Financial Management of Fee Offices

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The fee offices – clerks of court, county clerk, register of deeds, and trustee – may operate on the fee system (under which office expenses are paid out of fees received) or the salary system (under which office expenses are paid from the county general fund and fees are turned over monthly). Those under the salary system are included in the county budget and operate under the procedures described above. However, the financial operation of fee offices under the fee system is similar to financial procedures commonly used by a business. Each office establishes a checking account, receives payments, makes deposits, and issues checks and receipts. The accounting system is similar to that of a business using a double-entry, general ledger system. All fees and commissions must be accurately accounted for to comply with the duties of the office. Each officer must consult the statutes codified in the Tennessee Code Annotated for the prescribed duties of the office and follow the accounting standards as prescribed by the state comptroller of the treasury. T.C.A. §§ 8-11-104, 9-2-102 through 9-2-105. Most of the duties of each office are recorded in Volume 3 of the Tennessee Code Annotated, and it is recommended that each officeholder obtain a copy of this volume or at least a copy of the Section pertaining to the office.  Excess fees are turned over quarterly. T.C.A. § 8-22-104(a)(2).