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Understanding Account Reconciliation

Aug 17, 2007
When you confirm that the balance in your checkbook is in sync with your corresponding bank statement, it is known as account reconciliation.

Any record that you keep regarding your financial transactions with banks, credit card companies, or retail stores is known as an account. It is an arrangement between buyers and sellers in which payments are to be made in the future. The different forms of payment are checks, bills of exchange, and promissory notes. These are transferable, signed documents, which guarantee to pay the bearer a sum of money at a later date.

Purposes of Account Reconciliation
Account reconciliation makes available a suitable method for reconciling the accounts to the monthly financial reports produced by the Financial Records System (FRS). Account reconciliation helps you evaluate departmental account records in regards to the reports, which have been generated by the FRS. This helps you to better verify the accuracy of each account statement. The person in charge of each account should verify the account every month. Account reconciliation helps ensure accurate reports on the account. It helps to identify errors and inconsistencies in your accounting.

In order to perform the reconciliation most efficiently, you should be certain that the person in charge of an account maintains full and accurate records. It is your choice to maintain the records in a manual filing system or on a computer program. You can develop your own filing and record keeping system. It should be capable of providing an effective means of reconciling your accounts on a monthly basis. You can make use of the following files to make the reconciliation process easier.

Open Transaction Files: These files hold all source documents that you may have started for the account, but have not yet processed. Some common types of source documents are Distribution of Deposit forms (for cash receipts), Check Requests, Purchase Orders, Prepaid Purchase Orders, Interdepartmental Billing Forms, Merchandise Orders, and Travel Authorizations.

Pending Files: These files hold source documents that had some activities posted on the FRS report, but await further activities before they can be completed. These include Purchase Orders, Inter-departmental Billing Forms, Travel Authorizations and Travel Expense Reports.

Closed Transaction Files: These files hold the source documents that are fully processed in the FRS. You can always refer to the Records Retention Policy to establish how long documents must be maintained on file.

Monthly Reports: You receive these after the end of each month. The accounts must be reconciled to the monthly reports. The FBM090, Account Statement, and the FBM091 and Report of Transactions can be handed over to the person handling each account. You then compare the open transaction and pending files to the FBM091 and the Report of Transactions, which has a detailed list of transactions posted in a particular month. Make a comparison of the source documents with the report to find out if the encumbrance was properly established, adjusted, or canceled in the correct account and the correct object code.

Additional Help
Software is available to help you in reconciling your accounts in an automated fashion. Apart from providing you with all the help, they are reasonably priced as well.
About the Author
David Gass is President of Business Credit Services, Inc. His company publishes afree weekly e-newsletter on Small Business Consulting at their web site http://www.smallbusinessconsulting.com
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