What are some common reconciliation types?

Reconciliation means comparing different sets of data in order to check that they are in agreement. The process ensures that the data sets are correct, comparable and matching. In the world of finance and accounting, businesses need to ensure the validity of their transactions and the accuracy of company accounts. For the purpose, they reconcile their various accounts at the end a particular accounting period and confirm their balances. Account reconciliation is important for any business to prove or document its account balance. Periodic account reconciliation will help find discrepancies in transactions or amounts if any. These discrepancies are investigated further and necessary corrections are made in the accounts to ensure correct balances.

Main types of reconciliation accounting

It would be easier for readers to understand account reconciliation by taking a closer look at some common reconciliation examples. There are five main types of account reconciliation: bank reconciliation, customer reconciliation, vendor reconciliation, inter-company reconciliation and business-specific reconciliation. Let’s explore each one of them in detail.

What is Bank Reconciliation?

Bank reconciliation or bank statement reconciliation is the process of verifying the bank balance in a business’ books of account by comparing them with the statement of account issued by its bank. Here, each and every transaction in the bank statement is compared with the company’s internal records (normally cash account) to check both records are matching. Here are some commonly seen issues that result in mismatches in records:

  • Issued cheques have not been presented to the bank or the bank has dishonoured a cheque.
  • A banking transaction (eg. credit received, bank fees, penalties) has not yet been recorded in the entity’s books
  • Either the bank or the entity made an error while entering records.

Periodic bank reconciliation is important to spot missed payments and calculation mistakes. It will also help identify theft and fraud and track accounts payables and receivables. Depending on the volume of transactions, entities can choose to do bank reconciliation on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Vendor Reconciliation

Vendor reconciliation is the reconciliation of accounts payable for a vendor with the statement provided by the particular vendor. Here, an entity reconciles vendor balance in its books of accounts with the balance in the books of the vendor. It ensures that there are no discrepancies or mistakes in the amount a vendor charges an entity and the goods or services the entity receives from the vendor. The steps in vendor reconciliation are:

  • Getting a statement of account from the vendor. The statement must have invoice-wise detail of each transaction.
  • Comparing the statement with the vendor accounts as per the entity’s books of account.
  • Adjusting for any difference, which should be separately shown in the reconciliation statement.

Customer Reconciliation

In customer reconciliation or accounts receivable reconciliation, an entity compares the outstanding customer balance or bills to the accounts receivable as entered in its general ledger. Customer reconciliation statement acts as proof that there is no material inaccuracy in the accounts of the company. It helps unveil any error or irregularities in customer-related accounting. It will also help identify fraudulent activity pertaining to accounts receivable.

A part of account closing activity, customer reconciliation is normally conducted at the end of the month before an entity issues monthly financial statements. If any irregularity is identified while doing customer reconciliation, it should be corrected on time before preparing monthly financial statements.

Inter-company Reconciliation

Intercompany reconciliation is the process in which a parent company consolidates all the general ledgers of its subsidiaries in order to eliminate intercompany flows. The process identifies possible mismatches between subsidiaries due to mistakes in invoicing and other transactions such as loans, deposits and interests. This is important to normalize an increase in assets, liabilities, income and expenses of group companies arising out of intercompany transactions. It also helps minimize bank transactions fee, optimize liquidity, and reduce financial and currency costs as well as risks. The process will also identify any unrecorded transactions or balances on the books group companies.

Business-specific Reconciliation

In addition to the above-mentioned reconciliation types, every business needs to prepare other reconciliations based on specific needs. Costs of Goods reconciliation is a good example here. A business that has any form of inventory should prepare this reconciliation statement to match balances on the cost of goods sold account calculated using two methods:

Cost of goods sold = Opening Stock + Purchases – Closing Stock

Cost of goods sold = Sale – Profit

These two methods of calculation should lead to the same amount. If not, records are to be investigated to find out reasons for imbalance.

Other Reconciliations

Given below are some other reconciliation types that we normally come across in the financial world.

Credit card reconciliation

Credit card reconciliation is almost similar to bank account reconciliation. Here, an organization matches credit card receipts with credit card statement issued by a financial institution. It helps institutions ensure that the amount billed in the credit card statement matches with actual payments. If the credit card company has committed any error, it should be reported and rectified.

Balance sheet reconciliation

Balance sheet reconciliation is the process of matching the closing balances of all the accounts of the company that forms part of the company’s balance sheet. It is done to ensure that entries used to reach the closing balances are entered and classified accurately so that balances in the balance sheet are appropriate.

Cash Reconciliation

It is the process of verifying if the amount of cash in a cash register matches the actual cash on hand at the close of business.

Each reconciliation type mentioned above has a unique workflow. There are many reconciliation solutions that heavily customized to meet each of the needs. There are also new-age reconciliation solutions that can handle any account reconciliation with ease and accuracy.

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