What Is a Bank Reconciliation Statement, and How Is It Done?


A bank reconciliation statement is a crucial tool for businesses to compare their accounting records with their bank account balances. It helps detect discrepancies, errors, and fraud, impacting financial reporting and taxation. This article explores the significance of bank reconciliation, its benefits, the process of reconciliation, and common problems encountered, all while emphasizing its role in maintaining accurate financial records and preventing potential issues.

Understanding bank reconciliation statements

A bank reconciliation statement is a means of comparing a company’s financial records with its bank account balance. This reconciliation highlights discrepancies that require adjustments or corrections, including deposits, withdrawals, and other banking activities during a specific period. By addressing any differences, businesses can ensure accurate financial reporting and prevent overpayment or underpayment of taxes.

Identifying accounting errors

Bank reconciliation statements serve as a safeguard against errors, duplications, and accidental discrepancies. These discrepancies, if left unchecked, can have negative impacts on financial and tax reporting. Regular reconciliation helps businesses maintain financial accuracy and avoid costly mistakes.

Detecting fraud

One of the most compelling utilities of bank reconciliation statements lies in their capacity to unveil fraudulent activities, instances of theft, and potential losses. By meticulously comparing the anticipated financial figures with the actual recorded transactions, businesses can uncover irregularities that may indicate unauthorized actions, such as altered checks or fraudulent transfers. This aspect of bank reconciliation empowers companies to take swift and decisive actions to curtail the fraud’s impact and recover any misappropriated funds.

Managing risk

Accurate financial statements are essential for informed decision-making and investor confidence. Bank reconciliation provides a clear picture of cash flows, aiding in organizational planning and critical business decisions. Automation through software minimizes errors in the reconciliation process and ensures that individuals reconciling accounts lack access to funds.

How to perform bank reconciliation

Completing a bank reconciliation involves gathering bank statements and ledger information for the current and previous months. Here’s a simplified guide:

1. Gather bank statements and ledger lists of payments, deposits, and cash balances.
2. Start with the prior month’s closing balance.
3. Compare each bank statement item with your ledger entries, making necessary adjustments.
4. Review bank transaction items, ensuring they match between the statement and ledger.
5. After adjustments, the bank and accounting balances should align.
6. Investigate significant discrepancies and missing items.

Adjusting discrepancies between books and bank

Certain circumstances require adjusting the cash account balance in financial records to match the bank statement. Journal entries record adjustments for fees and interest earned. After these adjustments, the book balance should match the bank account’s ending balance.


Account maintenance fees are accounted for through journal entries to reflect deductions from the bank account.

Interest earned

Interest earned is adjusted by depositing it into the bank account and updating the financial records.

Example of a bank reconciliation statement

A practical example clarifies the process. Suppose ABC Holding Co.’s records indicate an ending balance of $500,000, while the bank statement shows $520,000. Investigation reveals a missing $20,000 vendor’s check and overlooked service charges. The reconciliation process rectifies these errors, ensuring accurate financials.

Common problems and solutions

Infrequent reconciliations hinder the timely detection of fraud and errors. Delayed transaction recording can lead to accounting mismatches. Bank reconciliation addresses these issues and ensures accurate tax payments and financial reporting.

Importance and frequency

Bank reconciliation is vital for maintaining accurate financial records and preventing financial inaccuracies. Regular reconciliation helps companies identify errors, provide accurate information to stakeholders, and plan tax payments effectively. It also serves as an early warning system against fraud.

Key takeaways

  • Bank reconciliation compares financial records with bank account balances.
  • It identifies errors, discrepancies, and potential fraud.
  • Regular reconciliation ensures accurate financial reporting and tax payments.
  • Adjustments for fees and interest are made to align book and bank balances.
  • Bank reconciliation is essential for managing risk and maintaining investor confidence.
View article sources
  1. Bank Reconciliations – Midwestern State University
  2. Accounting Notes – Alamo Colleges District
  3. Budgeting, Accounting and Reporting System (BARS) – Office of the Washington State Auditor
  4. Internal Controls: Safeguarding Assets and Enhancing Business Security – SuperMoney