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Accounting Best Practices, Fifth Edition by Steven M. Bragg Englewood, Colorado

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6–1. Access Bank Account Information on the Internet

If the accounting staff needs to know the current balance outstanding on a loan, savings, or checking account, the most common way to find out is to call the company’s bank representative. This is a slow and sometimes inaccurate approach, since the representative may not be available or will misread the information appearing on the screen.

An easier approach is to provide bank customers with direct access to their account information through a Web site. This access is free, requires no special software besides an Internet browser, and can be accessed at once, if the user is connected to a direct-access Internet connection, such as a DSL, cable, or T1 phone line. The better Web sites are also heavily engineered to be easy to read, with online, automated help text to walk the user through the screens. The more advanced sites allow users to download check images, initiate wire transfers, and move funds between accounts. This is becoming such a powerful tool that users should consider switching their bank accounts to those financial institutions offering this service.

When conducting on-line bank reconciliations, it is best to do so on a daily basis. There are three reasons for using a daily reconciliation. First, it improves one’s knowledge of the current cash position. Second, there is little reconciliation work remaining at month ...

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