With most cheque account transactions and credit card statements now being available anytime online, you might be tempted to skip the monthly chore of reconciling your organisation's accounts. Even if you use cloud accounting apps and no longer have to wait to receive a paper statement in the mail to check your balances, there are several reasons why regularly reconciling your accounts is still a good idea.
Eliminates errors by serving as a double check of your data entry. Even the best accounting software can develop a glitch and possibly miss transactions. Reconciling your accounts allows you to catch errors and enter any missed transactions that your software might have missed when doing the books. Other errors that you can catch with reconciliation include entries with incorrect amounts or entries made to incorrect accounts. If you misplaced a receipt and a transaction didn't get entered into your records, reconciling your accounts regularly allows you to catch this type of error as well while you still have a chance to search for the missing receipt or perhaps return to the supplier and ask for a duplicate.
Allows you to pick up on overpayments or underpayments to suppliers and others. Regular account reconciliation allows you to stay on top of your transactions. When reconciling your account it's not unusual to have some outstanding cheques, but if one has remained uncashed for a period of time, it's always a good idea to follow up and find out if the cheque was lost, or if there is another issue.
Reduces potential for losses due to fraud or oversight. Regularly reconciling your accounts ensures that everyone that handles the accounts and issues cheques is only using the charity's funds to pay for authorised transactions. It also helps you to quickly catch any errors made by your group's bank or other financial institution.
Ensures financial statements are accurate so that data used to calculate required reports or taxes and fees is accurate. If you have missing or incorrect transactions, then the financial statements that are prepared from these records are incorrect as well. Any taxes or other fees that would be based on these statements would also be incorrect. Regular reconciliation of your accounts will catch these mistakes early in the year and allow you to take corrective action long before required reports and forms are due.
Allows you to have a better grasp of your performance. While some may prefer to look at a statement or other report to get a picture of their charity's financial stability, regularly reconciling your accounts can also give you an instant snapshot and up close view on your income, expenses and cash flow. Staying on top of this information allows you to help your charity, club or NFP to take corrective action should you spot a potential shortfall in income or increase in expenses.
While taking the time to regularly reconcile your organisation's accounts is not the most exciting or easy task that you have as a treasurer, it certainly has several benefits for your charity that will make it well worth the time and effort.