Bank reconciliation is the process that identifies and fixes any differences that arise between the bank balance shown in an organization's bank statement, as supplied by the bank, and the corresponding amount shown in the Cheqbook register. Bank reconciliations are very important, but especially valuable in Cheqbook because once reconciled the automatic bank feed can't change reconciled periods. Sometimes we do get bad data from the banks, and keeping your reconciliations up to date prevents that!
To do a bank reconciliation traditionally involves the time consuming process of comparing transactions one by one between the statement and the account record. However, in the case of CheqBook, we've found a quicker way.
- Log in to your online financial institution and obtain bank statements for the period you wish to reconcile. If you already have paper statements, you can skip this step. You can also just open it in another screen if you happen to have two monitors.
- Log in to https://secure.cheqbook.com
- Click on Accounts
- Click on the linked account you want to reconcile
- Enter the time period you want to work with in the account (Example: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012) and click Go. If you haven't reconciled at all yet start with the earliest transactions that downloaded.
- Click Bank Reconciliation. This step changes the sorting to use the original date provided by the bank as opposed to date that you may have changed.
- Pick a date, usually the last date (Example: 01/31/2012) from your statement. Take the balance from the last transaction on that date and compare it to the last transaction on that date in CheqBook.
- If the balance matches, click Reconcile to Date. That's it, you're DONE!
What to Do If it Doesn't Tie Yet
However, like all bank reconciliations, sometimes it's not so easy.
- If it doesn't match what you do is work backwards until you find a date where balance matches (both the balance on the statement for that date and Cheqbook match).
- When you find it, click "Reconcile to Date" and start moving forward.
- Typically you'll either find a transaction is missing or duplicated and you'll need to either add the missing one manually or delete the duplicate. We really really wish we received perfect transactions from the bank, but that's sometimes not the case.
IMPORTANT: Another common reason why the balance would not match is the presence of unreconciled transactions (green circles). You can check your unreconciled transactions indicted looking for these green circle icon at the very end of a current set of data when in reconciling mode. If you have manually added any missing bank transactions, be sure to click on their icon and accept the warning to turn them from a green circle to a green checkmark. While normally you'd want to leave manually entered transactions uncleared so Cheqbook can match them with a bank transaction when it downloads, for transactions where you identified a missing bank download that should have cleared by now it's OK to go ahead and manually mark it cleared.
For guidance on the difference between Green Checkmarks and Green Circles, read this FAQ:
HELPFUL HINT: we call it splitting the difference. If you're trying to quickly find the bad transaction split the month in two and reconcile the 15th. If that's good go forward a to the 22nd, if it's not go back to the 7th, and repeat. By continuously going to the side that doesn't match you will quickly zero in on the date that has a missing or duplicated transaction to be fixed.