Sometimes users will see balance differences when comparing a backdated listing such as a Customer Aging or Vendor Aging report to a trial balance account. In most cases these differences are caused by data entry errors.
How you find the differences is the same process for any accounts. What you may need to do to correct it may be different depending on the situation.
Tracking down the errors and correcting them requires some investigation and work, but is a necessary and important part of any period end process for companies.
How to Find the Differences
Step 1: Establish a Starting Point
When were they last in balance? This is important and also verifies that what was assumed to be in balance, still is.
- Run a Trial Balance and an aged report (Customer or Vendor) and compare the balances until you can confirm the last date they were balanced. This is a good starting place.
- You can run the backdated aging reports for any date, and compare to the Detailed Trial Balance totals for each day, to find the date the error occurred.
For example, if there is a difference between the Accounts Receivable Trial Balance total and the Aged Receivables report for a time period, note the amount of the variance. Then, run the same set of reports for the period prior to verify that these accounts were in balance. If the variance was still there, then keep backdating the reports until you identify the last time these accounts were balanced. This gives a solid starting point to track down the error(s) that have occurred.
Once you have a starting point established, you can then start to look for what is causing the discrepancy.
Step 2: Look Deeper, and Find What Happened?
- Are there items posted to the General Ledger (journal entries) that were not entered on the detailed report listing? General Journal entries will not show up on an Aged listing.
- Where incorrect accounts used and/or did a user override the defaults?
- Are there items posted to the detailed report listing but not the G/L?
- Can any mistakes be identified?
There are only a few different reasons this situation can occur.
The most common reason we see are data entry errors. Typically they are a general journal entry made to the actual GL account, which did not pass through the aging report.
Most of the time it is due to dating issues.
- Incorrect Dates/Timing differences
- Unusual transactions
- User error in entering/dating entries
- Voided transactions (checks, payment applications) with the incorrect date
Sometimes it is due to transactions that don't belong.
- Year end entries not reversed.
- Wrong accounts used
- General Journal entries made directly to an account (i.e. like Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable)
- any PE Debit (Credit inventory/ debit AP)
- Are there any unusual transactions in that period?
- Non-recurring entries? (higher risk of error)
- Setup issues - Customer or Vendor using the wrong AR or AP account
TIP: It is best practice NOT to use the Inventory Control general ledger account as the default expense on a Vendor
Connected has a number of queries, filters, and report windows that can help track down issues and identify them.
Connected Views for Ledger and Query Windows
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