Cash application, also known as cash receipt processing, is the process of matching and applying payments received from customers to their corresponding invoices or accounts receivable in a company’s accounting system. It involves recording payment information, reconciling it with customer account information, and updating the account balances accordingly.
The objective of the process is to ensure that all cash transactions are correctly recorded in the accounting system and that every transaction is reconciled with the company’s sales ledger.
What Are the Steps of the Cash Application Process?
The cash application process typically involves the following steps:
- Receive Payment – When a customer makes a payment, the accounting team receives the payment information, which usually includes the date, amount, and mode of payment.
- Match Payment to Invoice – The team then identifies the invoice the payment corresponds and matches the amount to the customer’s account.
- Update Accounting System – Once the team matched the payment to the correct invoice, it records the transaction in the accounting system, updating the accounts receivable records.
- Reconcile Customer Account – The accounting team reconciles the customer’s account and confirms that the payment has been correctly applied to the invoice.
- Bank Reconciliation – The accounting team reconciles the bank statement with the accounting records to ensure that all cash transactions have been accurately recorded, and there are no discrepancies.
Why is Cash Application Important?
By accurately tracking and recording payments received from customers, businesses can improve their cash-flow management, maintain good customer relations, and reduce errors and fraud:
- Accurate Financial Reporting – Cash application ensures that all cash transactions are reconciled with the accounting records, providing accurate financial reporting of the business’s income and cash flow.
- Improved Customer Satisfaction – By matching payments to the correct invoices, it helps to avoid overstating or understating customer’s account balances, providing an improved customer experience while optimizing the accounting process.
- Reduced Risk of Fraud – The cash application process verifies the authenticity of the payments received and helps to detect fraudulent transactions.
Challenges of Cash Application
Cash application can be a tedious and complicated process, particularly for large businesses with a high volume of transactions. Here are some common challenges:
- Human Errors – Manually entering data comes with the risk of typos and incorrect entries, leading to incorrect reconciliations.
- Large Amount of Data – High volumes of transactions can be challenging to manage, leading to backlogs that delay the reconciliation process.
- Lack of Integration – Incomplete connectivity between business systems may lead to delays in posting cash receipts, which can lead to incorrect reconciliations.