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Accounts & Reconciliation

Alto can help us to manage our client payments and reconcile our bank accounts. Reconciliation is mandatory, and in order to simplify the process I recommend that you carry it out on a daily basis.

Reconciliation

Receipt Overnight Funds

Reconciliation is best done at the beginning of the working day. You will be provided with a bank statement containing all transactions since the last reconciliation point. Before you begin reconciling this with our Alto accounts, I recommend that you receipt any money that has been transferred overnight. Check the statement for any transfers from tenants etc and receipt as normal.

Bank any funds that missed the previous cut-off

If we received rent in cash after the last banking run was done, bank those funds before continuing.

Find the Account in Alto

In Alto, click the Accounts tab on the top of the screen and then find the correct Client Account.

The Bank Reconciliation section of Accounts shows all of our Client Accounts

Remember that we have three active client accounts.

Once you’ve located the correct account, check the balance – it should match the balance of the statement you have. If it doesn’t, there’s something wrong, but were going to try and identify that in a bit. Click “View” to see a list of transactions on the account since the last reconciliation point.

Reconcile the Account

For each transaction listed in Alto, try to find its counterpart on your bank statement. If it is found, click the green “Thumbs up” icon. It will then disappear to the bottom of the list, where all of the “reconciled” transactions are found (if you’ve accidentally thumbed up the wrong transaction, you can scroll here and give it the thumbs down to bring it back up).

There are two important points that make matching transactions a little bit tricky:

  • Some transactions will be batched in the statement, but won’t show as batched in Alto. For example, payments from GoCardless that are due on the same day will be lumped together into one sum. GoCardless send an email out when they pay us, and that email lists the constituent sums that make up the total lump sum. We also bank the cash in a lump sum, but you should have available of the constituent parts of those lump sums as well.
  • Payments processed by GoCardless or by a card machine reach us with a commission deducted from them. As such, a balancing payment would have been made from our business account into the client account to make up the difference. For example, when a rent comes in from GoCardless, it will have £2 deducted from it. However, you should find an additional transaction from the business account into the client account for £2, making up the difference. So even though the sum from GoCardless doesn’t match what is shown in Alto, as long as the balancing payment exists, you can thumb it up. If the balancing payment CAN’T be found, speak to Faisal or Shaun.

If there was a difference in account balances, once you’ve thumbed up all the reconciled transactions, you should start to have an idea of what the issue is. Either Alto will have a payment that you can’t find on the bank statement, or the bank statement will have a transaction you can’t find in Alto. In both cases, refer the issue up to Faisal or Shaun to resolve.

If the account balances match and all the payments have been reconciled (thumbed up), you can create a reconciliation point.

At the top of the screen, for Statement No., enter the date, EG 2019-10-31. Next, enter the balance as it appears on the bank statement. Then click Update.

The entire list will disappear and a PDF of the record can be found on the timeline tab. Done!

Banking

The steps listed in this Banking section should be completed by the end of every working day.

Cash

All cash in should be banked before 5pm on that same day.

The rents will be bundled individually in receipts that tell you who paid. Create a list of the payee and the amount, and then the total of all the cash together. You will use this list on the next day when you reconcile the account.

After you have done this you can just bank the money at the nearest Post Office.

Paying Landlords and Suppliers

If it hasn’t already been done during the day, tell Alto that you want to pay the relevant landlord(s)/supplier(s). Remember to exclude any rents that have missed the banking cut-off.

Paying ourselves

Now we must tell Alto that we want to extract our fees. Click into the Process Agency Fees section in Accounts:

This screen shows a list of accounts for which reclaimable fees are held. Simply click “View” to go into the account:

Simply untick “Include Partial Payments”, maybe change the reference to something like “fees” and then click update. If the payment method selected was BACS, this will be added to the BACS file.

Creating the BACS payment file

Next, head over to the Accounts section and click into the BACS Payment Update section:

This shows you a list of our accounts and the number of BACS transactions are pending for each. Click “view” to go into one of the accounts.

The system will ignore BACs payments for clients that don’t have their bank details listed in their contact page. For these, you should immediately enter the correct bank details and return to this page.

You can expand each section to see the constituent payments if necessary.

Otherwise, simply click “Create Payment File”. The payment file will appear in the “My Recent Downloads” section of the Alto toolbar:

It can also be accessed and re-downloaded by clicking the Timeline tab of the the account (see the previous picture).

Simply let Faisal or Shaun know that the BACS file is ready and they will upload it to the client account to process payments.