How to Reconcile an Account

For any organization, it is important to ensure that all accounting numbers and reports are correct. All monetary transactions, inbound and outbound should add up or legal trouble will not be far away. All accounts of the organization must be corroborated and match. For this, account reconciliation is required.

What Is Account Reconciliation?

Account reconciliation is a process by which recorded transactions are compared for ensuring that the account records match up. These transactions can be for one or multiple financial accounts and they are compared against monthly statements of a financial institution like banks or other accounts.

The aim of account reconciliation is to ensure that the balances in the different accounts are identical. It also helps in organizing the documentation pertaining to the different transactions and accounts so as to simplify the effort for external auditors.

How Do You Reconcile Accounts?

Account reconciliation can be done manually by the bookkeepers of an organization. Alternatively, the accountants may choose to use finance software to reconcile accounts. The later method is typically preferred due to their convenience and the ease with which the reconciliation can be performed. Be that as it may, an understanding of the process of how to reconcile accounts is beneficial.

To start, the account register must be compared to the bank statement or other financial statements. Each deposit and payment in the register should be checked as soon as it matches the statement. If software is being used for the reconciliation process, the items can be checked easily with a click.

In the next step, the charges, checks and ATM transactions, which have been recorded but not listed on the account statement, must be identified. These items should be deducted from the balance of the statement. This process will be automated by the software, reducing the time required. Some of the items to keep an eye on include ATM service charges, check printing, overdraft and insufficient funds.

Account credits and deposits that are yet to be recorded into the account by the institution must be discovered and added to the financial balance. Again, this step will be handled by the financial software being used, if any. In the case of an interest-bearing account, the interest may have to be added if the reconciliation is being done after the statement date.

Errors should be uncommon. However, if they do exist, they need to be adjusted in the balance. Add or subtract them as necessary. More importantly, the bank and/or the department must be contacted and notified immediately of any errors.

Once these steps have been completed, the statement balance must now be identical to the balance of the records. If they are mismatched, it becomes imperative to thoroughly investigate and scrutinize all transactions to ascertain the adjustments necessary for balancing the records.

Importance of Reconcile Accounting

Reconciliation of accounts is essential for any organization. It is capable of preventing overdrafts in the case of cash accounts. In turn, the organization avoids fees for overdraft and over-limit, which tend to be rather high. There are several more reasons for regular account reconciliation.

Elimination of Accounting Errors: Accountants are only humans, which means mistakes may occur in spite of the best efforts. Reconciling the accounts on a monthly basis helps in ensuring that the organization’s books are the same as what the financial institution has by discovering the errors, if any. Errors, once identified, can be eliminated. Steps can be taken to prevent them from occurring again.

Correction of Business Deposits: Again, human error can cause deposit errors at the financial institution. This can negatively affect the business as well as the reputation of the organization. Such financial errors may also halt or affect regular business operations. Reconciliation ensures that such errors are avoided by correcting the accounts so that the right deposits are made.

Payment of Bills: Several organizations have automated the payments of their expenses and bills. This makes it necessary to monitor all transactions. The balances must be reconciled regularly to prevent missed payments and overdrafts.

Knowing how to reconcile the accounts is essential while running a business. Moreover, account reconciliation should be performed on a monthly basis for best results.

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