After you have set up your chart of accounts in Aplos, the next step would be to input your starting balances. When beginning your journey in the Aplos system, we highly recommend entering your bank balances for the starting balances. This proves to help your organization start off on the right foot for your finances, as this should reflect the true value of your asset and liability accounts, split by fund. To access the Starting Balances page in Aplos, click Fund Accounting > Accounts > Starting Balances.
What Are Starting Balances?
You will want to assign the balances as of the first transaction in Aplos. If you’re entering transactions into Aplos as of January 1st, you’ll want to enter the balance of your asset and liability accounts as of December 31st.
If you’re entering past transactions into Aplos, the easiest way to find your starting balance is from a bank statement. You will use the beginning balance on the bank statement as your starting balance in Aplos.
Entering your Starting Balances
As an example, you might have $10,000 in your Checking account, but that total is split into balances between multiple funds. You will enter the individual balances for each fund, bringing the Total to $10,000. As you enter totals for each field, the page will auto save.
Once you enter these balances in Aplos, if you look at your Balance Sheet, you’ll notice that you now have balances assigned for asset, liability, and equity accounts. These starting balances can be edited as long as they have not been included in a reconciliation.
What if I have uncleared checks?
When setting your starting balances, you might have written checks that have not yet cleared your bank account. You will not want to include these in your starting balance. Let’s say you’re starting with Aplos as of January 1st and you wrote checks at the end of December, but they have not cleared yet. You can look at the balance of your bank account as of December 31st and enter that as your starting balance. Since those checks have not cleared, you can enter them as transactions in Aplos and can date them as of the date that the check was written. Because those will most likely clear in January, they will show on your bank statement as of the January date, and your register balance will be correct.
Book Balance vs. Bank Balance
In short, the bank balance is the ending balance appearing on a bank statement and what we recommend using to set your starting balances. For example, when an organization receives its June checking account statement from its bank, the June 30 balance will be the bank balance. Usually this bank balance will not agree with the amount in the organization’s records since some checks written by the non-profit/church will not have cleared the checking account by June 30. Similarly, some money received on June 30 may not have been deposited in time for the amount to appear on the June bank statement.
The term book balance refers to the amount shown in the organization’s records. For example, the book balance listed in your current accounting solution as of June 30 refers to the balance in the general ledger account Cash or Checking Account. Often the book balance at June 30 will not be the true amount until some items on the bank statement are recorded. For instance, if you issued checks towards the end of the month, those likely will not have cleared by June 30. In that case your book balance will be lower than the bank balance due to the uncleared transactions. When you do a bank reconciliation, this reconciles the differences between the bank balance and book balance to identify if there are any missing transactions or errors.
If you have any trouble with this process, or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our Customer Success team at firstname.lastname@example.org.