The position of reconciliation analyst has been present since ancient Sumerian times, and the basic functions of the role involve comparing records between two institutions to find discrepancies. In more modern times, the institutions in question are typically an accounting firm or division and bank. Any transaction which shows up on one set of records but not on the other is described as "outstanding," and steps need to be taken to account for the amount. The basic approach is straightforward and can be applied to a wide array of financial reporting and operational management systems.
Banks are traditional consumers of the services offered by reconciliation analysis, but the method is more often described as bank reconciliation or account reconciliation. Almost any two sets of records can and should be reconciled to avoid the loss of money in one way or another. If one record shows a transfer from one account to the other and the other account’s records do not show it ever received that transfer, it is up to the reconciliation analyst to find out why. Records either need to be updated to reflect what really happened, or an investigation needs to uncover where the funds actually went. Many times, both of these steps are required to set things straight.
A reconciliation analyst may also develop audit controls and monitor compliance with laws and regulation in addition to managing high-volume and high-value accounts. It is possible for an analyst to even be called upon to provide financial reports requiring excellent communication skills and solid quantification capabilities. Processing payrolls and providing daily reconciliations are also challenges commonly undertaken by a reconciliation analyst. The wage for reconciliation analysts can vary greatly depending on time in the field and specialty, but an analyst is almost always paid very well. As a general rule, the more complex and detailed the job, the more the reimbursement is.
Commerce in the digital age tends to move faster and involve more transactions than ever before. This means that keeping these accounts straight is more complicated, but also more vital than ever before, and a number of potentially profitable career paths have opened for reconciliation analysts who can do that. Many seeking a career as a reconciliation analyst need a degree and a mastery of basic computer skills. This includes knowledge of Microsoft Office®, various accounting programs and the Internet. Stockbrokers, loan agencies and other businesses as well as many levels of government are in need of professional services of this type.