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In accounting, reconciliation is the process of ensuring that two sets of records (usually the balances of two accounts) are in agreement. It is a general practice for businesses to tát create their balance sheet at the kết thúc of the financial year as it denotes the state of finances for that period. Reconciliation is used to tát ensure that the money leaving an tài khoản matches the actual money spent. This is done by making sure the balances match at the kết thúc of a particular accounting period.
The following two definitions are given by the Oxford Dictionary of Accounting.
i) “A procedure for confirming that the balance in a chequebook matches the corresponding ngân hàng statement. This is normally done by preparing a ngân hàng reconciliation statement.
ii) A procedure for confirming the reliability of a company's accounting records by regularly comparing [balances of transactions]. An tài khoản reconciliation may be prepared on a daily, monthly, or annual basis.”
The generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) are a mix of accounting principles, procedures and standards that organisations use in order to tát compile their financial statements. GAAP states that the purpose of tài khoản reconciliation is to tát provide accuracy and consistency in financial accounts. To ensure all cash outlays and inlays match between cashflow statements and income statements it is necessary to tát carry out reconciliation accounts.
Reconciliation is a process that may benefit businesses as this may help avoid balance sheet errors which may have led to tát detrimental ramifications; in addition, reconciliation may help against fraud and can help instil financial integrity.
Accounting software is one of a number of tools that organisations use to tát 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 tài khoản.
Reconciliation in accounting is not only important for businesses, but may also be convenient for households and individuals. It is prudent to tát reconcile credit thẻ accounts and chequebooks on a regular basis, for example. This is done by comparing debit thẻ receipts or kiểm tra copies with a person's ngân hàng statements.
Benefits of reconciling:
- To mitigate the mistakes made by financial institutions or fraudulent withdraws from an tài khoản, if any.
- To help create an overall image on spending and assess if a person is overspending on fees.
Account reconciliation is an important internal control in the financial reporting process. Public companies are required to tát perform these steps as a part of their financial close.
To ensure the reliability of the financial records, reconciliations must, therefore, be performed for all balance sheet accounts on a regular and ongoing basis. A robust reconciliation process improves the accuracy of the financial reporting function and allows the finance department to tát publish financial reports with confidence.
There are two ways in which reconciliation can take place:
- Using a documentation review, “Document review is a formalised technique of data collection involving the examination of existing records or documents.” This is the most common approach of tài khoản reconciliation. This method is done by using accounting software.
- The second method used is analytics review. “Any process by which a person or company looks at an tài khoản or financial statement and attempts to tát identify any irregularities. This may involve comparing financial and non-financial information.” Reconciliation of accounts using this method is undertaken by estimating the transactions that should be in an tài khoản, usually based on other data, for example historical activity.
In both cases where mistakes are identified as a result of the reconciliation, adjustments should be undertaken in order for the tài khoản balance to tát match the supporting information.
Currently there are no specific tài khoản standards for accountancy reconciliation per se. However, there are different rules for balancing many types of accounts. There are no specific regulations mentioned by IAS, ICAW and HMRC. GAAP provide different rules in regards to tát reconciliation to tát balance different types of accounts. According to tát GAAP, tài khoản reconciliation is a process that is performed through tài khoản conversion or double-entry accounting.
Manual reconciliation to tát automation
In the United States, the passage in 2002 of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act (SOX) has emphasized the need for balance sheet tài khoản reconciliation to tát be included within a company's own procedures, not relying only on external auditors. The legislation was enacted “to protect shareholders and general public from accounting errors and fraudulent practices in the enterprise, as well as improve the accuracy of corporate disclosures.” SOX and other similar acts across the world have increased stress on organisations to tát comply. As a result, the accounting industry has sought ways to tát automate a previously strenuous manual process. The pressure of SOX is coupled with the perennial need to tát mitigate erroneous reconciliation in the process.
By using available information technology, organizations can more easily automate their reconciliation and for each financial close cycle less manual labour would be required. As late as 2012, 90% of companies still reconciled manually, using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. This process is arduous allowing for further human error. Automating reconciliation can significantly reduce aforementioned errors and increase efficiency. Further benefits of automated reconciliation include centralised control, improved monitoring, reduced operational costs, increased productivity and efficiency, improved accessibility, improved data security and reduced audit risks and costs.
- Bank reconciliation
- ^ Jean Scheid, "Understanding Balance Sheet Account Reconciliation", Bright Hub, 8 April 2011
- ^ a b Owen, G. and Law, J. (2005). A dictionary of accounting. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- ^ Investopedia, (2003). Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) Definition | Investopedia. [online] Available at: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/gaap.asp#ixzz3qTbiuFxO [Accessed 3 Nov. 2015].
- ^ "What Are Account Reconciliations?". BlackLine Magazine. 2017-11-02. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
- ^ "Intercompany Reconciliations", Instant Controller, 27 December 2010
- ^ Ventureline.com, (2015). DOCUMENT REVIEW DEFINITION. [online] Available at: https://www.ventureline.com/accounting-glossary/D/document-review-definition/ (Accessed 3 Nov. 2015)
- ^ TheFreeDictionary.com (2015). Analytical Review. Online [Available at: http://financial-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Analytical+Review] (Accessed 4 Nov. 2015)
- ^ Bragg, S. (2013). How vì thế I reconcile an account? - Questions & Answers - AccountingTools. [online] Accountingtools.com. Available at: http://www.accountingtools.com/questions-and-answers/how-do-i-reconcile-an-account.html [Accessed 3 Nov. 2015].
- ^ Investopedia, (2015). How is reconciliation treated under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)?. Available at:  (Accessed 4 Nov. 2015)
- ^ James Brady Vorhies, "Account Reconciliation: An Under appreciated Control", Journal of Accountancy, 1 September 2006
- ^ M. Rouse, (2015). What is Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)? - Definition from What Is.com. [online] Archdiocese. Available at: http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/Sarbanes-Oxley-Act [Accessed 2 Nov. 2015]
- ^ M. Spanicciati, ‘How automating balance sheet tài khoản reconciliation can lead to tát a real return on investment’, Financial Management (Sep. 2013), p. 57
- ^ "reconciliation-solution-enhance-the-reconciliation-process". Indus Valley Partners Corporation. Indus Valley Partners Corporation. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
- ^ "Automating Financial Reconciliation Process Through RPA". NuAIg. 2021-04-30. Retrieved 2021-09-09.