Technology has had a huge impact on the statement reconciliation process. This is because companies and individuals no longer just receive their statements in paper format. Instead, there are now a plethora of formats in which these statements may be sent to you.
So let’s look at each of the most common formats you may come across, shall we?
By Email: Bank and broker statements are often sent to clients in this way. This would either be included in the actual body of the email or else as an attachment, which may be a CSV file, an EXCEL sheet, a PDF, a structured XML, or even a JPEG/PNG.
Files via SFTP: The Secure File Transfer Protocol allows for files to be transferred, accessed, and managed safely through a secure network. This usually improves efficiency, especially since it has functions that let users schedule tasks and uploads.
Web Portal: Numerous banks and brokers now have websites that clients can log onto to access their statements. This, in a way, makes the process a more seamless one, as the statements are usually uploaded on the same day and at the same time.
API: Application Programming Interface is a system by which you can request the data that you want and need directly from the broker or bank. This is great in terms of understanding the inflow and outflow of funds from your accounts, and it even gives you the opportunity to query your data directly.
FIX: Another novel way for banks and brokers to share their statements with you is through the Financial Information eXchange. This is a data and information protocol which allows for real-time exchanges.
Live Web Data: Some data, which may be required for your reconciliation process will only be displayed live on a website for a certain amount of time. This is especially true for including intraday data. Such statements may be lost if they are not retrieved and saved within the allocated period.
OCR: As we mentioned in the Email section above, sometimes you may receive statements in an image format like JPEG or PNG. For this data to be used in the automated reconciliation process, an optical character reader (OCR) is needed so that it can ‘read’ the text and numbers in the images.