2ReconciliationDefinition: The process of analyzing two related records and, if differences exist between them, finding the cause and bringing the two records into agreement. Balance sheets accounts reconciliations are one of the oldest and most important accounting processes that helps ensure the accuracy, completeness of transactions and proper segregation of duties. A critical element of the reconciliation is to resolve differences; differences should be identified, investigated, explained and a corrective action must be taken.
3Types of Balance Sheet Accounts Asset Accounts –Account number starts with a 1 (i.e. 1XXXXX)Represents the amount owed to the University by an outside party.Liability Accounts –Account number starts with a 2 (i.e. 2XXXXX)Represents the amount owed by the University to an outside party.Clearing Accounts –Is a special type of liability account (2190xx).General Ledger includes bank activity.Amount in account should zero each month, differences should be from items in transit.
4Reconciling an Asset or Liability Account Step 1 - Obtain the balance per the General LedgerStep 2 - Obtain the balance per department schedule.If the balance per the General Ledger and the department schedule do not equal, go to step 3.Step 3 - Obtain detail activity per general ledger since account was last reconciled.Step 4 - Obtain detail activity per department schedules since account was last reconciled.Step 5 - Compare the two records and find the items which cause the difference between them. These are called reconciling items.Step 6 - Research the adjusting items and take the necessary action (s).Step 7 - Have the reconciliation approved.
10Select the period and account number. Note: Do NOTchoose a fund number unless several funds share this account, this is not usual. Keeping the fund field blank will allow you to spot any unauthorized activity in the account.
11For our example,we will say theGeneral Ledgerbalance equals$10,000
12Step 2Obtain the balance per department schedule.
14Balance Per ScheduleThe term “schedule” refers to a set of records maintained by the department which details what the balance should be in an account.It can be from a sub-system. For Example, a department may have their own accounting system to record transactions.It can be a separate worksheet saved as a computer file. For Example, a department may save a listing of all receivables in a excel file.It can be a handwritten journal or log. For Example, a department may record key deposits in a journal for each set of keys they distribute.
16The balance inthe GeneralLedger does notmatch thebalance of theschedule. Thetwo balances mustbe reconciledor brought intoagreement.
17Reconciling AccountsWe must obtain all the activity in these two records since they were last reconciled and compare them to find where the difference occurs.If the account was reconciled last month, then only the activity in the last month must be reconciled.If the account has not been reconciled recently, the reconciliation process will be longer and harder to complete.Reconciliations are much easier to do, and differences are easier to resolve if they are done monthly. Doing reconciliations monthly will save time and effort.Investigate identified differences and take corrective action to resolve differences.
18Step 3Obtain detail activity per general ledger since account was last reconciled.
27Then save the resulting excel file to a location of your choosing. Click Save.Then save the resulting excel file to a location of your choosing.
28Step 4Obtain detail activity per department schedules since account was last reconciled.Schedules will vary by department.
29Step 5Compare the two records and find the items which cause the difference between them. These are called reconciling items.Comments on any items that do not match or do not have supporting documentation as backup.Obtain reconciliation approval by management.Must include date of item for aging purposes.
30It will likely be necessary to make changes in format of the schedules to make comparison easier. The downloaded example General Ledger has been altered so it can be easily compared to the example department schedule .
31The two schedules are compared to each other The two schedules are compared to each other. The items on the General Ledger are matched against the items on the schedule. The remaining items are reconciling items. They are needed to make the schedules agree or reconcile. There are three reconciling items.
32In our example, the General Ledger detail did not have two items ($2,000 and $500) that was on the department’s schedule, so those two items are needed to “adjust” the general ledger. The general ledger had one item ($1,500) that was not on the schedule, therefore the schedule should be “adjusted” for that item.
33The amount out of balance is zero. We are now ready for the next step.
34Step 6Research the adjusting items and take the necessary action (s).
35Item 1 - $2,000This probably a timing difference. The department has recorded receiving a payment on January 31st, but it is not in the January General Ledger. It will probably be in the February ledger, once the cashier has recorded it. No further action is needed at his time. However, this item must clear next month.
36Item 2 - $500The department has determined that receivable #2222 is uncollectible per University guidelines. They have updated the departmental schedule, but have not yet updated the General Ledger. A journal entry will be necessary to credit the account receivable, and debit the department’s revenue account.
37Item 3 - $1,500The department did not record payment of invoice #5858 in their system.The department should update their schedules to show that invoice #5858 has been paid.A journal to the General Ledger is not necessary since the General Ledger is correct.
38Reconciling a Clearing Account Clearing Accounts are a special type of Liability Account. The account is not meant to hold items for several months, items are constantly “clearing” out of the account.All differences at the end of the month should be timing differences.Generally, any item will “clear” or can be matched against an offsetting debit or credit within a week.Any item which does not clear within a week or two, indicates a problem which requires resolution.
39Step 7 Have the reconciliation approved. Once the reconciliation has been completed, it should be reviewed/approved. Typically the supervisor of the person reconciling the account will be the person reviewing the reconciliation.The same person cannot both perform the reconciliation and approve it.
40Approver Checklist of Asset Accounts Asset accounts start with a 1 (1XXXXX).Does the account have a credit balance (asset accounts should have a debit balance)?Is the University owed additional money not listed in the asset account?Does the reconciliation list items that will not be received by the University?Answering yes to any of the above questions indicates a journal entry might be needed.
41Approver Checklist of Liability Accounts Liability accounts start with a 2 (2XXXXX).Does the account have a debit balance (Liability accounts should have a credit balance)?Does the University owe additional money not listed in the liability account?Does the reconciliation show items no longer owed by the University?Answering yes to any of the above questions indicates a journal entry might be needed.
42Frequently Asked Questions Q. How often must reconciliations be sent to the accounting department?A. Reconciliations must be sent to the accounting department each quarter.September, December, March, May, and June Preliminary.Q. So my department must do four reconciliations each year?A. A reconciliation should be done each month. The accounting department will request and track the quarterly reconciliations. The results will be given to the Vice Chancellors. Reconciliations should be performed on a timely basis, usually this is monthly. Reconciliations that are not performed timely are harder to reconcile, and many outstanding items can be easily solved if done monthly, as opposed to correcting them months later.
43Frequently Asked Questions (cont.) Q. Who should do the reconciliation?A. This varies from department to department. The person responsible for updating the General Ledger (and/or keeping the department schedule up to date) should NOT be the same person performing the reconciliation.Q. The worksheet I receive each quarter listing the accounts and owners is incorrect or incomplete.A. Please with the needed corrections. Please correct the worksheet and send it back, with corrections highlighted in yellow.Q. I receive the worksheet each quarter asking for a reconciliation, but the account has a zero balance and there is nothing to reconcile.A. A certification should still be sent to the accounting office stating the account has the correct balance, in this case, zero.
44Frequently Asked Questions (cont.) Q. The account I am being asked to reconcile will not be used again, and has a zero balance.A. Please and we will inactivate the account. Once the account has been inactivated, you will no longer be asked to provide reconciliation.Q. Why does each account have a Preparer, and Owner field?A. Each reconciliation must be signed off by two different people. The person who does the reconciliation; and the person that approves the reconciliation. One person cannot both prepare and approve the reconciliation.Q. Our account is much more difficult than the example in this tutorial. We could use additional help.A. General Accounting offers training on Balance Sheet Account Reconciliation upon request.