18 Nov Beginning Bank Balance Difference
Ask the Expert – Beginning Bank Balance Difference
Q – I have been doing my bank reconciliation procedures each month without any problems, but this month the beginning balance does not match the ending balance. What happened and how do I fix it?
A – Discovering the problem is the tough part. Once you have discovered (or remembered) what has been changed, it is typically not too difficult to fix.
As you stated, the beginning balance should be the same as the beginning bank statement balance. This amount cannot simply be overridden in QuickBooks. The software automatically calculates this balance each time by going through the account’s entire register adding and subtracting all the transactions with a checkmark in the cleared column. If the amount shown in the beginning balance field is not correct, there is only one of three things that could have created the variance.
1. A transaction has been deleted or unmarked even though it had already cleared the bank. A possible source of the difference is that a transaction that has already cleared on the bank statement was either accidentally unchecked in the register or deleted. The former is probably the easiest error to find because the transaction will appear again in the reconciliation. By comparing the outstanding checks and deposits with the previous report, the error should be quite apparent. A deleted transaction, on the other hand, is much more difficult to find. The best way to find the error is to print a check register each month in addition to the full reconciliation report. Both reports should be filed with your bank statement. With the check register report, it is possible to compare the balance on the report with the register balance. By working backwards, the month that contains the deleted transaction resulting in the change in the opening balance can be determined. Once the month is found, by going through the register transaction by transaction, it is possible to figure out which one is missing and then re-enter it. Once the transaction is in the register, by clicking in the cleared column the checkmark will again appear. Record the transaction and the opening balance in the current reconciliation should be correct as well. If the check registers were not printed, or were not retained, the next best thing is to look at the audit report if it is turned on and see a deleted transaction with an older transaction date.
2. A transaction has been changed even though it had already cleared the bank. To determine the transaction with the error, follow the same procedures as detailed above for finding a deleted transaction.
3. A transaction has been marked as cleared even though it has not yet cleared the bank. Use the find feature to look for the dollar amount then investigate each one to see if it is marked as cleared but should not be. If this does not quickly discover the problem, try scrolling through the register from the bottom up and looking for a recent transaction that has a checkmark. The other way to find this error is to look at the previous reconciliation report at the uncleared transactions and confirm that they have not been marked as cleared. If the previous report was not printed in detail, the transaction may have cleared on the current bank statement but it is not listed in the reconciliation window. To correct the problem, go into the register and click in the cleared column to remove the checkmark and then choose record to save the change.
Although this sounds very straight forward, finding what has changed can be quite challenging. To aid in discovering the difference, the QuickBooks Premier Version 2002 and higher offers a discrepancy report which details all the changes made since the last reconciliation.