How many times have you written a check payable to cash or used cash as a form of payment? Although ill-advised due to security and tracking issues, it’s a transaction that happens more often than one would think in business practice. Whether you, a member of your staff, or an outside source is the recipient of the funds, a recording of the transaction must follow.
The reasons for a cash transaction vary and are unexplored here but it’s often simply requested by the service provider. However, the delivery of a cash payment is one of which to take note. In other words, write yourself a memo.
In all financial matters, whether using cash for your own business expense or a payment to a vendor, be sure to jot down a quick memo on the check, (or if using actual cash, a post it, or a napkin, or anything to help you remember), and record the transaction promptly. If possible, obtain a receipt and attach it to a copy of your cancelled check for proof of payment. Allocate the payment accordingly to track budgeted line items, reconciling of bank statements, and tax deductions.
Remember, your bottom line is your ultimate goal and every transaction contributes to your company’s financial statements. A quick memo will encourage you to take the transaction to completion and avoid unexplained and miscellaneous transactions in your business operations.
A stack of untouched bank statements on the corner of a desk buried in a “pending” file not only keeps one ill-informed of cash activity but also fails to keep financial statements current. If you run your business on a cash basis with minimal bookkeeping such as opting out of entering bills and processing customer invoices, the problem complicates issues further.
Relying on cash disbursements to allocate expenses and recording deposits directly to an income account rather than accounts receivable is all the more reason to promptly process bank reconciliations and its importance shouldn’t be underestimated. Human error, omitted transactions due to forgetfulness, unrecorded bank fees, and the rare bank error will throw off your check register and create future problems in your daily activities.
Data entry on a daily basis is recommended. However, if you save up your data entry tasks on a monthly basis relying on bank statements to record cash transactions, be diligent in this task. Keeping bank reconciliations up-to-date will provide an accurate analysis of your financial statements and knowing your current cash availability will empower you to make good business decisions. Lastly, you’ll protect your credit and possibly save a small fortune in bank fees to boot.
If you enjoy the convenience of ATM withdrawals, using your bank’s ATM is your best bet. If choosing a foreign ATM, your bank will charge you a fee for going outside their network in addition to a second fee charged by the owner of the ATM. This double-dip could cost you an estimate of anywhere from $4 to $15 per transaction. These fees will add up easily and quickly.
Avoid the double-dip and be selective when visiting your ATM.