Reconciling at Mason

Reconciliation is a systematic review of Banner financial activity to verify that all charges and credits are accurate and appropriate, usually comparing to source documentation to confirm the accuracy of postings and identify expected transactions that have not yet occurred

All Financial Transactions must be the result of official university business and/or agency transactions. Policy 2114 – Financial Management covers basic financial accountability and reconciliation practices. Units should follow these procedures to maintain consistent financial management practices, timely reconciliation, and certification of Financial Transactions. Please review the Financial Management Manual for more information. A demo of the MicroStrategy Organization Reports is available on the Reconciliation Basics video

Department Reconciler

Reconcilers verify and certify that entries in Banner Finance are properly recorded and supported by documentation.  Any discrepancies/reconciling items encountered shall be documented and adjustments prepared if necessary.  In the case of restricted accounts, reconcilers also verify that transactions comply with a sponsor or donor-imposed restrictions on the use of funds. 

Reconciler Steps

  1. Retrieve MicroStrategy Reconciliation Reports.
  2. Review the activity to ensure the accuracy of the accounting record, appropriateness of charges, and sufficient supporting documentation (including Banner Finance).
  3. Identify significant or questionable transactions and review source documents. Source documents such as receipts, invoices, and other documentation may be saved in a central file within the unit’s shared drive or MS Teams. Some financial transaction records may be viewed in the following locations:
    1. Accounts Payable Invoice shared files: fsvc.Invoice{year}. For access please email
    2. Mason Finance Gateway (MFG): paid travel and expense documentation. Guidance in the MFG Basic User Reports
    3. Print Services monthly statements shared drives: psvc.statements. For access please email
  4. Perform fluctuation analysis compared to budget and/or prior year noting significant variances and reasons.
  5. Identify and make note of any necessary corrections and expected transactions that have not yet been posted.
  6. Save the completed reconciliation using a central electronic filing system (such as One Drive/SharePoint). Please note that individuals who reconcile at the Org L6 level should follow their departments’ internal process for sign-off and approval. 
  7. The Org L5 Reconciler and Approver will verify that all Org L6s have been reconciled internally and then sign and date the Reconciliation Certification in Smartsheet. Refer to the Smartsheet Certification Guide. Email the Org L5 Approver to inform them that the reconciliation is ready for their review, noting the reconciliations file location.

Document Codes and Sources

Document Codes may include but are not limited to:
  • Purchase order: A Series of numbers (EP# or PO# created in eVA)
    • Authorization for the purchase of specific goods or services.
    • Will show as an “encumbrance” until full or partial payment is processed.
  • Accounts Payable invoice: “I” Documents
    • A payment has been processed.
    • An invoice will reduce or remove the encumbrance generated by the purchase order.
  • Journal vouchers: “J” (Including “JL”, “J0”, etc., and “JP” for P-Card transactions)
    • A request to move a specific charge from one place to another. Several entries may be recorded in a single Journal Voucher.
  • Electronic feed: “F” (Interdepartmental Recharges)
    • An accounting entry is used to record many financial transactions.

Source Documents: These documents will serve as a reference point when individuals reconcile department financial information. Departments should maintain a record of any pending charges to an org or fund.

Source documents may include
  • Bills from internal vendors (i.e., Print Services receipts, Telecom Administration charges, Facilities work orders).

  • eVA purchase orders.

  • Travel receipts and documentation.

  • P-Card receipts.

  • Approval forms.

  • Payment requests

  • Honorarium payment requests.

  • Funding change forms.

  • Journal vouchers (JVs).

  • Other types of documentation that result in financial charges to a fund or org.

Source documents must be retained and available for review. The retention period is ten years for sponsored research projects and three years for all other orgs and funds.

Department Approver

Approvers review and certify that financial activity recorded in Banner Finance and results of the reconciliation(s) are reasonable and accurate.  The review shall include a comparison of the budget to actual and year-over-year actual results where applicable, and trends or areas of concern should be identified. For significant deviations from expected results, variances shall be investigated and reasons documented, along with any necessary corrective action plan. 

Approver Steps

  1. Review the work of the Department Reconciler paying close attention to significant or questionable, and ensure that previously noted corrections have been resolved.
  2. Analyze the comparison of the budget to actual and year-over-year actual results and identify trends or areas of concern.
  3. Identify significant deviations from expected results, investigate variances, document reasons, and note any necessary corrective action plan.

The Org L5 Approver designated by the unit will sign and date the Reconciliation Certification in Smartsheet to verify that all Org L6s that roll up the L5 has been reconciled and approved. Refer to the Smartsheet Certification Guide.

Reconciliation Timeline

George Mason University Policy 2114 requires that all organizations (orgs) and funds be reconciled in a timely manner on a monthly or bi-monthly basis (period). Monthly reconciliation is strongly encouraged.

Reconciliations must be prepared, approved, and certified not later than two months after the last day of the reconciled month/period. For example, financial transactions for the month/period ending July 31 must be reconciled and approved by September 30. Earlier reconciliation and approval are encouraged.

Reconcile Revenue Accounts

Revenue transactions are available in the MicroStrategy Reconciliation Revenue and Expense Report. Units collecting revenue should have an existing system to verify revenue transactions before the revenue feed is entered in Banner Finance, such as TouchNet Marketplace.

In some cases, the reconciler will match source documents such as cash receipt forms, daily credit card sales reports and revenue refund forms to Banner finance activity. You may view revenue from any of the Banner Finance reports, Banner Self-Service and e-Print, to include MicroStrategy’s Reconciliation Revenue and Expense report.

Reconcile Sponsored Research Projects

PIs shall review the financial activity for sponsored projects and certify that the results of the reconciliation(s) are reasonable and accurate. The review shall ensure that transactions are made for the intended purpose of the grant or contract, and in accordance with sponsor requirements as well as university policies and procedures for their sponsored funds. The PIs’ review shall include analysis of reconciling items and the appropriateness of the follow-up.

Principal investigator (PI) Steps
1. Review the work of the Department Reconciler ensuring that transactions are made for the intended purpose of the grant or contract, and in accordance with sponsor requirements as well as university policies and procedures for their sponsored funds.
2. Analyze the completeness and accuracy of Financial Transactions, reconciling items, and the appropriateness of the follow-up.
Specific instructions on reconciling grant related activity may be found on the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) webpage under Research Reports or PI Reports. Training is also available through OSP.

Reconcile Clearing Accounts

Clearing accounts are groups of balance sheet accounts that are characterized by temporarily holding debit or credit balances to be offset by external transactions, or that are to be transferred elsewhere in the general ledger. For example, scholarships entered as financial aid to student accounts are covered by checks received from organizations outside of GMU. Therefore, balances in the clearing funds/accounts should net to zero over time.

Clearing activity should reside in a single clearing fund within each fund group, with a separate balance sheet account for each clearing activity stream. In general, similar activities should be combined in a single account, such as Wire Transfers and Flywire Transfers. A high volume of transactions might justify creating a separate balance sheet account to facilitate reconciliation, for example, Outside Scholarships or Foundation Scholarships financial activity.

George Mason University requires timely reconciliation of all clearing accounts and clearing funds. The purpose of this systematic review is to ensure that all transactions have been properly recorded, that any irregularities are identified and immediately reported to the appropriate parties, and that corrections are documented, monitored, and resolved within an acceptable time frame. Please refer to the Reconciliation of Clearing Account Guidelines for the timeline, resources, and certification instructions.