Want to learn the bank recon process? Read on.
The bank reconciliation process is a financial management activity that ensures the accuracy and consistency of your company’s financial records with the bank’s records.
It involves comparing your internal accounting records, such as your general ledger, cash book, and bank statements, to identify any discrepancies or errors.
The bank reconciliation process contributes to financial control, transparency, and effective cash management within your organization.
1. Gathering Required Information
The initial step in the bank reconciliation process is for you to gather all the necessary information. This includes obtaining your bank statements for the relevant period, as well as your internal accounting records, such as your cash book and general ledger. \
Make sure that your bank statements cover the same period as your internal accounting records to ensure accurate reconciliation.
Additionally, you need to have relevant supporting documents, such as canceled checks, deposit slips, and bank charge notices, readily available.
2. Inspecting and Comparing Bank Statement and Cash Book
Once you have gathered all the relevant documents, the next step involves a meticulous inspection and comparison of your bank statement and your cash book.
Start by reviewing the opening balances of both records, ensuring they correspond. Any discrepancies at this stage may indicate errors made during previous reconciliations or posting mistakes.
If the balances do not match, you must investigate the discrepancies further before proceeding.
3. Identifying Outstanding Checks and Deposits
The other purpose of bank reconciliation is for you to identify outstanding checks and deposits, which may result in differences between your internal records and the bank statement.
Outstanding checks are those issued by you but have not yet been presented for payment, while outstanding deposits are those collections recorded by you but have not cleared in the bank statement.
To identify outstanding checks, compare the checks recorded in your cash book with those presented in the bank statement, noting any discrepancies.
Similarly, compare the deposits recorded in your cash book with those appearing on the bank statement.
This step requires meticulous record-keeping and attention to detail to ensure accurate identification of outstanding checks and deposits.
4. Adjusting for Bank Charges and Interest
Apart from outstanding checks and deposits, bank statements often include additional charges and interest, which must be considered during the bank reconciliation process.
You need to examine the bank statement for any service charges, penalty fees, or interest earned on deposits.
These items may not have been recorded in your cash book or general ledger, leading to discrepancies.
Adjustments should be made accordingly to ensure accurate synchronization between the two records.
5. Reconciling Bank Statement and Cash Book
After identifying outstanding checks and deposits and adjusting for bank charges and interest, the final step of the bank reconciliation process is for you to reconcile your bank statement and cash book.
Start by adjusting your cash book balance by adding any deposits in transit (unrecorded) and deducting any outstanding checks (unrecorded) or unreconciled items.
Next, adjust your bank statement balance by adding any outstanding deposits and subtracting any outstanding checks or unreconciled items.
The adjusted bank statement balance should now match the adjusted cash book balance, signifying a successful reconciliation.
You need to document all adjustments made during this stage and retain supporting documents for future reference and auditing purposes.
6. Addressing Discrepancies and Errors
In some cases, discrepancies or errors may arise during the bank reconciliation process.
You must address and rectify such issues promptly to maintain accurate financial records.
Discrepancies in the bank reconciliation process can occur due to errors made by the bank, errors made by you, timing differences, or fraudulent activities.
Resolving discrepancies requires your scrutiny of all relevant documents and communication with the bank’s representative, if necessary.
For example, if a check appears to be missing from the bank statement, contact the bank to verify its status.
Additionally, you need to investigate any significant discrepancies that cannot be easily explained, as they may indicate potential fraud or internal control issues.
7. Wrapping Up the Bank Reconciliation Process
Once all discrepancies and errors have been identified, investigated, and resolved, you need to wrap up the bank reconciliation process properly.
This involves updating your internal accounting records, such as your cash book and general ledger, to reflect the reconciled balances accurately.
Any adjustments made during the process should be accurately recorded and supported by relevant documents.
It is also crucial for you to undertake a periodic review and assessment of the bank reconciliation process to identify opportunities for improvement and ensure ongoing accuracy and effectiveness.
Importance of Bank Reconciliation
The importance of the bank reconciliation process cannot be overstated. It serves as a vital internal control mechanism, ensuring the accuracy and integrity of your financial records.
Regular bank reconciliations help identify errors, embezzlement, and fraudulent activities, minimizing the risk of financial loss to your company.
Additionally, reconciliation provides an accurate view of your cash position, allowing for effective cash management and forecasting.
Moreover, the process helps build confidence among shareholders, stakeholders, and auditors by maintaining transparency and compliance in your financial operations.
Bank Reconciliation Worksheet – Download and Learn More
For those of you who are interested in delving deeper into the bank reconciliation process and gaining practical experience, a bank reconciliation worksheet is available for download.
This worksheet serves as a comprehensive guide and tool to practice the steps involved in bank reconciliation in a simulated environment.
By working through the worksheet, you can enhance your understanding and proficiency in this important financial management activity.