Bank Reconciliation Routine

I'll post here because I assume Duane will read it.

Can something be done to lock the ticks on a bank reconciliation routine. Either that or a complete redesign or the process. Maybe marking transactions with the bank statement date as in Sage or a statement reference as in VT.

I'm growing increasingly frustrated at the amount of time it is taking my practice to support our clients with the bank reconciliation. The two problems being:

  • that a bank rec is never "fixed". Time and time again we find we are having to go back to previous months to repeat the reconciliation.
  • Clients loose track on the ticking and can not return to a previous agreed position. Again because the bank rec is not "fixed".

For clients where our staff do the bank rec we are doing the reconciliation in Excel; surely that should not be the case.

If other Accountants (not users) feel the same could they add their support.

Finally, could I say this is not an attack on Kashflow as a whole. I think other parts of the software are fantastic and client's love it.

 

 

Comments
DuaneJAckson's picture

errrm

DuaneJAckson | | Permalink

 "I'll post here because I assume Duane will read it."

As opposed to my email where you know I'll read it you mean? 

Didn't you post some time back in Any Answers asking for support in gettng the bank rec changed? You got one response but we still went ahead and introduced the changes for you - no quicker than we would have done otherwise. We've also implemented other changes you've asked for since.

We're constantly evolving the software, see here for details of the process we still follow. I agree the bank rec could do with improving, but as I've explained to you by email, on the phone and in person (as no doubt has your account manager) - other things are more in demand and take priority.

You're not going to get a different answer by publicly asking me the same question you've already asked privately - you're just going to annoy me. And annoying people isn't the way to influence them

 

thacca's picture

errmm back

thacca | | Permalink

My last two emails to support on the subject, I copied you on both, received no reply what so ever.

"I agree the bank rec could do with improving". I'm glad. I can't wait for it to happen.

"Other things are more in demand and take priority". It an Accounts Systems! A bank rec is fundamental to getting the accounts correct (Try suggesting not doing a bank rec in the Any Answer section of this site and you will be lynched). I am suprised that it is so far down your list.

Yes you have implemented my suggestions in the past. I'll point out that I have complimented you in other threads on this site for that (http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/anyanswers/vat-returns-kashflow-do-not-match-control-accounts).

When you say I'm annoying you may like to recall.

  • How many errors I found for you in your sage import routine two years ago and how much input I gave in correcting it.
  • How much input I gave you when you implemented the CIS Report.
  • The suggestion to reanlyse transactions in bulk (a VT+ feature) was my suggestion.
  • The ability to change the anlalysis code on bank locked transactions was my suggestion.
  • I'm suprised you see me as a "pita". The software is better for the suggestions I have made.

 

Priorities    1 thanks

malero | | Permalink

Probably not a good idea to post at the end of the annoyed list but...

Duane, you are seeing the bank rec as being low on your priorities. From a partner perspective I think you should move it to the top - it is the one thing that my clients complain about consistently. Kashflow does not cope well with older reconciled entries and clients need the reassurance of a done reconciliation - lock transactions is only available where there are no unreconciled transactions.

I agree with Thacca in that too much of our time is spent reconciliong for clients.

thacca's picture

Thankyou    1 thanks

thacca | | Permalink

It was my belief before I wrote the initial post that other accountants must be having the same problems. I wanted to use this forum to judge if that was the case. If enough of us are having problems it seems logical to me that Kashflow should do something about it.

My intention was not to try and annoy Duane into changing it but rather show that there was a need to change it. I would be gratetful if others agree with me & Malero that they could post below.

Not important

Coopers Willy | | Permalink

Clients don't get bank recs.  Accept this; move on.  Just give them a ruler and tell them to go down the statement line by line putting the bank entries onto the system.  Guess what - they do it.  And they get it right.  Maybe not perfect but if the client understands to regularly check the Kashflow balance to the bank statement then it can't go wrong,  and if it does it's very easy to find the error and correct.  (We hardly spend any time at all correcting banks :-))

thacca's picture

Not important.

thacca | | Permalink

@Coopers Willy

I imagine from what you are saying that you are getting your clients to just use Kashflow to write up their books once a month. I probably wouldn't recommend Kashflow to clients in that situation as their are no batch routines and data entry is slow compared to alternatives. For these clients we would normally be putting everything on VT+ every 1/4 when we do their VAT.

I would normally recommend accounts sofware when the client is going to make actual use of the sofware for running their business. These clients will usually records sales receipts as they go so that they have an up to date position of their debtors. In these circumstances the "cashbook" will unlikely mirror the bank statements and a reconciliation is needed. 

I also want to support clients who do not have the ability to do the bank rec them selves or would rather outsource it. This would normally involve clients recording bank receipts/supplier payments and us entering bank charges etc and reconciling the bank. Again the "cashbook" will not normally mirror the bank statement and a decent reconciliation routine would assist. We currently revert to doing this in excel.

Really, it's not important

Coopers Willy | | Permalink

@thacca; Well, our Kashflow account manager told us just the other day that we were a model practice because our clients use Kashflow nice and regular.  We've a Kashflow client training program, complete with blurb (with debtors and creditors and everything, except of course unpresented cheques), which all new Kashflow clients go through and then we hit them over the head with a big sh*tty stick if they're not using it properly.  

thacca's picture

@Coopers Willy

thacca | | Permalink

Happy for you to disagree but you didn't really set out an argument as to why what I was saying wasn't a problem.

I repeat If clients are entering transactions as they go then the cashbook will not normally mirror the bank statement. Telling them to do otherwise (when the bank statement arrives) takes away a lot of the reasons why I would recommend accounts software in the first place. 

Until it is improved I think I will just tell clients to redate transactions to the date they clear (or the first of the following month if they are uncleared) so that the running balance matches the bank. I can think of several reasons why this isn't ideal.

Also,we will continue to reconcile for clients in excel.

A final thought. If I had been told two years ago Kashflow doesn't do a bank rec and won't, the solution is to enter transactions the same date as the statement or do a manual rec, I would have either accepted kashflow for its positives or decided not to use it. The twoing and throwing between me and Duane over that period is because he thought he had a bank rec when he didn't and now he has a bank rec I am critical because it doesnt work well.

My view on Kashflow Bank Rec

fgb1973 | | Permalink

 I just joined this group as looking for some opinions on Kashflow as I have been working on it for a client for the last 6 months and I really don't like it as a bookkeeping system and wanted to know if I was alone in the matter. As well as an accountancy practice I run a bookkeeping business so it is my own team of experienced/qualified bookkeepers doing the bookkeeping rather than the client, and we still have to go back and re-do months of bank reconciling due to a lack of robustness in the the kashflow system, and all the same problems highlighted in the emails in this thread.

First and foremost I was disappointed to see that the thread I was interested in was very argumentative, with a response from the director of Kashflow in a very agressive and unprofessional manner.  Perhaps rather than responding to a message that obviously annoyed you here, you should have replied in a more suitably professional manner, suggesting the argument is carried out in a less public space?  I have never had any communication direct with Kashflow and this is the first communication I have ever seen and if this is representative of your company I don't think it is going to improve my opinion of it and will also think twice about contacted you if that is the type of response you received.

Anyway my main views on the Kashflow system are

Clients love it, the overview and business info they require from it is spot on.

Without a robust bank reconciliation the software is inadequate.  It has to be the most important thing in a bookkeeping system.

Locking transactions kind of helps but not if an invoice is received late, you cannot back post and if you do by unlocking the system you risk altering your vat & bank rec unless you are really careful.  This is open to too much human error and a bookkeeping system should be able to withstand a lot of human error, particulary if a client has an in house bookkeeper.

Support is not good, the helpdesk repsond quickly to an email, but I wanted to talk through an error with someone and I was told I am not allowed to contact them by phone only email.  It was too difficult to explain via email so I still have the error outstanding.

Web based data entry is awkward.  When keying data for example a new purchase, some boxes require ENTER and some need TAB to move onto the next data field.  If you press the wrong one all your data is cleared and you have to start again.  I would suggest this happens for 20% of transactions input in our business.

 

Sorry if I have more negatives than positives.  I am hugely into new systems and always looking for the best new online system as I desperatly need one to grow my business, when I first stumbled across Kashflow I thought it might have been in, but sadly I think not.

 

DuaneJAckson's picture

RapidFire and Orbit

DuaneJAckson | | Permalink

 Hi fgb1973,

I'm afraid it's just not economical or practical to provide telephone support to end users at the price we charge them.

With regards to data entry, have you seen RapidFire? It's only available to accountants that are using Orbit Accounts, as is telephone support and a whole load of other features

Regarding the issue you mention about tab/enter and losing data, it's not something we're aware of. If you send details of this to the support team it will be looked at and resolved.

I hope that helps.

Duane.
 

Bank Rec is a problem

Ken Howard | | Permalink

Have to agree that the bank rec is poor. It's the one and only problem that my clients regularly mention and we've spent far too much time trying to find workarounds to make it work. One client in particular is ready to scrap KF and revert back to QB - which is a shame because they'd used QB for years and I'd persuaded them to switch to KF so they now have lower respect for me. That client finds it impossible because they use several "bank" accounts, i.e. main accounts, then a dummy account for customer card payments, another account for their own credit card payments, another account for "cash", etc., so what should be simple and take just a few minutes turns into hours/days. Please, Duane, look at how QB does it and copy it. Simples.

DuaneJAckson's picture

Email

DuaneJAckson | | Permalink

 Hi Ken,

Can you drop me an email direct on duane@kashflow.com?

I can't find your details in our system to contact you.

Thanks

Email

malero | | Permalink

Duane, asking writers to email you defeats the purpose of a Kashflow discussion group.

I think Kashflow is a great program and have been a partner for many years. However I would like to know why the bank rec, which as a professional I believe is deficient and acts as a spoiler with my clients, is regarded as such low priority.

We all make do with what we have but with a better bank rec routine Kashflow would be truly great.  

Bank Rec

darren.austin | | Permalink

I have been a partner for almost 2 years and love the program. However, please do something about the bank rec feature as it is not up to the job. This is fundamental to any accounting software and should be top of the list.

DuaneJAckson's picture

Email?

DuaneJAckson | | Permalink

 @malero - I posted in the discussion group here to explain why I can't always join in discussion on here. This discussion group wasn't my idea. I'm asking for Kens email so I can get some clarification on "look at how QB does it and copy it.". Email is a more practical way for me to manage this kind of thing than a multi-person disccusion thread.

@darren - I'm on the case, thanks to the feedback from yourself and others - both on here and via support and the account managers.

Bank Rec

darren.austin | | Permalink

@duane - one thing that would make life much easier is to allow lockdown of the transactions once the  'Total of Ticked Items + Opening Balance' = 'Statement Closing Balance'. The exception would be that you would still need to be able to mark locked transactions as reconciled or you would not be able to deal with outstanding cheques (perhaps remove the lock automatically when in reconcile mode).At the moment, you cannot lock transactions post a rec unless there are no outstanding cheques.

Also, add a facility that records the last bank rec details once completed so that it can be called up in future.

 

 

Anyone?

malero | | Permalink

OK, a frustrating response from Duane - taking the time to explain why he cannot post to the forum by posting to the forum. Is there anyone at Kashflow who can explain to the forum why improving bank rec is low priority?

Kashflow and Bank Reconciliations

Myshkin | | Permalink

 It is frustrating because Kashflow is such a great program for small businesses but because of this one deficiency there must be many accountants out there who, like me, can't recommend it to their clients.  No way do I want to do clients accounts from their books that don't feature a proper bank reconciliation.  ( I have found a couple of clients get round it by editing the date of each withdrawal and deposit to be the date on the bank statement so that the ledger always agrees to the bank statement!)

You would think Kashflow would be wanting accountants to recommend their product.

DuaneJAckson's picture

In progress

DuaneJAckson | | Permalink

It looks like I may have underestimated the strength of feeling about this issue, and for that I apologise.

I've pulled the development team off what they're currently working on to instead work on a new, improved bank rec process that will be very similar to QB. I'll also be working on the coding with them myself over the long weekend.

We'll be bypassing the usual development processes so as to get this released sooner rather than later.

I'll update this thread once we have something to show.

In the meantime there might be a couple of settings you're not aware of that may help...

In Settings - Advanced Settings you can set it to use a "reconciled balance" as the starting balance. Try it and you'll see what I mean. This should help deal with unpresented cheques.

You can lock transactions on a bank account and still be able to reconcile them. It's only the prompt to do this automatically that doesn't show up if the account isn't reconciled. You can lock them manually from the bank account settings page (click edit details next to the account under the bank tab). If you're using orbitaccounts.com you can lock them from within that too and also stop the client from being able to unlock them.

Finally, if anyone wants to give any specific input on how you'd like the process to work (ie any improvements in QBs current process) then either email me directly - Duane@kashflow.com or post your thoughts here.

In Progress

malero | | Permalink

Well done Duane, I have always found KashFlow responsive to sensible suggestions and am pleased that it continues.

It is always nice to be able to enter missed transactions from within the reconciliation process and, if changing transactions, to be returned to the reconciliation screen - this saves time on endless toing and froing; Sage has obliged in this respect fairly recently. 

Bank Recs

Myshkin | | Permalink

Wow.  Never known a response like that before.   Thank you so much.

 

DuaneJAckson's picture

Introducing the new Bank Rec routine

DuaneJAckson | | Permalink

As promised, we've now developed a new routine for reconciling the bank accounts. This is much more similar to the QB process and allows you to save and recall previous reconciliations and much more.

As I said above, I've circumvented the usual processes for development to get this done quickly (less than 2 working days!) as such it's not been tested as thoroughly as I'd ideally like - so there may be a few bugs that need ironing out.

To try it for yourself just log in to an account and go to Settings -> Advanced Settings.
At the very bottom of the page there is a tick box to enable the new routine. Tick this box.

Then go to the Bank tab and click "Reconcile" next to an account.

The on-screen guidance should guide you through everything.

I'll look forward to your feedback.

thacca's picture

Wow

thacca | | Permalink

Just back from an holiday in Turkey this morning to find the World has changed; Duane has changed his position on the bank rec! Joking aside I'm very pleased with the development-  albeit I haven't tested it out.

 

 

 

New Bank Rec

Myshkin | | Permalink

 Many thanks again.  Have passed what you say on to clients and will come back with their comments.  Will get time to have a look this afternoon myself.

thacca's picture

Opinions wanted

thacca | | Permalink

I've just written the following in an email to Duane along with some other problems.

"After agreeing a bank rec you are still asking us to lock a bank; this is unnecessary and undesirable. What’s better is to “lock” reconciled (ticked) transactions. If a client forgets to lock a bank as it’s a manual option they can still edit reconciled transactions and mess up a bank rec. Also if we find late “transactions” for example a cheque dated the last day of the month which hasn’t cleared it is desirable to be able to enter it without having to unlock the bank and then relock the bank."

Obviously the above is my opinion. I assume other accountants will agree. Perhaps you all can let us know if you do below.

thacca's picture

Better

thacca | | Permalink

There was a problem yesterday that I reported to Duane by email, it appears to be fixed today - I have not received a reply from Duane so do not know if this has dissapeared because of a fix or not.

I have changed over all clients to the "New Bank Rec" this morning. It does work and deals with uncleared items well.

I can see problems:

1) Reconciled transactions are only locked by the bank lock which is a manual option - this is open to human error in forgetting/not doing it. Once locked there may be a need to unlock the bank in certain circumstances which gives a further chance to alter reconciled transactions and may lead to forgetting to relock it.

Locking only transactions that have been included on a bank rec automatically would be a better option than asking the user to lock all transactions themselves.

2) You can get to transactions that have been included on a bank rec and remove the tick. This effectively messes up the bank rec. Although there appears to be no reason why some one would do this I have no doubts a client somewhere will do this for no apparent reason - the system should be able to withstand this.

 

thacca's picture

Better

thacca | | Permalink

There was a problem yesterday that I reported to Duane by email, it appears to be fixed today - I have not received a reply from Duane so do not know if this has dissapeared because of a fix or not.

I have changed over all clients to the "New Bank Rec" this morning. It does work and deals with uncleared items well.

I can see problems:

1) Reconciled transactions are only locked by the bank lock which is a manual option - this is open to human error in forgetting/not doing it. Once locked there may be a need to unlock the bank in certain circumstances which gives a further chance to alter reconciled transactions and may lead to forgetting to relock it.

Locking only transactions that have been included on a bank rec automatically would be a better option than asking the user to lock all transactions themselves.

2) You can get to transactions that have been included on a bank rec and remove the tick. This effectively messes up the bank rec. Although there appears to be no reason why some one would do this I have no doubts a client somewhere will do this for no apparent reason - the system should be able to withstand this.

 

abelljms's picture

bank recs

abelljms | | Permalink

 

 

 

I had a looong confused conversation with support this morning on this vexed topic of bank recs.

I have now read all this stuff about the new routine, but find it is not present as an option to tick as described, so still confused.

Bank recs r simples...... u just need to use the tick boxes provided to indicate it's cleared, and when you click on RECONCILE that it locks the ticked items FOR BANK purposes ONLY so you can't unreconcile them accidentally, BUT that you can still correct a mis-posting if the other side is in wrong expense for instance.

It was very disconcerting today to find that Support had no idea how to even answer the question. There is a massive need for some IT-savvy accountants at kflow.

 

 

abelljms's picture

can't find the site of the glorious new dawn

abelljms | | Permalink

 

 

please make it appear..................

"To try it for yourself just log in to an account and go to Settings -> Advanced Settings.
At the very bottom of the page there is a tick box to enable the new routine. Tick this box."

DuaneJAckson's picture

Email?

DuaneJAckson | | Permalink

Have you tried emailing rather than calling?
The odds of the right person with the relevant knowledge being available when you call are slim.

If your question is on an email in your own words then nothing can be lost in translation and the appropriate person can deal with your query as soon as they're free.

thacca's picture

Fix

thacca | | Permalink

I'm glad to see that my "problem" 2 above as been addressed. Well done Kashflow.

Warning - there are still glitches.

OMSS | | Permalink

I encountered a problem with the bank rec yesterday.

I had already manually reconciled the bank account up to Dec 10 and wanted to hand the reconciliation process over to the client (who was actually asking for that to happen.)

I initially gave it to a trainee who could not get it to reconcile.

Knowing that it had already been reconciled manually, I was puzzled.

I went at it in two stages.  Stage one to 1/1/2010 to make sure that previous uncleared items were dealt with correctly. Stage two 2/1/2010 to 31/12/2010.

I went in and ticked all items up to 31 Dec 2010 and then unticked the 2 uncleared items. So the account should have been reconciled.  But there was a difference of almost 3000 (which turned out to be about 10 transactions.)

After a little bit of investigation, I realised that the totals of the cleared items were incorrect and I discovered that someone, most likely the client, had tried to use the old system and a small number of transactions had been previously marked as cleared but these were not included in the total of cleared items for the period now being reconciled.   That was the difference.  The totals of cleared items on the reconciliation screens only included items cleared in the current reconciliation session. 

I knew that the account should be reconciled but the system was reporting a difference and the reports alone gave no clues as to what the problem was.  I dumped the complete bank transactions into excel, totalled them and compared the totals to the totals appearing on the reconciliation windows.  When I saw a difference, I then compared the individual transactions and saw that some transactions were not included in the reconciliation window. I resolved it by changing to the old format and unreconciling those transactions and starting afresh.

I gave the feedback to support.  They don't see it as a problem, suggesting that the system functions as it should.  My suggestion has been added to the Develop Backlog for consideration.

I don't believe your typical client would have resolved this alone. If I had not known it to be already reconciled, I don't think I would have been so persistent.  All the transactions for the relevant period should be shown with their cleared status otherwise you have no idea whats missing.

For a system that wants to be seen as user friendly and user focussed, this has to be a problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

thacca's picture

Changeover

thacca | | Permalink

When changing over to the new bank rec I have made a note of the correct reconciliation. i.e

Bank balance

+/- unpresented items

=cash book balance

Then I untick ALL items under the old system.

I then switch the bank rec to the new system and do one bank rec from the first transaction to the last reconciled date. This is easiest done by ticking all transactions and then removing the tick on the uncleared items.

Everytime I have tried to continue from the old system to the new by using the start balance in the account details section I have encountered problems.

I also had a problem where I identified bank transfers were not showing up and had to get support to alter these so they would show. Were the transactions you had a problem with also transfers?

 

Problem with support

BryanS1958 | | Permalink

The problem with Kashflow support (as with most software support) seems to be that they are not accountants.  They often fail to understand problems that could have a material impact on clients and on one occasion even changed a client's records (incorrectly) without telling them - this was probably a one-off with a trainee.  They also sometimes give incorrect advice - normally I contact Kashflow, but I have some clients who e-mail them direct so I hate to think what I will find when we come to do the accounts.

Also, although Kashflow is supposedly easily updateable if there are errors/improvements needed a lot of fairly important issues e.g. where VAT is being incorrectly calculated seem to go to the back of the queue in favour of other changes to usability/adding revenue streams. I'm still waiting for an issue to be resolved where the wrong FRS rate was being used for cash accounting transactions on the changeover of VAT rate (even though the correct FRS rates were in Kashflow) and this could mean many £'000s have been underpaid/overpaid by Kashflow users, so you would think it would be given priority.

More on Glitches

OMSS | | Permalink

My problem was that I was not aware that someone had already used the old reconciliation.

It was not specific to transfers.

I did everything as per your method except to untick all items marked under the old system because I had no reason to believe that there were items marked under the old system.

Now, I would know to check were some items already marked but I had no reason to think there were and I didn't expect it to cause a problem in any event.

I just feel the system is not as transparent as it should be.  There was no warning.  The previously reconciled transactions did not appear anywhere.  The only message was that there was a reconciliation difference.  But I knew it had been manually reconciled so there could'nt have been a difference.

 

Be wary of transfer from old to new

Ken Howard | | Permalink

I'd have to echo other warnings about moving from the old to new bank recs.  Over the past few months, I've moved over 10-15 clients and they've all been a nightmare.  It's ridiculous that support's answer is still, to this day, to just unreconcile it all in the old system and then do it again in the new - that's a cobbled together fix and doesn't address the fundamental flaws in the bank rec causing it to happen.  Considering it is now several months since the new bank rec was introduced, this should have been fixed by the programmers.  I've also had the problem that despite doing the untick and re-tick, some bank transfers simply disappear in the new system but remain appearing on the old system.  As far as I know, KF support still have to refer this problem to their programmers to fix in the background.  Again, after several months, they've had more than enough time to sort this out.  It seems to me that they spent a weekend back in April throwing together the new bank rec and have now forgotten about it again.

At that time, I made suggestions about how the new bank rec could be improved, i.e. locking reconciliation ticks instead of locking the entire bank, but the usual promises to improve have again been forgotten or kicked into the long grass.

Duane, the bank rec problems aren't going to go away.  You need to get a grip with this and sort it out.  My firm has made a number of recommendations via the support/suggestions system and they're being ignored.  This is not good!

 

 

thacca's picture

Sympathy

thacca | | Permalink

Ken,

I have sympathy for everything you say. However:

Once you have swapped existing clients from the old to the new, which is a hassle, you will never have to do it again; presumably any new clients will go on the new bank rec straight away.

What you say about locking ticks as opposed to the whole bank is exactly correct and is what I was saying when I posted this above "Locking only transactions that have been included on a bank rec automatically would be a better option than asking the user to lock all transactions themselves".

This isn't ideal and does mean unlocking the bank in certain circumstances i.e. to delete transactions that don't clear the bank. But that problem I can live with. It is not a problem of the scale we had before which was their was effectively no bank rec only something that called itself one.

On sage or VT which does have a bank rec that does what you and I want I'm normally inclined to leave unreconciled transactions to the year end accounts to investiage happy in the knowledge that the bank "agrees". Because of the problems of unlocking the bank in kashflow I've started trying to deal with these when we do the bank rec. This normally involves saying to the client you have recorded this transaction but it doesn't occur in the bank; we then deal with it as appropriate and sometimes teach the client what they are doing wrong. So on the plus this "problem" is making our clients' accounts more up to date.

 

 

abelljms's picture

kflow

abelljms | | Permalink

 

 

i'm glad you like the package, but it's interesting you refer to "debtors" and "creditors", when kflow perversely insists on inventing its own crazy descriptions-

the best one is "Purchase Invoice" in kflow is a "Receipt" - where did that come from? - a room filled with dodgy smoke?

 

the package needs a lot done to stand up well, and it is urgent.

 

it really is not good enough to shove something out, and then fix the faults later on.

 

 

 

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