What is Account Reconciliation? Definition and Process

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More than 4,000 companies of all sizes, across all industries, trust BlackLine to help them modernize their financial close, accounts receivable, and intercompany accounting processes. Working capital, cash flows, collections opportunities, and other critical metrics depend on timely and accurate processes. Ensure services revenue has been accurately recorded and related payments are reflected properly on the balance sheet. Any increases in the assets, expenses, incomes, or liabilities of the group companies can be normalized, which may arise as a part of the intercompany flow. Ensure accurate accounts are maintained company-wide across the network of companies as it helps them publish accurate consolidated financial statements for the entire company.


The cash account is reconciled to bank statements rather than a subsidiary journal (sub-ledger) for that account. Accounting software and ERP systems have built-in features and electronic forms to reconcile cash accounts with bank statements. Accountants do account reconciliation during each monthly and year-end financial close process or in real-time using specialized automation reconciliation software integrated with an ERP. The automated reconciliation software includes a beneficial audit trail. The AuditorsAn auditor is a professional appointed by an enterprise for an independent analysis of their accounting records and financial statements. An auditor issues a report about the accuracy and reliability of financial statements based on the country’s local operating laws.

Comparing Internal Register With Bank Accounts

Most accounting systems and ERPs have built-in modules that can import bank transactions and compare them to the transactions in the system. Means that journal entries that hit balance sheet accounts can cause something on the income statement to shift. When all the balance sheet accounts are reconciled, you’ve nailed net income. Account reconciliations should be conducted regularly, to ensure that the account balances appearing in a firm’s balance sheet are correct.

Make a note of all transactions on your bank statement for which you don’t have any other evidence, such as a payment receipt or check stub. In many organizations, there are subsidiaries, group companies, and so on. In such a situation, there can be inter-company deposits made, depending on the requirements of different companies.

GAAP requires that if the direct method of presenting the cash flow statement is used, the company must still reconcile cash flows to the income statement and balance sheet. Reconciling your accounts is not optional due to the necessity for all companies to file annual statements, summarising a year’s worth of transactions accurately. Companies which are audited will have the validity of their financial statements put under greater scrutiny due to the audit process, testing whether they are accurate and free from material misstatement.

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Bank reconciliation statements are effective tools for detecting fraud. For example, if a check is altered, resulting in a payment larger than anticipated, measures can be taken to interrupt the unscrupulous activity. Reconcile beginning balance, list and add new transactions, list and subtract payments or other reductions, and compute the ending balance for the period.

The Four Basic Methods for Account Reconciliation

Investopedia, the definition of account reconciliation is “an accounting process that compares two sets of records to check that figures are correct and in agreement. Account reconciliation also confirms that accounts in the general ledger are consistent, accurate, and complete.” Reconciliation provides a check on the completeness of your financial data. An account reconciliation is especially important for bank accounts, since one might incorrectly assume that a cash balance is higher than is really the case. When this situation arises, companies are more likely to issue check payments and then find that they have overdrawn their accounts, resulting in either overdraft fees or bounced checks. Companies also use the accounting process to prevent or, at least, check for fraud. Having to compare two accounting records helps a company accurately account for all its transactions.

  • Account reconciliations are activities performed by accountants, typically at the end of an accounting period, to ensure the general ledger account balance is complete and accurate.
  • Next, match the entries in the general ledger with transactions on the statement.
  • The process looks for mismatches both within and between any of the subsidiaries.
  • In this way, fraudulent tampering of accounting records is reduced as it becomes harder to achieve without leaving traces.
  • Thankfully, today, transactions are instantaneously communicated within minutes or hours between different records rather than days or weeks.
  • As such, a $900 error should be noted in the reconciliation and an adjusting journal entry should be recorded.

A business will observe the money leaving its accounts to calculate whether it matches the actual money spent. Reconciliation is also used to ensure there are no discrepancies in a business’s accounting records. This works by comparing 2 sets of records and is a way of making sure all the figures are correct and match up. Reconciliation has become a byword for consistency, accuracy, and thoroughness.

Finally, when reconciliation meaning in accountinging journal entries are required, theBlackLine Journal Entryproduct automates this portion of the process as well. Whether you’re new to F&A or an experienced professional, sometimes you need a refresher on common finance and accounting terms and their definitions. BlackLine’s glossary provides descriptions for industry words and phrases, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to additional resources. Explore the future of accounting over a cup of coffee with our curated collection of white papers and ebooks written to help you consider how you will transform your people, process, and technology. Whether new to BlackLine or a longtime customer, we curate events to guide you along every step of your modern accounting journey. While the responsibility to maintain compliance stretches across the organization, F&A has a critical role in ensuring compliance with financial rules and regulations.

Adding to the challenge, sometimes an entry in the general ledger may correspond to two or more entries in a bank statement, or vice versa. These may pop out at the end, when everything else has been checked off. That’s how we know the financials are accurate — or at least materially correct — every month. Accounting software is one of a number of tools that organisations use to carry out this process thus eliminating errors and therefore making accurate decisions based on the financial information. Reconciliation of accounts determines whether transactions are in the correct place or should be shifted into a different account. A general ledger is a record-keeping system for a company’s financial data, with debit and credit account records validated by a trial balance.

What Causes Reconciliation Discrepancies?

You’ll also have an external bank account that tracks deposits, purchases, and long-term balances. When you compare the two, you can look for any discrepancies in cash flow for a certain time frame. Balance the Accounts Again Once the corrections are done, one needs to check for mismatches in final balances again for a thorough check. As a business can undertake an enormous number of transactions in a period, the reconciliation process is usually not possible manually.

It found out that a cheque issued on the 31st of the month had not been debited from its balance at the bank, and the bank deducted certain charges from the balance, which were not recorded in the company’s books. It then makes sure that the purchase got logged correctly on both the balance sheet and income statement. So, the business records the purchase as a credit in the cash account and a debit to the asset account for reconciliation. Analytics review uses previous account activity levels or historical activity to estimate the amount that should be recorded in the account. It looks at the cash account or bank statement to identify any irregularity, balance sheet errors, or fraudulent activity.

When to perform accounts reconciliation?

The steps in balance sheet account reconciliation vary by type of account but may be generalized to include the following numbered steps. Make any required adjustments between the categories based on a calculation of short-term notes payable liabilities for the next 12 months to classify amounts in the categories as short-term or long-term correctly. Types of intangible assets include goodwill and brand value from M&A, intellectual property , licenses, R&D, and customer lists. Based on a periodic analysis and evaluation, intangible assets like patents are amortized over time and reduced for asset impairments when necessary. Reconcile general ledger accounts to balances of short-term investments with a maturity period of 90 days or less, using brokerage and investment firm statements or financial institutions statements. Cash equivalents include treasury bills, commercial paper, money market accounts, marketable securities, and short-term government bonds.

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One of the challenges of a manual reconciliation process is accountability. With no automation around workflow and no reportability of status, it’s difficult to ensure policies are adhered to and work is being completed timely by the appropriate resources. It then compares account balances between these sources, and identifies any discrepancies so they can be investigated by accounting staff. This removes the burden of manually performing this task, andfrees accountants to focus on analyzing discrepancies. Upon further investigation, it is identified that the company recorded bank fees of $1,000 rather than $100.

Bank reconciliation statements compare transactions from financial records to those on a bank statement. Where there are discrepancies, companies are able to identify the source of errors and correct them. This saves your company from payingoverdraft fees, keeps transactions error-free, and helps catch improper spending and issues such as embezzlement before they get out of control. Your bank statement balance should now equal the balance in your records. Depending on the number of discrepancies, you may need to create a supporting schedule that details the differences between your internal books and bank accounts.

There are many types of reconciliations, but some of the most common ones include bank reconciliation, account conversion, account receivable reconciliation, and account payable reconciliation. Account reconciliation softwareautomates all the steps in the account reconciliation process. It takes in data from various sources of financial information, such asERP systems, bank files or statements, credit card processors, and merchant services. There may be instances where activity is captured in the general ledger but not the supporting data or vice versa, which may be due to missing transactions.

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The balance of a general ledger account, for instance, is obtained from independent systems, third-party data, or other supporting documents, such as bank statements and credit card statements. This step helps with additional independent information to verify the accuracy of the general ledger account balance. The process of comparing two sets of records to detect any differences is known as reconciliation.

  • A bank statement is a record, typically sent to the account holder every month, summarizing all transactions in an account during a set time period.
  • Make the most of your team’s time by automating accounts receivables tasks and using data to drive priority, action, and results.
  • The reconciliation statement helps identify differences between the bank balance and the book balance to process necessary adjustments or corrections.
  • Some of the popular features of this type of software include automated review and approval of accounting workflows, reconciliation templates, predetermined checklists to standardize the whole process.

Account reconciliation is the process of verifying and reconciling a company’s financial records with external sources like bank statements. Its purpose is to ensure accuracy and consistency of financial data, which is vital for informed decision-making and maintaining financial integrity. The reconciliation process balances 2 sets of figures with the aim of both being equal. Reconciliation then lets those managing the process ensure that the figures are correct and in agreement. It helps eliminate fraud and any accounting errors, helping a business be more efficient.

There may be instances where a mistake or error causes a discrepancy between the general ledger and the supporting data. Auditors review, analyze, and test client-prepared account reconciliations during the annual audit of the financial statements, trial balance, general ledger, and records. Accounts receivable is the amount that your customers owe you for the goods sold or services provided. You will need to give special importance to reconciling accounts receivables to ensure steady cash flow and good customer relations to name just a few reasons. You will need to check the bank and ledger balances to ensure that there are no short payments, deductions, disputes, and to stop credit facility for defaulting customers. Also, transactions appearing in the bank statement but missing in the cash book should be noted.

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However, since each of the group companies has its legal entity and the books of accounts also need to be maintained separately. To ensure that all cash balance, liabilities, and assets are updated, periodic accounts reconciliation is required. Often the cash balance in the book of accounts and the bank accounts may not match. This could be due to many causes like missed entries, bounced payments, charges incurred, interest accrued, and much more. Under this method, all the accounts are checked to ensure that the recorded and spent amounts are the same.

The company should ensure that any money coming into the company is recorded in both the cash register and bank statement. If there are receipts recorded in the internal register and missing in the bank statement, add the transactions to the bank statement. Consequently, any transactions recorded in the bank statement and missing in the cash register should be added to the register. The first step is to compare transactions in the internal register and the bank account to see if the payment and deposit transactions match in both records. Identify any transactions in the bank statement that are not backed up by any evidence. AutoRec makes reconciliation easy enough that every single account can be reconciled in a snap — and some of that can be done automatically.

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