Thursday, August 16, 2007

Understanding Bank Reconciliation

Bookkeeping is fundamental in running your business in an informed way. It is important that you have an organized, transparent and updated bookkeeping system in place. One of the ways to keep track of your company's books is bank reconciliation.

What is bank reconciliation?
The procedure of comparing the account balance given by the bank with that of the company's book of accounts and explaining any discrepancy is bank reconciliation. The discrepancy in the balances may be due to the different timing of registering the data in the bank's books and in your company's books. This discrepancy is normal and is rectified automatically within small time. However, sometimes the discrepancy is due to an error, which has to be rectified manually and to catch this error you need bank reconciliation. Companies generally do bank reconciliation at the end of each month.

Reasons for maintaining bank reconciliation
Regular monthly bank reconciliation keeps your company's financial records clear and updated. You never build up an erroneous backlog. Also, you can understand your accounting status all the time. It is important that you have a prompt and reliable communication system with the bank so that you keep your records accurate.

Bank Reconciliation Statement
It is better to prepare a bank reconciliation statement by yourself so that you are able to figure out the causes of discrepancy.

Structure: The statement is divided into two sections. The right section reflects your bookkeeping for bank transactions and the left side reflects the bank's records for your account with them.

Heading: The heading of the statement will have the bank's complete name with the date of reconciliation.

Items: The first item of the statement is your opening balance just before the reconciliation. Check each item of the statement further for the following. If the transaction is missing from you our company's account and it is on the bank's record then you need to enter it in your books. If the bank section has missed it then enter it under their section. If the missing transaction belongs to the bank such as any fees deductions or interest credits, then it is an error at the bank's end and it will rectify the error.

Adjustments: Once the reasons for the discrepancy have been figured out then you should include the missing information in journal entries.

Items of Bank's Statement
Credit: Banks may credit some interest periodically into your account as applicable on the account balance.

Debit: These will be any of the bank charges on your account as applicable.

Erroneous credit: Any incorrectly placed credit in your account is booked under this head. Sometimes, the bank makes a deposit in the wrong account.

Items on Your Account Books
Unpresented check: Your Company's books should record any checks issue immediately at the time of issue. The bank will, however, record it when the check is presented to it.

Software for bank reconciliation
There is a lot of bank reconciliation software readily available in the market. This software is compatible with all the latest accounting packages. The data is automatically imported, checked and reported through the software making your job easier.

David Gass is President of Business Credit Services, Inc. His company publishes afree weekly e-newsletter on Small Business Consulting at their web site

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