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Bank Reconciliation Statement
« on: June 27, 2016, 05:33:31 PM »
Bank reconciliation statements

The cashbook of the firm will show the cash payments and receipts that arise out of transactions. It will also show money being paid into and out of the firm's bank account. On a fairly frequent basis, the firm will actually receive a copy of a bank statement which is produced by the bank in which the firm holds an account with. This will detail the money paid into and out of our bank account. In theory, the bank column of the cashbook and the banks statement from the bank itself should be identical, they are, after all, the same account. However, in reality the two are unlikely to give us the same data, and the banks statement and the cashbook may well give us different figures for the balances.


This may seem worrying initially, how can this be? Surely something must have gone wrong. Well it is possible that a mistake has been made, but there are often sound reasons why the two balances are not the same. Let us consider possible explanations for any differences:

    Error - by us or by the bank.
    Items in the cashbook but no on the bank statement.
    Items on the bank statement but not in the cashbook.


Of course, if the balances do not agree (i.e. are different) then we need to know why. In this case we can construct a bank reconciliation statement to show why they disagree and hopefully prove that no errors have been made. In fact, most examination questions on this topic will often ignore the prospect of errors and will concentrate on other reason why the balances are not the same.


The term reconciliation simply means to bring together. In this case, it involves a process where we actually try to show how the two balances are acceptable, given items in the cashbook and on the bank statement that do not appear in both.
When dealing with bank reconciliation statements we will use new terms to refer to items appearing in the cashbook and on the bank statement. Terms will be used to describe cheques that we have both received and have paid out of our cashbook that have not yet appeared on the bank statement.


When we receive a cheque, or when we write out a cheque, we would normally enter this into the cashbook straight away. Therefore, from the firm's view, the money has already been paid or received. However in reality, this does not happened. Cheques will normally take a few days (assuming the cheque was deposited in the bank immediately - which may not happen thus further delaying the process) before they are cleared. Only when the cheque is cleared will the money be paid into the bank account (or paid out in the case of us writing cheques).


The ways in describing cheques in the clearing process are as follows:


Unpresented cheques

These cheques have been paid out by us (i.e. credited to the cashbook) but have not yet been deducted by the bank from the firm's account (they have not yet been 'presented' for payment).


Undeposited cheques

These cheques have been received by the firm (i.e. debited to the cashbook) but they have not yet been entered by the bank into the firm's account. It may also be that we have not yet physically taken the cheques to the bank and deposited them. These are also sometimes known as 'banking lodgements not yet cleared' or 'uncleared cheques'.


Dishonoured cheques

Sometimes the firm will receive a cheque from a customer that the bank will not give us money for. It will not honour the cheque and therefore the money will not be received as it stands. The reasons for this could be as simple as that a mistake appeared on the cheque (wrong date, not signed, discrepancies in amounts written, etc.) or it could be that the customer has insufficient funds in their account and the bank will not allow more to be paid out of their account. Any cheque more than 6 months old will not be honoured as it considered being 'stale'.


Bank accounts and direct transfers

In addition to the types of cheques that will appear on a bank reconciliation statement, there will also be items that will appear on the bank statement that are not yet in the cashbook. These will normally refer to items automatically paid into and out of our account without us first having entered into our cashbook. These items could include:
Standing orders

This occurs when a firm sets up a process for a regular amount to be paid out of bank account. The amount does not change and is used by many firms making payments to either a firm or an individual.
Direct debits

Similar to standing orders, these involve amounts paid out of the firm's bank accounts. However, the amount paid out is not fixed and can be different. A firm normally will give another firm permission for it deducted amounts from the firm's accounts. Many bills are paid by direct debit arrangements.
Credit transfers

These involve amounts being paid directly into our bank account. They are normally from other customers, or other people who owe the firm money. Technically they could actually involve payments out of an account, but normally a credit transfer is used to refer to money paid into the account.


Bank charges

Firms may be charged money buy their bank for services they have used. This may be a one-off fee, or it could be a regular amount. A common example would be a charge for allowing the firm to go overdrawn on its account. These will be directly deducted from the firm's balance and will appear on the bank statement.


Interest

Interest may be both paid and received directly into the firm's bank account. If it is being paid out then it will normally be the charge for the firm being overdrawn on its account. As long as the firm keeps a positive balance of money in the account then any interest is likely to be received (most current accounts now give interest on positive balances).


The statement is always drawn up from the bank's point of view. This means that if we have money in the bank then from the bank's viewpoint, the bank owes us money. This is why the account is presented as a credit balance. If we were overdrawn (taken out more than we have in the account) then the balance would be a debit balance - i.e. we now owe the bank money. This can be confusing, because the cashbook will still be drawn up on the principles of double entry - debits involves money paid into the account, and credits involve money paid out of the account.


Notice how each cheque paid out of this account has a number attached to it - this refers to the actual number of the cheque - the person or firm it is paid to will not appear into the cheque.


Now we can compare the above bank statement with the firm's own cashbook. In this example we will only concern ourselves with the bank column of the cashbook, as this is the amount we are trying to reconcile with the bank statement.


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