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outstanding checks definition and meaning

an outstanding check is one that has been issued but not yet reported on a bank statement.

Outstanding checks are those issued by a depositor but not paid by the bank on which they are drawn. Debit memos reflect deductions for items such as service charges, non-sufficient funds (NSF) checks, safe-deposit box rent, and notes paid by the bank for the depositor. Credit memos reflect additions for items such as notes collected for the depositor by the bank and wire transfers of funds from another bank in which the company sends funds to the home office bank. Check the bank debit and credit memos with the depositor’s books to see if they have already been recorded. Make journal entries for any items not already recorded in the company’s books.

If canceled checks (a company’s checks processed and paid by the bank) are returned with the bank statement, compare them to the statement to be sure both amounts agree. Outstanding checks are those issued by a depositor but not paid by the bank from which they are drawn. The party receiving the check may not have deposited it immediately. Once deposited, checks may take several days to clear the banking system. Determine the outstanding checks by comparing the check numbers that have cleared the bank with the check numbers issued by the company. Use check marks in the company’s record of checks issued to identify those checks returned by the bank.

Call or email payees who fail to deposit checks and ensure that the check was, in fact, received. If that doesn’t work, send a letter informing payees the check has not been presented and officially request they notify you if they have not received the payment. Add to your accounting record any credit memorandum, that you have not already entered. Watch the following video example and then we will continue by looking at bank statement and records of MY COMPANY (click My Company) for a printable copy.

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Checks issued that have not yet been returned by the bank are the outstanding checks. If the bank does not return checks but only lists the cleared checks on the bank statement, determine the outstanding checks by comparing this list with the company’s record of checks issued. Checks outstanding as of the beginning of the month appear on the prior month’s bank reconciliation. Most of these have cleared during the current month; list those that have not cleared as still outstanding on the current month’s reconciliation. If canceled checks (a company’s checks processed and paid by the bank) are returned with the bank statement, compare them to the statement to be sure both amounts agree.

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When the bank receives the full amount requested, it deposits it into the payee’s account. An unpresented cheque is a check that a company has written, but the check has not yet been paid by the bank on which it is drawn. An unpresented check is also referred to as an outstanding check or a check that has not yet cleared the bank. This documentation will come in handy if you need to prove to state regulators that you made reasonable attempts to complete the payment.

Financial Accounting

The bank balance on September 30 is $27,395, but according to My Company records, the ending cash balance is $24,457. We need to do a bank reconciliation (and some research) to explain the difference. In the Deposit and Credits section, you see the deposits made into the account and a CM, which is a collection of a note (see note at bottom of statement) and interest the bank has paid to https://online-accounting.net/ your account. The bank balance on September 30 is $27,395 but according to our records, the ending cash balance is $24,457. We need to do a bank reconciliation to find out why there is a difference. Proper management of outstanding checks involves tracking, reconciliation, timely communication, and ensuring sufficient funds are available to honor the checks when presented for payment.

  • All else being equal, it is safest if a check is deposited as fast as possible to avoid tampering with the instrument.
  • This typically occurs after a few years, but timetables vary from state to state.
  • Furthermore, checks that are never cashed may constitute “unclaimed property” that is turned over to the state.
  • Bank usually deducts charges from depositor’s account for such services and intimates him or her about these deductions by issuing a debit memorandum.
  • Some businesses print “Void after 90 days” on their checks to encourage recipients to deposit checks more promptly.

After that, there are a few more steps you can take to track down an old check. The payment goes on the general ledger, but businesses must make adjustments during reconciliation, and they may need to reissue stale checks. Bank issues a credit memorandum when it collects a note receivable on behalf of the depositor. Find if there exists any credit memorandum issued by the bank that you have not entered in your accounting record. Add to the bank statement balance all deposits that are shown by your accounting record but have not been entered in the bank statement.

Company’s Records

Sending the statement directly limits the number of employees who would have an opportunity to tamper with the statement. Sometimes banks make errors by depositing or taking money out of your account in error. You will need to contact the bank to correct these errors but will not record any entries in your records because the bank error is unrelated to your records.

an outstanding check is one that has been issued but not yet reported on a bank statement.

All transactions between depositor and bank are entered by both the parties in their records. These records may disagree due to various reasons and show different balances. The purpose of preparing a bank reconciliation statement is to find and understand the reasons of this difference in account balance. Bank reconciliation statement is a statement that depositors prepare to find, explain and understand any differences between the balance in bank statement and the balance in their accounting records. A certificate of deposit (CD) is an interest-bearing deposit that can be withdrawn from a bank at will (demand CD) or at a fixed maturity date (time CD).


Completing the challenge below proves you are a human and gives you temporary access. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. Businesses that mishandle these kinds of accounting situations are effectively in violation of the law. Outstanding checks aren’t necessarily inherently bad; however, there are some risks and downsides to have checks linger. Julia Kagan is a financial/consumer journalist and former senior editor, personal finance, of Investopedia.

an outstanding check is one that has been issued but not yet reported on a bank statement.

A bank reconciliation is a schedule the company (depositor) prepares to reconcile, or explain, the difference between the cash balance on the bank statement and the cash balance on the company’s books. The company prepares a bank reconciliation to determine its actual cash balance and prepare any entries to correct the cash balance in the ledger. Outstanding checks (also known as unpresented checks or uncleared checks) are the checks that have been issued by bookstime the depositor in favor of a creditor but have not yet been presented for payment by him. The amount of these checks are recorded by the depositor when they are issued but no entry is made by the bank in his account until the checks are actually presented and payment received by the creditor. Unpresented checks, therefore, cause a difference between the balance in company’s accounting record and the balance as per bank statement for the period concerned.


You entered it immediately in your accounting records and deposited the the check into your account. After depositing the check, your bank immediately credited your account by $1000. Afterward your bank told you that Mr. X’s bank did not honor the check because there were not sufficient funds in his account.

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On the bank side of the reconciliation, you do not need to do anything else except contact the bank if you notice any bank errors. On the book side, you will need to record journal entries for each of the reconciling items, because those are transactions you forgot to record in September during your regular bookkeeping process. When a business writes a check, it deducts the amount from the appropriate general ledger cash account. If the funds have not been withdrawn or cashed by the payee, the company’s bank account will be overstated and have a larger balance than the general ledger entry.

Forgotten outstanding checks are a common source of bank overdrafts. One way to avoid this occurrence is to maintain a balanced checkbook. This can help prevent any unnecessary NSFs if the payee decides to cash the check at a later date. The final step of a bank reconciliation process is to prepare appropriate journal entries for the items that are causing the difference because you have not yet recorded them in your accounting record. You can do so by comparing the deposits in your accounting record with the deposits shown by your bank statement. If you find a deposit in your accounting record that does not appear in bank statement, it means that particular deposit is still in transit and has not been credited to you account by the bank.

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