Of the 1.6 million accountants and auditors in the U.S., 61 percent are women, according to 2011 reporting by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You’ll find accountants working in just about every industry, but popular employers are credit unions and banks. Bank accountants maintain the records of all the transactions taking place in the bank. They ensure that all pertinent bank rules and procedures are followed in all aspects of accounting.
Journals contain details of the bank’s financial transactions. Bank accountants pull entries from journals and post them to subsidiary and general ledgers. Accounting works on the principle that there's a credit for every debit and vice versa. The balance in the account books, therefore, must always tally. So, accountants make sure that the ledger accounts also reconcile. Accuracy is crucial for financial records, so the accountant must be extremely detail oriented.
Maintaining Cash Records
Banks must have enough money in their vaults to take care of day-to-day transactions. So, bank accountants make sure that this minimum balance is maintained at all times. They also monitor the cash coming in and out of the bank and maintain the necessary records. Accountants prepare cash reports on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis and regularly submit them to management for scrutiny. Formulating statements of the bank’s income and expenses is also among the accountant’s list of duties.
Preparing Financial Statements
Banks prepare financial statements at the end of the accounting period. While there’s always an annual reporting, the reporting can be for a week, month, quarter or even a six-month period. Examples of these statements include the balance sheet, income statement and statement of retained earnings. The statement of cash flows is also a critical end-of-period statement. Some of this information feeds into the call report, which is a quarterly report of the bank's condition. For most insured banks, it must be submitted to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. quarterly. Accountants assist in or prepare these statements and must make sure that the reporting is accurate.
Preparing Taxes and Audits
Bank accountants typically are in charge of tax preparations, so they gather all the tax details, make tax entries and maintain reports. They also need to make sure that the bank is working according to government regulations and is compliant with external auditing standards. They work with external auditors who come in to examine the bank’s financial records. If there are mistakes in the accounts, the accountant prepares and posts the entries to correct the errors.
Money Laundering Detection
Accountants also need to watch out for money laundering activities and take whatever steps necessary to prevent them. Criminals use different bank accounts and transfer funds between them. In this way, they make it difficult to detect the source of the initial deposit. Eventually, the money finds its way into legal business organizations. Whenever bank accountants spot questionable transactions, unclear reasons for transactions and suspicious clients, they must report transactions to higher authorities.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Women in the Labor Force
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Accountants and Auditors Do
- Pearson: Journals and Ledgers
- The Federal Reserve: Reserve Requirements
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: General Instructions
- The CPA Journal: Accountants' Anti-Money-Laundering Responsibilities
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images