Wednesday 16 November 2011

My experiences as a Bank Recon user

I recently spent some time being a user on my own product. It has been an eye-opening, informative and at times frustrating experience. Despite having worked on Bank Recon for many years now I have never done the daily recon's and follow-up in a Production environment over a period of time. It gave me a unique opportunity to experience many of the issues users encounter first hand.

Some of the issues I faced:

  • I did not have any of the set-up screen rights or access to the database so I had to work with the data and information as it was presented in Bank Recon to make the matches and identify the problems.
  • I experienced the frustrations of having hundreds to thousands of lines on the Cashbook and one entry on the bank statement. And then finding out they do not tie up exactly.
  • I understand why people export to Excel - I did it myself and then remembered that I am definitely not an advanced Excel user.
  • I felt powerless (and a bit embarrassed!) when I tried to do something and couldn't get it right, even when I knew it was possible.

What I wanted:

  • To be able to send an email from bank recon as I identified transactions to follow up on - not have to copy and paste the data into a document or export it first. 
  • To be able to search for a particular transaction (based on amount, date or some reference) from the Manual recon screen, even if it has been previously reconciled. 
  • Bank Recon to automate those transactions which are always a match but don't share common details.
  • To include the detail I had available outside of Bank Recon into the manual recon screen to allow me to more easily identify the matches.
  • The browser back button to take me back to where I had been previously. 

The first 3 of the list are in the development and planning stages. The last two will be tackled at a later stage. And of course there are many other improvements (big and small) that we are also planning.

And some of the highlights:

  • It was gratifying to see how quickly exceptions were identified and raised with the relevant people. 
  • I got a thrill from seeing the suggestions and being able to reconcile, or ignore, them with one click.
  • The number of transactions auto recon reconciled for me.
  • The satisfaction as the client came to grips with Bank Recon and the reconciliation process (this is the first time they were doing the recon's in house) and began to see the value of Bank Recon and the ease of using it.

It has been a rewarding experience and one I hope to repeat regularly to remind myself what the priorities of bank recon are:

  • Powerful matching engine and rules to quickly and easily match transactions.
  • Provide the best interface to efficiently identify the exceptions and follow-up on them.
  • Comprehensive reporting for ease of compliance with any regulations and complete audit trailing for full transparency.