Financial Accounting Duties

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The register must keep a record of all funds received by the office.  The register is under a duty to use a system of accounting approved by the Comptroller of the Treasury.  T.C.A. § 9-2-102.  The register should enter in a cash journal (whether kept in book form or on computer media) the date of collection, the name of the person or entity from whom funds are collected, the amount collected, and an earmarking of these funds as a fee or tax.  The cash journal should also show disbursements from the account of the register to the county trustee or to the State Department of Revenue.

The accounting system is a double entry system which allows for verification of accounting accuracy through trial balances wherein debits and credits should equal.  At least two accounts are affected by each transaction.  Debits, or charges, increase the balance of asset and expenditure accounts and decrease the balance of liability, revenue, reserve, or surplus accounts.  Credits perform the opposite of debits.  Credits decrease the balance of asset and expenditure accounts, and increase the balance of liability, revenue, reserve, or surplus accounts.  The trial balance tests whether or not the total debit entries equal the total credit entries.  Depending upon whether or not the county has centralized accounting, either the register or the accounting officials use this information to form a general ledger, and from the general ledger an operating statement may be made which details the financial transactions of the office.  Operating statements are made on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.  Also, special reports may be requested by the county legislative body.

The complexity of the accounting performed by the register will depend in part on whether or not the register turns over all fees to the county trustee on a monthly basis, or whether only surplus fees are turned over quarterly.  The county legislative body, by resolution, determines whether or not the fees are remitted monthly, or whether excess fees are remitted quarterly.  T.C.A. § 8-22-104.  If the fees are remitted monthly, the only disbursements that a register will have will be to the county trustee and to the State Department of Revenue.  Conversely, if the register only remits excess fees quarterly to the county trustee, then the register will have disbursements for such items as the salary of the deputies and assistants as well as the register's salary.