An opening balance is the is the amount of money each property has in the bank as of a specific date.
Synonyms include opening bank balance or beginning cash balance
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Think of Buildium as a virtual replica of your real-world business. Buildium allows you to mirror all of your financial transactions that have occurred in the real world for all of your properties, associations, and rental owners.
Before you start tracking charges and payments for tenants and association owners, it's important to make sure your banking information is accurate. This is where opening bank balances come in.
In this article, you'll learn the steps to take in order to enter opening bank balances:
1. Choose an accounting start date.
The first thing to do is to decide the date you want your data to be accurate in Buildium. This date is called your accounting start date, or line in the sand date. For example, decide if you're going to keep your books in Buildium as of the beginning of the year, or the beginning of the month.
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If you're a brand new customer who manages rentals, and are using Buildium's guided set-up to add your bank accounts, fee structures, properties and leases, the system will prompt you to choose an accounting start date before entering your first property.
If you manage associations, a mixed portfolio, or decide to skip guided set-up, you will be prompted to choose an accounting start date before you enter the home page of the software.
2. Gather opening bank balance information
Once you've chosen an accounting start date, you need to gather information to properly enter your opening bank balances.
Your opening bank balances should be entered as of the day before your accounting start date - ensuring that on the day you've chosen, every financial transaction will be tracked accurately in Buildium.
- Sarah will start keeping her books in Buildium as of January 1st; therefore, she enters an opening balance to show the money she had in the bank account as of the day before, on December 31st.
- John wants his reports to be accurate as of September 1st, but does not want to enter all his prior data into the system. He enters an opening balance as of August 31st to show how much money each property has at the time when starting in Buildium.
There are three things you'll need before you can enter opening balances:
- You need to have your bank statement for each bank account you're tracking in Buildium, as of the day before your accounting start date. The total balance you have in the account as of that date will be your opening balance number.
- You need a breakdown of who "owns" the money in each opening bank balance total. If you manage associations, this is simple, as usually each association has it's own bank account, so all the money can be tied to that association.
If you use trust accounting, there's a bit more work. Trust accounting is a method of accounting where cash owned by multiple people is kept "in trust" within a single bank account. When you enter opening balances in Buildium, it's very important to know which property, association or rental owner owns the money in the bank.
Click here to learn more about trust accounting in Buildium
- You need a list and total of any checks that have been written, but not cleared as of your accounting start date.
For example, If you choose your accounting start date as January 1st, and a check written on December 29th has not yet cleared as of that date, keep track of that information.
Once you've gathered all of the above information, you're ready to enter opening balances and start your accounting with Buildium off on the right foot.
Click here to learn how to enter opening balances