What is Bank Reconciliation?

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Navigating the financial landscape of a business involves various important practices, and one of the most crucial among them is bank reconciliation. This article will introduce you to what bank reconciliation is and why it’s an indispensable part of modern business.

What is bank reconciliation?

Bank reconciliation is the process of verifying the integrity of data between bank records and a company’s internal financial records. In simpler terms, it involves matching transactions and balances from your accounting records with those listed on your bank statement. This process helps to identify any discrepancies so that both sets of records can accurately reflect all activities.

The aim of bank reconciliation is to ascertain that the accounting records and the bank statement are in agreement. If they’re not, adjustments need to be made either in the accounting records, the bank statement, or both, until the two match perfectly. This ensures that you have a true picture of your company’s financial position with regard to cash and bank transactions.

Why is bank reconciliation important?

Bank reconciliation is not just a good practice; it’s essential for several reasons:

  1. Accuracy of financial statements: Errors can occur on both sides—bank errors, double entries, missed entries, etc. Regular reconciliation ensures that your accounting records accurately reflect your financial position.
  2. Fraud detection: A timely reconciliation process helps to quickly identify any irregularities that could suggest fraud or unauthorized transactions. This is crucial for initiating quick corrective action.
  3. Cash flow management: By reconciling your bank account, you get an accurate snapshot of your available cash, helping you make informed decisions about paying bills, making investments, or taking out loans.
  4. Regulatory compliance: For many businesses, especially those publicly traded or in regulated sectors, reconciliation is not optional. It’s a regulatory requirement. Proper reconciliation helps in ensuring that financial reports are compliant with laws and regulations.
  5. Confidence in decision-making: Accurate financial statements are essential for making strategic business decisions. Reconciliation instills confidence in these statements, making it easier for management to plan for the future.

Bank reconciliation, therefore, acts as a safeguard for your business, helping you maintain accurate financial records, detect and prevent fraud, and comply with legal requirements.

How do you do a bank reconciliation?

Performing a bank reconciliation is an orderly process that, once understood, becomes straightforward. Here are the steps involved:

1. Obtain bank statements

The first step is to get your hands on your latest bank statement. This can usually be done by logging into your online banking platform or by requesting a paper statement.

2. Gather accounting records

Next, compile your accounting records that relate to the bank account you are reconciling. This would usually be your cash book or accounting ledger where all banking transactions are recorded.

3. Compare entries

Begin by matching the transactions on your bank statement with those in your accounting records. Check off each item that matches in both records.

4. Identify discrepancies

Spot any discrepancies such as bank fees that may not be in your accounting records or checks that have not yet cleared. Make a list of these items.

5. Make adjustments

After identifying the discrepancies, update your accounting records to reflect the true, reconciled, bank balance. This may involve adding missing entries or rectifying incorrect ones.

6. Review

After adjustments, review both sets of records to ensure that they now match. If they do, the reconciliation process is complete.

7. Document

Keep a record of your reconciliation as documentation. This could be vital for audit purposes or for resolving future discrepancies.

Example of a bank reconciliation

Example of a bank reconciliation

To give you a clearer understanding, let’s walk through a simple example of how a bank reconciliation might work.


  • Your bank statement shows an ending balance of $10,000.
  • Your accounting records show a balance of $9,700.


  1. Comparison: Initially, you notice a $300 difference between your bank statement and accounting records.
  2. Identify discrepancies: Upon review, you find that there’s a bank fee of $50 which was not accounted for in your records. Additionally, there’s a $250 customer payment that was recorded in your accounting software but has not yet appeared on your bank statement.
  3. Adjust accounting records:
    • Deduct the $50 bank fee from your accounting records: $9,700 – $50 = $9,650.
    • You also note down that $250 is in ‘transit’ and hasn’t cleared yet: $9,650 (adjusted balance) + $250 (uncleared funds) = $9,900.
  4. Review: Your adjusted accounting records ($9,900) should now match your bank statement when considering the uncleared funds ($10,000 – $250 in transit = $9,750).
  5. Documentation: Record this reconciliation for auditing and future reference.

By following these steps, you’ve successfully reconciled your bank statement with your accounting records, providing a more accurate picture of your financial health. This ensures that you catch errors and discrepancies before they become problematic, fostering better decision-making and financial compliance.

Challenges with bank reconciliations

Though bank reconciliation is an essential accounting practice, it comes with its own set of challenges:

  1. Time-consuming: Especially for businesses with a high volume of transactions, the process can be lengthy and tedious when done manually.
  2. Human error: Manual handling of reconciliation can introduce mistakes, either through oversight or misunderstanding. Even a small error can cause a snowball effect in financial reporting.
  3. Complex transactions: Businesses that deal with multiple currencies, various types of payments, and frequent transfers between accounts may find it harder to reconcile accounts.
  4. Outdated systems: Using outdated accounting software or manual methods increases the risk of errors and complications.
  5. Lack of expertise: Without proper training or understanding of accounting principles, one can easily misinterpret data or overlook important discrepancies.

Tips for successful bank reconciliations

Given the challenges, here are some tips that can make your bank reconciliation process more effective:

  1. Regular checks: Rather than leaving it to month-end, make it a habit to perform mini-reconciliations weekly or bi-weekly. This can make the end-of-month reconciliation easier and less time-consuming.
  2. Use software: Reconciliation or cash flow software can help automate many steps of the process, reducing the possibility of human error. Even generic accounting software often has a bank reconciliation module.
  3. Segregation of duties: Assign different financial responsibilities to different staff members. This reduces the risk of fraud and makes it easier to spot errors or irregularities.
  4. Training and guidelines: Make sure that anyone involved in the reconciliation process is adequately trained and has clear guidelines to follow. This sets the standard for accuracy and thoroughness.
  5. Keep all records: Maintain all transaction records, bank statements, and adjustments made during reconciliation. These are not just important for audits but can also be useful for troubleshooting future discrepancies.
  6. Audit trails: Most modern accounting software allows you to create an audit trail. Utilize this feature to keep a detailed record of who made which changes and when.
  7. Review and double-check: Before finalizing, review the reconciliation report and double-check for errors or inconsistencies. A second pair of eyes can also be very beneficial in this stage.
  8. Consult with experts: If you’re ever in doubt or dealing with complex transactions, don’t hesitate to consult with financial advisors or accounting experts.

By adhering to these tips and best practices, you can overcome challenges and make your bank reconciliation process as smooth and error-free as possible. This not only helps in maintaining the financial integrity of your business but also aids in strategic planning and decision-making.

bank reconciliation definition

Your next financial step after bank reconciliation

While bank reconciliation is an essential practice, it is just one piece of the financial puzzle. To see the full picture and make informed decisions, consider using Brixx’s powerful financial forecasting and planning tools. With features tailored for both novices and experts, Brixx offers a comprehensive solution that enhances this process in several ways:

  • Cash flow projections: Understand money in and out, adding depth to your reconciliation efforts.
  • Long-term forecasting: Make informed 10-year business decisions that align with your reconciliation data.
  • Automated accounting: Double-entry accounting is handled behind the scenes, reducing manual errors.
  • Collaboration: Share real-time financial data among a team, aiding in the verification of your bank reconciliation processes.
  • Scenario testing: Explore date-sensitive financial scenarios that could impact reconciliation outcomes.
  • Compliance: Automated tax forecasts ensure you’re compliant, streamlining the reconciliation process.

Brixx isn’t just for reconciliation; it’s a strategic tool for comprehensive financial management, offering a 360-degree view of your business’s financial health.

Take advantage of a 7-day free trial with Brixx today to elevate your financial strategy!

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