How To Do Bank Reconciliation: A Beginner’s Guide 

Keeping your bank transaction records accurate is a determining factor in any business’s finances and management.  

How do you know if your bookkeeping records reflect exactly what appears on your bank statement? One way to check is through a bank reconciliation. 

This article will explain what it means to reconcile your bank account, why it’s important, and how to do a bank reconciliation.

What’s a bank reconciliation? 

Bank reconciliation refers to the process of comparing a business’s cash records to a bank statement. While scanning these documents, if you find any discrepancies or errors, you will need to figure out the cause of the differences and make adjustments to correct them.

Most companies perform bank reconciliations on a regular basis in order to maintain up-to-date, verifiably accurate data and prevent fraud bookkeeping errors and other issues. While some companies still do bank reconciliations manually, many software solutions are available to make the process easier, quicker, and more efficient, like Xero, Sage, or Zoho.  

Why should you do bank reconciliation regularly?  

The ultimate goal of a bank reconciliation is to catch any mistakes and errors made by anyone with access to a business’s bank account—including the bank itself.

That’s why, if you don’t perform bank reconciliations at regular intervals, these little mistakes can add up without being identified, which could lead to serious issues affecting your cash flow and operations management. 

By carrying out bank reconciliations regularly, you greatly increase the chance of finding errors, preventing your business from losing any money. 

For example, let’s look at some common problems that you may come across during your bank reconciliation:

  • Checks that are returned after being deposited: Banks can decline the deposit of a check for a variety of reasons. If this problem arises, reverse the entry representing the failed deposit by giving a credit to the cash account, reducing the balance, and increasing the debit in the account for accounts receivable.
  • Double payment: If you don’t notify the bank about a voided check, you might end up paying twice. Request reimbursement if the payee cashed a voided and replacement check.
  • Missing and uncleared checks: Doing bank reconciliations will help you pinpoint missing or uncleared checks. For recent checks, continue reconciling them as uncleared checks. For checks that have been uncleared for a long time, contact and confirm whether the payee received the check, and in some cases, void the check and issue a replacement.

You might also be interested in: The 5 Most Common Bank Reconciliation Problems for Small Businesses.

How often should you do bank reconciliation? 

This will mainly depend on the volume of your business’s transactions. If your business has money entering and leaving multiple times per day, you should reconcile on a daily basis. On the other hand, if the transactions don’t happen daily, you can reconcile every week or month. 

It’s best to have a regular schedule. Decide how often you need to reconcile and stick to it. This will ensure that your financial data stays updated and you keep your unreconciled bank statements from piling up. 

How to do a bank reconciliation – Step by step guide 

Though bank reconciliations may sound complicated, they’re actually quite easy. Follow these seven steps to complete a bank reconciliation: 

1. Get a copy of your most recent bank statement 

Ask your bank to obtain a list of every transaction you’ve made in a period of time that you want to check. You can request a paper copy or ask the bank to send the data straight to your email or accounting software. 

2. Have your accounting records ready 

To simplify the bank reconciliation process, make sure you have your records available for the same time period as the bank statement you are referencing. You can have it printed or make a separate spreadsheet to cross-check the bank’s records easily.   

3. Review your bank deposits and withdrawals 

Make sure each deposit appears as an income recorded in your accounts. If something is missing, take note of it so that later, you can determine whether it was a sale, interest, refund, or something else.

All bank withdrawals should be recorded in your books. However, you might find out a few things that you haven’t accounted for yet — the most common ones are bank fees and overdraft fees.   

4. Review the income and expenses in your books

Repeat this process exactly the same as step 3: go through every transaction, note the differences, and determine their cause. 

5. Adjust your bank statement 

Make the necessary adjustments to your bank statements’ balances to match the updated and corrected balance. You might have to add deposits in transit, deduct outstanding checks, and add/deduct bank errors to correct them.

6. Adjust your accounting records

You’ll also need to update your records to reflect the bank’s transactions appropriately. Go through the discrepancies you noted previously while checking your books and make changes accordingly.  

7. Compare the balances

The adjusted balances from the two sets of documents should be the same. If they’re still not equal, you will need to do the process of reconciliation again. When the numbers are perfect, you can mark this as the starting point for your next reconciliation.

The bottom line 

Bank reconciliation is an integral part of every business’s accounting procedure. It helps you improve accuracy, prevents losing money, and keeps track of your cash flow. Remember to reconcile frequently, as the longer you go without it, the more difficult it will be to catch up. 

Checking your receipts is one of the most effective ways to examine and adjust the differences you spotted during bank reconciliation. That’s why having all of your receipts in one place is super handy in these situations. 

Shoeboxed can help you with that. 

Shoeboxed is an online receipt scanner that helps you clear your piles of documents and converts them to digital in just seconds. This versatile app automatically extracts and categorizes important data from your receipts, which then gets manually checked and approved by a team of data experts
Go paperless for FREE with Shoeboxed!

Financial Services Marketing: Definition, Benefits and Best Practices for Small Businesses

Growing a business can be challenging if you’re a small financial services company. Especially with the evolution of digital transformation causing an industry-wide shakeup in the financial sector, digital-savvy customers are expecting more from financial services companies. How can small financial services companies survive—and thrive—in this volatile environment? 

Only using traditional marketing methods won’t bring the best result for your business—try financial services marketing instead. But what is financial services marketing, actually? In this article, we’ll walk you through this term, from the definition, types of businesses that can take advantage of it, and the five best financial services marketing strategies for financial service providers. 

What is financial services marketing?

Financial services marketing is several marketing methods that employ special strategies and techniques to generate brand awareness or drive conversions to a financial firm. By using custom-made marketing strategies for financial services, business owners can turn obstacles into advantages and grow their business effectively.

What kind of businesses can benefit from financial services marketing?

The financial services sector includes many different niches and segments. Here are the main types of financial companies that can benefit from financial services marketing:

  • Auto finance firms
  • Brokerage firms
  • Credit unions
  • Commercial banks
  • Retail banks
  • Credit card companies
  • Insurance companies
  • CPA firms
  • Wealth management firms
  • Accounting firms

However, these financial institutions are subject to different laws and regulations, which are beyond the scope of this article. Before you consider and implement the following marketing strategies, keep in mind to refer to standard practices and regulations specific to your field. 

Two major challenges of financial services marketing

  • It’s hard to gain customers’ trust

This is perhaps the most common issue for financial-service marketers. Money is a personal topic, and customers must trust their financial institutions before purchasing more services.

The Covid-19 recession negatively affected most people, and only recently are customers becoming more comfortable with their financial positions. This means they are very cautious about investing money in products and services they don’t know thoroughly or are uncertain whether they are necessary. 

  • Customers are unaware of financial services marketing’s benefits 

A potential car buyer can immediately judge quality based on objective factors like appearance, gas mileage, and price. They can read quantifiable figures about each vehicle to make comparisons and discuss them in a public forum to pick the most suitable one. 

However, people looking for a financial service are less inclined to publicize their demands. This means product attributes are vague, which can increase customers’ skepticism. This problem is not easy to overcome, especially because most people consider financial services uninteresting.

Five best practice marketing strategies for financial services

Now that we have identified the challenges of financial services marketing, let’s go into the details of the most effective financial services marketing strategies that will help you attract more leads and convert them into loyal customers.

1. Host educational webinars

Webinars are an effective channel to generate leads, especially for B2B businesses. According to Findstack, around 73% of B2B professional marketers think they can get high-quality leads from webinars. Additionally, the use of webinars has increased rapidly since the Covid-19 outbreak.

Webinars continue to be the first choice for many marketers because they offer an effective way to build authority and trust among your brand’s audience base. Unlike other marketing strategies, a webinar session allows financial institutions to reveal a more human aspect, which is a huge plus since most people perceive financial companies as impersonal, formal, and unfriendly.

Webinars are an effective approach to generating leads because they promise more value than most other marketing methods. If your webinar attracts a prospect’s attention, they will be more likely to fill out their information in your webinar sign-up form.

Additionally, hosting a webinar is a golden opportunity to understand your audience. It’s the best thing next to having face-to-face conversations, making potential customers comfortable enough to bring up questions or concerns that they wouldn’t have raised in any other environment or platform.

2. Publish case studies

Broadcasting case studies can be the best way to tell your audience that you have a solution for their financial problem. Why’s this true? It’s because case studies allow you to demonstrate to your prospective customers that your product or services are effective Case studies tell a story and show how successful a product or service is. And if there’s one thing potential customers are looking for, it’s a story that promises a good ending.

Case studies are also based on evidence and are backed by real numbers. For example, if you tell a story of how you were able to help a struggling company increase their annual revenue by 200% and then back it up with statistics, you’re showing that you’re trustworthy and that you can live up to your promises.

3. Build social media presence

Statistics show that roughly 7-in-10 Americans use social media, and they spend an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes surfing the internet per day. That means that most of your customers (both potential and existing) are on social media.

Social media is where conversations and discussions happen, making it an ideal place to develop your financial brand’s authority and trust. What’s more, on many platforms social media users are not only there to interact with their friends but also with brands. 

Business blog Oberlo’s research about social media statistics has also proved it: 

  • 54% of internet users use social media platforms to research products or services.
  • 71% of customers who have had a good experience with a brand on social media will recommend it to their family and friends.
  • 49% of customers are likely to buy something if it was recommended by a social media influencer.

In other words, if you’re not focusing on building your social media presence, you’re leaving money on the table.

4. Implement PPC advertising to generate financial leads

When growing a financial services business, neglecting PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is a huge waste. After all, financial services companies largely rely on lead generation. PPC advertising is the way to go when it comes to generating leads.

PPC advertising offers the following benefits:

  • Helps you rank faster for strategic keywords.
  • Brings you prompt traffic.
  • Attracts highly targeted visitors to your website.
  • Contributes to your search advertising, display advertising, retargeting strategies.

5. Publish high-quality blog posts

Blogging has changed radically over the years. In general, most people will do a Google search to find answers to their financial problems or dilemmas. That’s why publishing high-quality blog content is still an effective strategy for growing a financial brand (or any brand for that matter). 

Like a PPC strategy, you can start by doing keyword research. However, unlike PPC, you have a new metric to consider with SEO keyword research: keyword difficulty. This gives you a comprehensive insight into a keyword or topic, its volume (which indicates how many people search for the keyword), and how easy or hard it is to rank for a keyword. You can use keyword research software like Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, or Semrush. If you’re just starting out, try focusing on keywords with lower difficulty to start earning initial search traffic.

Investing in a blog can benefit your financial services business in the following ways:

  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Boost brand awareness via SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Generate leads for your email database 
  • Build trust and authority in your niche
  • Grow a social media presence (when sharing a high-quality blog post on social media)

The bottom line

So now you have it—the five most effective financial services marketing strategies that can help boost your financial firm. You can now consider the pick the best method(s) for your company to increase your brand awareness and generate conversions. 

Shoeboxed is a versatile receipt-scanning and expense-managing app for small businesses. Shoeboxed offers business owners the best accounting solution: digitizing receipts, managing expenses, storing business cards, tracking mileages, and so much more. Additionally, Shoeboxed ensures that the digital versions of your receipts are clearly scanned, well categorized, human-verified, and legibly accepted by both the Internal Revenue Service and the Canada Revenue Service in the event of an audit. By that, you can rest assured that all your business financial documents are audit-ready and focus on developing your business’s core values. 
Don’t forget to sign up for the Shoeboxed blog if you’d like more information on how Shoeboxed has helped our clients with their financial challenges and other engaging stories about entrepreneurship, staying organized, DIY accounting, together with the latest Shoeboxed’s product updates.

What is a Bank Transaction Receipt and its Benefits for Your Business

Whenever you visit a bank and make a monetary transaction, such as a deposit or withdrawal, the bank will provide you with a bank transaction receipt. This is how banks keep an accurate and up-to-date record of all financial transactions conducted at a given location by various account holders. 

Since this financial term is used in many situations in daily life, it’s good to have a basic understanding of bank transaction receipts and how your business can benefit from them. 

What is a bank transaction receipt?

A bank transaction receipt (also known as a bank receipt) is a standard form of documentation for most financial transactions. Customers who go to banks or other financial institutions to conduct any monetary transactions should expect to receive a bank receipt for these transactions. 

Besides transactions involving deposit accounts, these receipts are also sent to customers who make loan payments, credit card payments, and conduct other similar types of transactions. Bank transaction receipts are also given to businesses that conduct financial transactions at a given bank or financial institution. 

Banks also keep their own copies of bank transaction receipts. This ensures thorough record-keeping for all financial transactions for each of their various account holders. These receipts are also a form of collateral. If a customer makes a request, the bank will have a detailed record of the transaction to refer back to. Whether a bank employee makes an error or an account holder miscalculates a portion of the transaction, bank transaction receipts make it much easier to resolve disputes. 

In the past, bank transaction receipts were paper slips. However, in recent years, many banks have begun to offer digital copies of receipts (by email,  text message, or other methods). 

Using digital receipts rather than paper receipts enables the bank to save on printing costs. Digital receipts also provide convenience for account holders as they no longer have to keep track of numerous paper receipts. 

Bank transaction receipt details

A bank transaction receipt contains detailed information about a financial transaction conducted at a particular bank. The form of the receipt may vary by bank or institution, but all bank transaction receipts must include these essential details: 

  • Bank account numbers
  • Account holder name(s)
  • Date of transaction
  • The total amount of the transaction

Sometimes a bank transaction receipt will even include detailed information such as the employee number of the bank employee who conducted your transaction. 

How to use bank transaction receipts for bookkeeping

Given the importance of bank receipts to businesses, you can make use of these documents and turn them into a helpful tool for your bookkeeping practices, either for personal or business expenses. In fact, many banks and other financial institutions recommend balancing your account books on a monthly basis and referring to your bank transaction receipts throughout the process. It’s common to go over monthly bank statements and cross-check this information with all of your bank transaction receipts that you have collected for a given month. 

Even if you hire a professional accountant to track your personal or business finances, they will request a copy of your bank transaction receipts. Bookkeepers use this information to track your income, expenses, and other financial transactions impacting your cash flow. This financial data helps keep an accurate and real-time record of your financial activities. 

Bookkeepers also use bank transaction receipts for data entry purposes to track your credit card payments, which can help you control your spending. Bank transaction receipts can even help you improve your credit score over time with good bookkeeping practices

Some people prefer to use receipt tracking mobile apps that automatically track this information in real-time instead of working with an accountant. You’ll no longer have to keep a hard copy of your bank transaction receipts by using mobile apps, as this information is readily available on your mobile device. You only need to make sure that you store these physical copies of your bank receipts before uploading them into a cloud-based system. After scanning your documents with a versatile mobile app, you can free your desk and drawers from piles of paper receipts and keep them for years!

See more: 5 Best Receipt Scanner and Organizer Apps for Small Businesses in 2021.

How to use bank transaction receipts for taxes

Bank transaction receipts can be very beneficial when preparing for tax season. To work on the tax reduction process, first, you need to collect all proof of purchases for your business expenses. Next, you need to find the right tax form and fill in all the details. The last step is to submit the form and then you’re good to go. 

Business owners can use their bank transaction receipts to balance their accounts. You can do this by reviewing the monthly bank statement and comparing the amount and transaction dates of items listed on the statement with their bank receipts. 

Typically, businesses will keep their bank receipts until the end of the year for tax preparation purposes. Individuals who claim tax deductions for certain types of expenses must also keep copies of bank transaction receipts to prove that they qualify for deductions related to banking transactions, such as interest charges or mortgages.

The bottom line

Bank transaction receipts, along with business plans, marketing strategies, and financial reports, are essential documents for all businesses. Keeping and managing these documents properly can help track your business’s financial performance, solve disputes, keep the bookkeeping up to date and even claim tax deductions with ease. A simple yet effective way to achieve this is to digitally scan and store your important documents. 

Shoeboxed is a painless receipt-scanning and organizing solution for freelancers and small business owners. After scanning your receipts with the Shoeboxed app, our OCR engine will automatically extract the most important data points and automatically categorize them by vendor, total spent, date, and payment type. After that, our staff will double-check to ensure that all of your data is human-verified, categorized, organized, fully searchable, and available on any device. Shoeboxed keeps your bank transaction receipts in a safe place with high accessibility. 

See also: How To Scan A Receipt Digitally With The Shoeboxed App.

The Shoeboxed app is available on iOS and Android. You can try Shoeboxed for free before choosing the perfect plan for your purposes!