Do you spend a lot of time reconciling your bank accounts? For some business owners it is easy but for others it is really time consuming. Some folks actually spend days reconciling bank accounts each month because they are balancing several different components (incoming/outgoing wires, credit card receipts, etc.) in addition to the checks that have been paid. Oftentimes a second person or a manager will spend a bit of time reviewing it as well.
Your banker can actually help you speed up this process. He should be able to direct you into your Online Banking module and show you how to download a CSV file for subsequent upload into your bank reconciliation software. At the very least, this will save you the time you are currently spending checking off your paid items. If you don’t write a lot of checks, this is not a big deal but if you are writing over 100 checks each month, this quick exercise can not only save you time, but it can help you avoid keying errors. With the integration of this file, you have the basis for your checking account reconciliation. Many banks don’t charge you anything extra to perform this function, but be careful as some do charge fees in the form of “downloaded items.”
A second but more complete and more complex option is working with the bank to provide you a full reconciliation of your account each month. In order to do this, you need to be sending the bank a transmission of your “check issue file” every time checks are written. You can send a file over to the bank daily or however often you do a check-run. They might even allow you to send one transmission at the end of the month for all of your issued checks. The bank is able to run your complete check issue file up against the actual items that paid on your account throughout the month. Usually by the end of the first week and at least by mid-month your bank should be able to provide you a fully reconciled account report.
Regardless of whether or not you use the bank to assist you with your reconciliation duties, be sure to complete this task each month as quickly as possible. Do not wait until the next cycle. Reconciling your accounts is the one sure way to determine if any fraud is present. If you find anything suspicious and you report it to your bank before the end of your next cycle, the bank is likely to work with you in resolving the issue. If you wait, you are risking that you will be held more liable for any potential losses.