It’s crucial that the transactions in your accounting system match your bank statements 100 percent. Otherwise, how else will you be able to guarantee that your profit reports are accurate? This is where an in-depth (regular) bank reconciliation comes into play within your retail business.
When matching bank statements to the transactions shown in your accounting system, you are guaranteeing that every deposit, withdrawal, check, bank payment and more are all accounted for correctly. You are also confirming that your balances on your statement for the particular time period match your accounting system too, ensuring all financial reports are accurate.
This is known as a bank reconciliation, and it’s a crucial step when it comes to retail and accounting.
If you have a large amount of transactions in a given period, then you may find a bank reconciliation does take quite a bit of time to do. But it’s a vital step, and definitely not one to cut corners on.
So we’ve put together this handy checklist to help you breeze through your next bank reconciliation:
Some accounting systems will request that your bank statement transactions are provided in a .csv format. You can then import this data into your system, ready for matching off against transactions in a given period. With a system like Brightpearl, there is the opportunity to use this method (we call it Bank Matching). Or, if running a complete Bank Reconciliation in Brightpearl, this step can be skipped as we automatically pull through transactions already in your accounting system for you based on your opening and closing dates.
If processing your reconciliations manually, this is a vital step so that you can enter the previous period’s closing balance as this period’s opening balance. However, accounting software should allow you to do reconciliations inside your system, so you should find that the balances are pulled automatically from the previous reconciled statement.
There are occasions within any business where some cash deposits will roll onto a different period for a bank reconciliation. This could happen if cash has been deposited in between statement publication dates. It’s useful to keep a note of these so that you know to look out for them on your next statement.
It’s very common for checks to take a while to clear, meaning it’s likely these will need to be reconciled in a different period. Jot these down and keep an eye out for them as they should appear on your next statement.
Not only is this step necessary so that you know exactly which statement each reconciliation is for, but this is also needed in most accounting systems to avoid any confusion or data corruption.
Before running the bank reconciliation, it’s wise to quickly double check the dates you’ve entered are correct. Your accounting system will pull transactions based on the dates you’ve chosen, so these should match your real-life bank statement.
Credit cards can be reconciled in the exact same way as bank accounts. The only difference will be the negative opening and closing balances, as credit cards count as debt.
To ensure you can find the transactions in your system to match them off against your bank statement, foreign currency transactions must be converted to your base currency. This is either a manual process, or your accounting system will do this automatically for you.
These are any transactions that haven’t yet been included in a previous reconciliation, such as cash and check deposits that took a while to clear.
This is simply the process by which you’re confirming the transactions on your bank statement have been entered (correctly) into your accounting system. Match them off like for like, and you should then be able to close your statement. If there are any issues, use the next few tasks to double check your transactions.
It’s possible that a transaction hasn’t yet been entered into your accounting system. Maybe an order hasn’t been invoiced? Or a cash deposit wasn’t recorded at the time. If this happens, simply enter a manual journal into your accounting system or locate the orders that need to be invoiced or paid.
Errors can always occur, and sometimes even banks themselves will process things incorrectly. The transactions in your system must match your real-life bank statements, so be sure to correct your system when needed.
After completing the previous couple of tasks, you should find that there are no more discrepancies. But if there are, use the difference in values as an indicator of what could be the source of the problem. The difference is simply the value that differs between your accounting system and bank statement. It could be that your bank statement doesn’t yet contain a transaction that your accounting system is trying to reconcile, so un-match it and move on.
As your accounting system is simply replicating what your real-life bank is telling you, the opening and closing balances must match one another. You won’t be able to close the reconciliation without the balances matching.
For most accounting systems, this should be a simple click of a button. When you do close the statement, it should feel satisfactory – like checking off an item on your to-do list.
With the help of these 15 tasks, you should fly through your next bank reconciliation, allowing you to spend more time on growing your business – good luck!
If you’ve found these tasks useful, we’ve put them together in a PDF for you to save or print out if you want to! Here’s a sneak peek:
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