Anyone got a simple way of accounting for Amazon Payments?


#1

Wow - this platform is a total nightmare. Started selling a few items and we got single payments a week or so later appearing into our bank account but no references to what orders. Now we are getting regular payments for multiple orders but the issue is there seems to be amounts held in unavailable balance. To complicate this our receipts are in $AUD but sales in $US so there is always an exchange rate variation.

How the hell does a business ever hope to reconcile these receipts when the volume increases?

We have to raise an invoice in our accounting system to reflect the sale. When money comes in we have to receipt the payment against the sale. It looks like there will be multiple ‘part’ payments against open invoices but I can’t find a report in Amazon seller central that summarises these.

With Paypal payments we can choose when to initiate a transfer to our account - so we leave until month end then sweep the account back to our $AUD account - easy. We’d be happy to leave an amount in escrow to satisfy the unavailable balance but this doesn’t seem to be an option.

Has anyone got a simple way to account for Amazon receipts so they can reconcile against open invoices?

Any help would be appreciated

Thanks

Stephen


#2

Here are the reasons given for unavailable balance being withheld from payments. In your case maybe it’s because you are relatively new (?)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201718060


#3

Thanks for the reply but doesn’t really answer the question.

I fully understand why Amazon is holding money in escrow - happy to give them a big fat lump sum if they are worried I’m dodgy.

What I can’t work out is how they arrive at the amount they are witholding. Clicked on the link to view details against the Unavailable Balance and it gives a big fat nothing.

I’ve got to account for these transactions - if there are back charges, adjustments, etc I understand but from an accounting point of view these affect the revenue we report and we need this itemised at a sale level, not just for the account.

There is no point me booking $100 for a sale if amazon only pay us $50 - I’m going to end up with a huge recievables balance. You have to be able to account for both the sale and the cash receipt - accounting 101. What I can’t seem to find is any report that gives me that info on a sale by sale basis.

If this because I’m new and registered as an individual? Do I need to upgrade to a business account and pay $39 a month to be entitled to business like reporting or do I get the same crap?

Sorry for the tone - you can tell how fed up I am with this rubbish.


#4

The reserve amount is to cover orders that have been shipped and received, but are not outside of the A-Z claim period. They do this so that they have your funds to pay the claims instead of fronting the money themselves and hoping to recoup it from you.

When you have a professional account, there is no reserve, but it is a 14 day window. If you have any claims and there is nothing in account, they will charge your credit card.

Be aware though if you switch to a professional account, they require multiple forms of proof that you are who you say you are. Additionally you will be unable to sell for at least a few days assuming you provide all of the information they request in a timely manner.


#5

I suggest that you first start with the settlement report that you can find under Payments > All Statements. That will have all of the transactions in the payment period including any reserve transactions.

That will always balance exactly with your bank deposits. You will know the USD amount and the deposit date and can determine the exchange rate for the deposit.

I suggest that you don’t use the exchange rate on a transaction basis, but rather on a deposit basis.

Additionally, I suggest that you do not use invoices for tracking your sales. Instead, I suggest that you use Sales Receipts. Invoices have expectations of separate payments where Sales Receipts don’t.

Dave


#6

I suggest that you first start with the settlement report that you can find under Payments > All Statements. That will have all of the transactions in the payment period including any reserve transactions.

That will always balance exactly with your bank deposits. You will know the USD amount and the deposit date and can determine the exchange rate for the deposit.

I suggest that you don’t use the exchange rate on a transaction basis, but rather on a deposit basis.

Additionally, I suggest that you do not use invoices for tracking your sales. Instead, I suggest that you use Sales Receipts. Invoices have expectations of separate payments where Sales Receipts don’t.

Dave


#7

I understand the nightmare in switching to a professional account - how can they just take you down for a few days while they “upgrade” your status?

I’ve been through the same dramas with ebay - they treat you like a criminal for months and give you a paltry selling limit and you need to beg every month for an increase - no other landlord would ever shut your store down for being too succesful.

I really cant understand why these platforms can’t find a better solution for businesses - they have no idea and don’t really think about thier customers who after all are the sellers on the plaform - not the buyers.

I’d be happy to give them a big fat deposit to cover the chargebacks or a credit card - these should be the exceptions after all, not the norm.


#8

Dave, thanks for the heads up - a good start. That report is the best of a bad lot.

Think we’ll be booking the currency difference on deposits - a good idea

Our accounting system has to report sales at a customer and product level. I don’t think it’s going to be good enough to just put a figure for sales - we need to know what the product amounts is, the shipping charges, the amazon fees, etc otherwise it is hard to make decisons going forward about amazon as a sales channel vs other options.


#9

Not sure why you thing the accounting is a nightmare. Amazon provides you with a full accounting on your disbursement day.


#10

>
There are also Order Reports (for non-FBA under Orders), but those are only available for 120 days and Amazon Fulfilled Shipments (for FBA, under Reports > Fulfillment).

They can be downloaded.

The sales channel decision is actually pretty straight forward. Amazon owns a substantial share of the online market. You can certainly discount it and ignore it, but you can leverage it and still use others. I certainly would not ignore it as it accounts for my largest sales channel.

Dave


#11

Did you ever find a good answer to this question? The replies you have received so far are not going to help you - I know this because I have tried all of these methods PLUS spent hours with tech support trying to figure out how to reconcile their deposits with my orders. You are correct: it is simply accounting 101 that you have to know which orders you are receiving money for so you can show them as completed and paid in your accounting software. Tech support finally acknowledged to me yesterday that there is NO report available to do this. They are “working on it” though… I am not sure how we are supposed to know whether or not we have been paid for the orders we have sent out through Amazon. It’s literally a guessing game until they fix this. Please let me know if you have figured anything out because I’m extremely frustrated myself.


#12

It’s good to know I’m not the only one suffering, but unfortunately we didn’t get a solution.

Obviously Amazon has such market power they don’t need to provide the basic tools a business needs to operate. I used to think ebay was a joke but Amazon top them when it comes to support for thier ‘customers’ - maybe they forget the sellers are actually thier customers - not the buyers on the platform.

We couldn’t hold out any longer as the un-receipted sales became a nightmare. We’ve had to estimate by date what invoices have been paid and assume they have been paid in full. We receipt all Amazon sales into an undeposited funds account and then transfer from undeposited funds into the bank when the amounts are transferred to our bank account by Amazon. This doesn’t help us reconcile - just keep the accounting process in some degree of order, but as you know at year end or balance date there is no way of reconciling that balance.

I’m thinking large companies or sellers must have access to Amazon account managers who can sort this joke. I can’t believe Amazon can’t provide an escrow facility which would be a very simple solution for business sellers.


#13

Seems like your main issue is the reserved amount.
Are you making over 40 sales a month?
If so a pro account is what you need.


#14

Hi, Stephen. I am with you 100% of the way. I am a relatively new seller. I agree that I don’t mind Amazon holding back money until return periods have passed - I have no problem with that concept.

I spent close to 25 years in financial planning and accounting, and I do not see any way to reconcile their payments to sales, and therefore to account for sales and receipts in QuickBooks.

Fortunately, I’m a small seller with one product and low volume, so I should be able to play it by ear. If the volume were much higher, I would tear out what little is left of my hair.

I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with this problem.

For anyone else reading this, please do not try to explain why Amazon holds back money. That is not the problem. It is the reconciliation of individual sales to payments that is an issue. The payment report does not satisfactorily allow for a reconciliation of the two.

Thanks you,
David


#15

If your using accounting software like QB like I do, you’ll want to go into amazons "Transaction View Report " to get to the detailed view you’ll need to reconcile everything. You’ll need to do a little calculation, or I break down my sales vs. fees categories for calculating like this by pre entering the data into a spreadsheet that has formulas I created:

:black_medium_small_square:Inbound Shipping Fees
:black_medium_small_square:Inventory Placement Fees
:black_medium_small_square:Storage Fees
:black_medium_small_square:Monthly Professional Seller Fees
:black_medium_small_square:Return Fees
:black_medium_small_square:Amazon FBA Fees – Order Handling, Pick and Pack, Referral, Weight Handling

Once you enter all the data into your QB, you should be able to just reverse out your Amazon deposit amount and your numbers should be golden. You can run a profit and loss report to verify it.


#16

We’re puzzling over this as well. Could the answer be the same as relating to issues such as sales taxes and marketing: Buyers are not your customers but they are Amazon’s customers. You are not allowed to market directly to them because they are Amazon’s customers. In some places, such as Washington State, I understand Amazon collects and remits state sales tax without seller involvement, because the buyers are Amazon’s customers, not the seller’s customer. Viewed that way, there’s no point in booking individual sales - to Amazon’s customers - as a sale to your customer. Your sales in this case are to Amazon and might as well be aggregated.

This is just my thought process, so I have no idea if it’s accurate.

Edited by: CSelect on Nov 27, 2017 12:41 PM


#17

Good info, but the problem is that we have one invoice per sale which may contain multiple items. Their reports list everything line by line, so you have to go into Excel and total invoices individually. When you have a couple few hundred sales per payment, it is time-consuming. What I need is the transaction payment report that I can dump into Excel–the summary of every invoice vs every line, and I haven’t been able to find this?


#18

So not 100% sure that this is the best way to do it. But it’s currently working for us. I do the same thing with Prepaid Inventory, where in essence I’m tracking an asset that is not currently in my hands.

I set up a new account called Reserve (Amazon Pay), but the name doesn’t matter, it’s whatever you want to remember. The account type is Other Current Asset. In essence what we’re creating is another Undeposited Funds account to track what Amazon is holding out.

Go to List - Chart of Accounts - New Account
Select Other Account Types - Other Current Asset

Then when doing your Amazon Pay deposits, I select the transactions which equal the sales total for that payment period, go down on the next line (after the final deposit item), select my amazon fees expense account, enter the amount of the fees, so my deposit total equals what it should be WITHOUT accounting for the reserve balance.

Then I go down on the next line, and I enter my Reserve (Amazon Pay) account, the one we just made. I do a negative value for the amount of the withholding thereby reducing the amount of the net deposit exactly by the amount that Amazon is holding onto.

Then when the next Amazon Pay deposit comes in, and you see your carryover balance at top, just do the reverse. Select the deposit items from undeposited funds that total your sales for that statement period, drop down and do your expense line for fees, then drop down and do your POSITIVE carryover balance from Reserve (Amazon Pay), thereby increasing your net deposit by the amount that amazon has added as a result of the carryover.

Then if you have another reserve balance deduction, drop down to the next line and set the account as the Reserve account, and the amount as a NEGATIVE, thereby reducing back down the deposit by the amount they’ve held.

I hope this makes sense. It’s late and I need to go home. But this just gives me a place to store amazon’s reserve balance, sort of like they are, until I’m ready to apply it to the pay period Amazon has applied it to.


#19

I have had a professional account for years and, one period, Amazon decided to withhold the entire two weeks of sales, to be paid out to me 30 days later, which is outrageous!

Now, bear in mind that I have already purchased and paid for the merchandise, advertising, picking, packing, shipping, and labor for all that time, and Amazon decides to keep my money an extra 30 days (two weeks is ridiculously long to begin with). Several calls to Support and no one could give me a reason and promised to fix it right away, within 24 hours. I would wait a day, find that it still had not been resolved, and spend another hour or two on the phone with Support, just to be promised again.

Finally, I got the congratulatory note that I had been paid and my case was closed. Guess what? It was 30 days past due…the date they originally stated when they originally withheld my money. In other words, they did nothing but steal my money for six weeks and earn the interest off of it. Meanwhile, I was having to use personal funds in order to ship orders, pay utilities, and make payroll.

For this and several other reasons where Amazon has screwed me over, as soon as there is another option available, I am booting Amazon.


#20

Hello-
I am still desperate for an accounting of what is included in the “Unavailable Balance” because I need to know exactly what we are being paid for, and which payments are being held. Every two weeks, I have to build a spreadsheet and it basically becomes a jigsaw puzzle. Has anyone found this information yet?