’re here to help.”

The Field Audit Support Team is on your side and we’re here to provide financial help FAST to your Local. Call us at 216-227-5444 or email fieldauditor@group.smart-union.org for any assistance you might need.


Ask an Auditor

Q: WinStabs is giving me a message to reconcile my bank statement before I print my OE1a. I have already reconciled my statement — why is it telling me to do that?

A: It is simply a reminder to make sure you have reconciled your statement and that it is balanced before you print the report to assure the information on the report is accurate.

If you have reconciled your statement, simply ignore the message and continue.

Note that you will get a similar message when you pull up your IRS Form 941 worksheets.

To submit a question for the Ask an Auditor feature, email the Field Audit Support Team at fieldauditor@group.smart-union.org.

Local officers: Deadline to order timebooks is Sept. 16

In order to alleviate significant expense and wasteful distribution of timebooks, all locals must complete a timebook order form for the year 2020 and return it to the SMART TD office by Monday, Sept. 16, 2019.

It’s important that the form is completed by a local officer, even if the local does not desire to receive the books (just note “0” on the quantity requested line and return). All locals will be contacted if a form is not received to ensure accurate ordering this fall. You may return the form — available on the TD website — by any one of the methods listed below.

Fax to: 216-227-5208 – ATTN: Dora Wolf
Email to: dwolf@smart-union.org

Via mail to:
SMART TD
ATTN: Dora Wolf
24950 Country Club Blvd, Ste. 340
North Olmsted, OH 44070 – 5333

A confirmation email will be sent to acknowledge receipt of your order – if you do not receive the email within 10 days of your order being submitted, please contact Dora by calling the TD office at 216-228-9400.

S&T Making Cents newsletter: December 2018

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Meet your Membership Representative teams

SMART Transportation Division has restructured at its headquarters to help assist Local Treasurers with the implementation and use of TD Connect and the eBill system.

As part of this process, a team of Membership Representatives has been assigned to provide specialized service to your local. These staff members will work to familiarize themselves with each of the locals they serve. With time and interaction with you, they will be able to provide specialized and efficient service to assist with your challenges as a Local Treasurer.

Beginning in January 2019, your Membership Representative team will be your go-to resource for any and all questions you may have as a Local Treasurer. If your Membership Representative is unable to answer your questions, they will escalate it to the appropriate person or department.

These assignments will be communicated to locals through introductory letters sent out with the December mailings or you can see them on the SMART TD website. Your team members will be available to help with any questions and concerns as the transition to TD Connect and the new version of WinStabs progresses.

Team members are:

Team A: Amanda Casale and Paula Grant
Amanda: 216-227-5239
Paula: 216-227-5268
Team email: MRteamA@group.smart-union.org

Team B: Kim Dissell and Greg Hengesbaugh
Kim: 216-227-5295
Greg: 216-227-5203
Team email: MRteamB@group.smart-union.org

Team C: Mike Vega
Phone: 216-227-5266
Team email: MRteamC@group.smart-union.org

Your team members will be in the SMART TD office between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST. While we encourage you to do your best to contact your Membership Representative during office hours, SMART TD also is offering limited after-hours support to treasurers from Jan. 14, 2019, through Feb. 28, 2019. The after-hours support hotline is 216-227-5280, and it will be operational 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. EST Monday through Thursday and noon to 4 p.m. EST on Saturdays.

Follow this link for the full list of assigned Membership Representatives.

Questions
about the S&T’s roles and responsibilities?

Visit the S&T Tools page on the SMART TD website for guidance on getting the job done!

Still not sure?

Call the Field Support Help Desk at 216-227-5444. Drop-in help desk hours are 9a-5p (Central Time) M-W-F. Help desk appointments can be scheduled in advance for Tuesdays, Thursdays, weekends, and evenings. Call or email fieldauditor@group.
smart-union.org
to schedule an appointment.


Important dates

• Jan. 2 — First credentials for TD Connect are released.

• Jan. 7 to 9 — TD Connect workshop in Kansas City, Mo.

• Jan. 14 — First eBill is released on new system.

• Jan. 18 — Hotel registration deadline for Salt Lake City TD Connect workshop.

• Jan. 21 — Registration deadline for TD Connect workshop in Minneapolis, Minn.

• By January 31 — Quarterly Form 940 (FUTA) taxes must be deposited (FICA only):

https://www.eftps.gov/eftps

For more info: SMART TD guide to paying and reporting Form 940 tax

• By Feb. 20 — Treasurer’s annual report (TAR) for 2018 and Local President Financial Oversight forms are due to the TD office.


Two 2019 TD Connect workshops remain open!

The TD Connect workshops held over the autumn all filled to capacity and offered an overview to local S&Ts about the changes coming with the new eBill system. (Click on links to register):

  • January 7, 8 & 9, 2019 – Kansas City, Mo. at the Drury Inn and Suites, 7900 Northwest Tiffany Springs, Kansas City, MO 64153. WORKSHOP FILLED — waitlist available.
  • January 28, 29, & 30, 2019 – Minneapolis, Minn.at the Minneapolis United Labor Center, 312 Central Ave. S.E. Minneapolis, MN 55414. WORKSHOP FILLED — waitlist available.
  • February 11, 12 & 13, 2019 – Salt Lake City, Utah at the Double Tree by Hilton Salt Lake City Airport, 5151 Wiley Post Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84116. The workshop will be in the Bryce Room. Registration deadline is Feb. 4, 2019.

Workshop sessions will run from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on all three days. Click here for a flier with specific workshop details.

Space in these workshops is limited and you’re encouraged to register well in advance to secure your spot.

For additional information about these workshops or to be placed on a waitlist, call Alyssa Patchin at 216-227-5281 or email apatchin@smart-union.org.

Rolling into TD Connect

Step 1: Remit your December 2018 paper bill to the TD office.

Step 2: The TD office will supply TD Connect credentials for all Local officers and Local chairpersons by email and mail within two business days of receiving your last paper bill, but no earlier than Jan. 2.

Step 3: Close out your 2018 books in WinStabs 5.09.

  • Monthly taxes for November must have been paid by Dec. 15. Also, it’s recommended to pay December taxes by Dec. 28 to make closing out the year easier.
  • It’s recommended that outstanding checks older than 90 days be brought back as a returned check in WinStabs along with notifying the payee and financial institution. Use caution on applying a stop payment as it may result in a bank charge. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please call the help desk at 216-227-5444.

Step 4: Upload your 2018 year-end data from WinStabs 5.09 into TD Connect.

Step 5: Work your January 2019 eBill in TD Connect.

Step 6: Download WinStabs NMR from your Local home page in TD Connect. (see the “Installation of WinStabs-NMR guide”)

Step 7: Have member variances that you would like to request to be rolled over into eBill?

  • Complete this form
  • You have until March 30, 2019, to request a member variance rollover.

Websites hosted on utu.org domain are being retired

If your local is one of the 30 or so that have sites hosted on the utu.org web domain and the site has been updated in the last two years, you should have received an email from TD Senior Communications Coordinator Ben Nagy in late November notifying you of the impending retirement of these sites.

Effective Jan. 2, 2019, the utu.org-hosted sites will no longer be able to be updated and will be effectively frozen before being taken offline sometime in the near future. This is due to computer platform changes that have occurred in the years since those sites were introduced.

Locals who have one of these sites are encouraged to contact Nagy at 216-227-5283 or bnagy@smart-union.org to discuss Union Hall, a free web hosting tool and platform provided to SMART TD by the AFL-CIO.

If your local is interested in establishing its own website, the Union Hall platform could help get you and your local up and running at no charge. The AFL-CIO offers personalized training and the website setup takes less than a week. To get the process started, contact Nagy in the TD office at the phone number and email listed above.


Ask an Auditor

Q: I’m getting ready for the annual January audit of my local’s books. What do I need to do to be prepared for this process?

The annual audit (also known as the Treasurer’s Annual Report or TAR) is required by the SMART Constitution. Local trustees are to assemble in January and review the receipts and disbursements for the prior year before signing the report. The report is then presented at the local’s next meeting and copies are filed and submitted to the SMART TD offices before the Feb. 20 deadline.

The key step to getting the TAR ready is to ensure that all finances are in balance, which include all your Local’s checking, savings and investment accounts. All 12 bank statements for the entire fiscal year running January 1 to December 31 of the previous year need to be reconciled one at a time, and each must be in balance.

After balancing your accounts, use WinStabs to review any outstanding items that need to be resolved such as checks or disbursements that did not clear before Dec. 31. After these are balanced, WinStabs will notify you that the account is balanced and you are then ready to print out your report for the trustees to review and sign.

Local Trustees must understand and agree with what is in the report in order to sign it. After the three Trustees have signed, the report should be mailed to the SMART TD offices to the attention of the Field Audit and Support Department or scanned and emailed to Alyssa Patchin (apatchin@smart-union.org).

Additional details about filing the TAR are available on the SMART TD website in “SMART TD Guide: Preparing the TAR for Trustee Review.”

To submit questions to Ask an Auditor, email fieldauditor@group.smart-union.org.

S&T Making Cents newsletter: October 2018

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Local S&Ts gathered Oct. 8 to 10 in New Haven, Conn., for the first of five workshops about the TD Connect eBill system.

There’s still a chance to attend
a TD Connect workshop!

  TD Connect system workshops are planned on the following dates in select locations (click on links to register):

  • November 12, 13 & 14, 2018 – Birmingham, Ala.SESSION FULL – REGISTRATION CLOSED, SEE WAITLIST INFO BELOW.
  • November 27, 28 & 29, 2018 – Rosemead, Calif. SESSION FULL – REGISTRATION CLOSED, SEE WAITLIST INFO BELOW.

  Workshop sessions will run from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on all three days. Click here for a flier with specific workshop details.

  Space in these workshops is limited. A wait list is available for full workshops.

  For additional information about these workshops, call Alyssa Patchin at 216-227-5281 or email apatchin@smart-union.org.

How to try out TD Connect

  Local S&Ts:
TD Connect is on its way, and you can get an idea of how the new eBill system is going to make recordkeeping for your local easier by checking it out early. Fill out this form to register for access to the demonstration version of TD Connect, which will allow you to try out the system.


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Be ready to use the new eBill system:

  • All 2018 paper (aka green-bar) bills must be submitted to the SMART TD office prior to gaining access to eBill. We recommend working through your December 2018 bill as soon as possible. Do not wait until the December 20th deadline!
  • Local Treasurers must work to clear outstanding member variances.
  • Local Treasurers must work to develop a system between your members, local chairmen, local president and local treasurer to gather dates required to process E-49 statuses.

Questions
about the S&T’s roles and responsibilities?

Visit the S&T Tools page on the SMART TD website for guidance on getting the job done!

Still not sure?

Call the Field Support Help Desk at 216-227-5444. Drop-in help desk hours are 9a-5p (Central Time) M-W-F. Help desk appointments can be scheduled in advance for Tuesdays, Thursdays, weekends, and evenings. Call or email fieldauditor@group.
smart-union.org
to schedule an appointment.


Important dates coming up

Important dates

• By October 31 — Quarterly Form 940 (FUTA) taxes must be deposited (FICA only):

https://www.eftps.gov/eftps/

For more info: SMART TD guide to paying and reporting Form 940 tax

• By October 31 — Form 941 quarterly tax return must be filed with the IRS

https://www.eftps.gov/eftps/

For more info: SMART TD guide to paying and reporting Form 941 tax

• Nov. 5 — Registration closes for the Nov. 12 to 14 TD Connect workshop in Birmingham, Ala.

• Nov. 5 to 7 — TD Connect workshop, session 1, in Kansas City, Mo.

• Nov. 7 to 9 — TD Connect workshop, session 2, in Kansas City, Mo.

• Nov. 12 — Registration closes for Nov. 27 to 29 TD Connect workshop in Rosemead, Calif.

• By Nov. 14 — Quarterly Form OE-1a due at SMART TD office.

For more info: SMART TD guide to reporting Form OE-1a


WinStabs is being freshened up

  A new version of WinStabs is coming in late December and coincides with the TD Connect eBill system’s debut.

  One major change for the new WinStabs, known as WinStabs-NMR, over previous versions involves the elimination of the billing process and member records, which go over to TD Connect. A single database will now house multiple years of data in WinStabs, and that will make it easier for S&Ts to access past reports if needed.

  Field Auditor Justin Fougerousse, a former treasurer himself, helped to develop and streamline WinStabs-NMR, which will now track savings and investment accounts to improve the accuracy of year-end and monthly reporting to membership.

  “WinStabs is more of a financial tool now,” Fougerousse said. “The old four-step billing process has been removed and there will be a single entry for the billing each month that will be entered from TD Connect data by the treasurer.”

  WinStabs software runs on Windows computers, specifically those with Microsoft Access or Access runtime (32-bit) 2010 or newer installed. Fougerousse recommends the use of Office 365, but the runtime version is available.

  Support for the program will be provided through an email link as well as the Field Support Help Desk at 216-227-5444. Documentation also will be accessible via the SMART TD website.


For a backup solution, look to the cloud, not the thumb

  There’s a better way to back up your important data, especially when it comes to your Local’s records.

  Cloud computing technology has made it easier than ever to ensure that you don’t get that sinking feeling when you’ve “lost everything” because the unexpected happened and a computer or device has failed.

  While thumb drives are inexpensive and a super portable means for backing up your data, there are drawbacks. Thumb drives are small and can be easily lost or forgotten. If left in a shirt or pants pocket, a thumb drive can end up going through a cycle in the washing machine and get ruined. And while cheap and readily available, thumb drives are not the most durable products. Wear-and-tear does happen, and they can fail without warning.

  This brings us to the idea of cloud computing, which refers to multiple computers, known as servers, that are linked together and accessible via the Internet for use by others. Cloud computing has enabled big advances in how the Internet works – if you watch streaming video or listen to a music stream online, you’ve taken advantage of cloud computing.

  With all those servers out there, there is plenty of free space available online for you to upload important files that would be accessible to you anywhere. That way, if something unexpected happens to your computer or device, you’ll have peace of mind and not have to be like this guy.

  “No matter which path S&Ts take, cloud or local, backing up data is one of the most important tasks,” Field Auditor Justin Fougerousse said. “This has always been done via USB flash (thumb) drives. Now, if a treasurer would like, he or she simply can back up their data to the cloud.”

  He’s seen enough cases where a simple backup would have saved hours of work and anxiety.

  “A treasurer called me and told me that the Department of Labor is inquiring why the 2017 LM report due in March wasn’t filed,” Fougerousse said. “The treasurer said the local had a computer crash and lost all their 2017 data, then tried to rebuild it, but the bank statements would not balance.

  “This made me have to go back into 2016 and move forward. It’s time spent that shouldn’t be since a two-minute process could have saved this.”

  Some reliable cloud services include Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive (which comes free with Office 365) or Dropbox, just to name a few. The key is to be systematic and establish a habit of saving your files often, including your backups, because you never know if or when a big crash will come.


Ask an Auditor

Q: What happens to my 2018 (or older) WinStabs data in 2019?

  2018 and older WinStabs will still need to be kept as a backup because it is still a “local record.” Locals must use WinStabs version 5.09 (released in January 2018) to open 2018 and older data. Beginning in January 2019, locals will use WinStabs-NMR, version 1.0, to manage data from 2019 and on. WinStabs-NMR is a continuous database that will carry on from year to year that will be an easier way to keep a local’s records intact.

  Basically, locals should have WinStabs version 5.09 to open their 2013-2018 data backups on the computer, and the new edition, WinStabs-NMR, version 1.0, will house everything from 2019 going forward.

  To submit questions to Ask an Auditor, email fieldauditor@group.smart-union.org.

Local officers: Deadline to order time books is Sept. 15

In order to alleviate significant expense and wasteful distribution of time books, all locals must complete a time book order form and return it to the SMART TD office by Sept. 15.

It’s important that the form is completed by a local officer, even if the local does not desire to receive the books (just note “0” on the quantity requested line and return). All locals will be contacted if a form is not received to ensure accurate ordering this fall. You may return the form — available on the TD website — by any one of the methods listed below.

Fax to: 216-227-5208 – ATTN: Dora Wolf
Email to: dwolf@smart-union.org

Via mail to:
SMART TD
ATTN: DORA WOLF
24950 Country Club Blvd, Ste. 340
North Olmsted, OH 44070 – 5333

A confirmation email will be sent to acknowledge receipt of your order – if you do not receive the email within 10 days of your order being submitted, please contact Dora by calling the TD office at 216-228-9400.