Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28

Chapter 5

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Writing checks

Payments must be made, in nearly all lines of business.  Most payments are made through Pay Bills, Payroll (pay checks and payroll liabilities,) and Pay Sales Tax. A few payments are made directly from the bank account, and checks are about the only way to record them.  Online payments XE "payments:online" , ATM withdrawals, XE "ATM withdrawals"  and service charges are recorded as checks.  The other way to get money out is by general journal entry, but that is less convenient.

When writing checks, there is some advantage to opening the bank account register first. Account selection is automatic, and after the check is written, you can verify it in the register.

The Check button (icon,) the Navigator (Checking ) or Activities|Write Checks (in the menu bar, click Activities then Write Checks ) will bring up the window. 

Ending balance shows the balance in this account, before entering this check.

To be printed can set the check up for automatic printing, unless it is checked as an Online Payment.

Online Payment checkbox will appear (in QuickBooks 5) if it is enabled for this checking account.  See Chapter 21.


No. (field) may have a check number, or something else.  Bank accounts can track two or three check number series.  (In versions 4 and earlier, memorized checks do not contain any number or To be printed information, but can contain text in this field.)

Manual check numbers may be entered here.  These are intended for checks written outside of your office . After a check is recorded with a manual check number, succeeding numbers will appear on manual checks.  If the wrong numbers are coming up in Pay Bills, it may be necessary to enter a check (same as last number actually used) overriding the duplicate number warning.  Once you record the check, if it is not real, delete it.

To Print indicates that the the check has been set up for automatic printing, which uses a separate series of numbers.  The next number is displayed in the Print Checks dialog box, and may be corrected.

Online payments use a third series of numbers, tracked within the bank. The default starting number is 5001, and a phone call, to the bank, is needed to change the number series. When an online check is entered, the number will be SEND.

Date will be the date of the check and the date of any expenses recorded. Always  check the date in any transaction.   Online payments force a date four business days after the current date, which appears to be merely implementing a bank requirement.

Payee field needs a name, which may be typed in or picked off the list. If typed in, Quickbooks will need to add it to the list.  Each name is designated as one of the four types described in the Chapter 6 (names of type Other can be changed to any of the specific types.)

  • Customer
  • Vendor
  • Employee
  • Other name.

Clicking the down-arrow drops a list with a bar for scrolling up and down.

Entering the customer can bring up a surprise.  The previous transaction for this customer may pop up, and you may or may not like that.  It is controlled in a Preference, either General or Data Entry, with a line that says Automatically recall last transaction for this name.

$ (amount) may be entered, if you know it.  If not, just tab on by, and we will get to it later.  (After all, it is only money.)

Information entered on the face of the check appears in the bank account register, and with the bank account in reports (except your account number with vendor.) Information entered in the detail section is connected with those transactions.  It will appear with these transactions in reports.  If the transactions are transfers to other balance sheet reports, this information will appear in the account registers.  

Expenses tab is covered here.  The Items tab is covered under Invoicing.

Account column usually has an expense account or an asset account. Liabilities may also be used, and in some circumstances, Payables (see Customer:job , below.)  The only account never used XE "never"  is the same bank account that the check is written on.

Amount takes the amount going to this account.  To use this section as an adding machine, just keep entering money in this column.  When the Expenses section is complete, clicking Recalc forces  XE "Recalc button" the total of the Amount column onto the face of the check.

Memo column contains any pertinent text.  This memo is associated with the transaction in the opposing account. When a report is generated, this memo may be shown with the transaction in this account.  If this is a balance sheet account, the memo will appear in its register.  If the memo runs to several lines, only the first will be displayed. 

More information may be added in the Memo field of checks generated from Payables, or from a refund in receivables.  Text may be typed in here, even with nothing else on the same line.  If the display is only Account, Memo, and Amount, allow some space on the right.  At the end of the line, use the Tab key a few times to advance to the next line in the Memo field.  Note below, the limitation of sixteen lines.

Customer:job name may be selected from the list, indicating that this expense is to be passed on to a customer.  An entry here will put a symbol in the Invoice column (next to the right) XE "Invoice column:check voucher"  XE "Expenses tab:checks"  indicating that this expense is waiting to be recorded on an invoice . Note:  once the expense is recorded on an invoice, this flag is cleared, and will stay cleared. If the invoice is deleted, the flag will remain cleared, and invoicing will not again show this expense as ready to be included in an invoice.

Invoice (the little square bug) shows a symbol if a customer name is entered, for billing an expense through to a customer.  Clicking will cover it with an X, meaning Do not bill. After the expense has been billed, the invoice symbol becomes gray, and stays gray (even if the invoice is deleted.)

Class column may be present, and an entry made, if your accounting plan includes classes (chapters 2 and 3.)

Reaching the end of the first detail line, Tab (one or more times) will move the action to the beginning of the second line.  Enter the necessary number of detail lines.  The first sixteen of them can be printed on the check voucher. (Sorry, thats the way it is.) If seventeen or more lines are used, the sixteenth will be the total of those not shown.

Recalc button (lower right) XE "Recalc button"  will force the correct total onto the check.

Items tab allows entry of items, which are fully explained under Enter Bills, Chapter 9.

Next, Prev, OK, and Cancel work as described under Deposits.

Print button prints this one check.  (Printing of multiple checks is under File|Print Forms.)  Look at the number of the next check in the printer.


rinting, from this selection is possible, without recording the check.  If the check is printed and used, OKmust be selected to record the check.  Esc or cancel would kill the check, indicating that you should have bought QuickBooks for ... instead of this book.

Enter the number of the next check up in the printer, and click OK.

A printer setup screen will appear, in QuickBooks 5.  Older versions have a box with some of these choices, but printers can only be set up under File|Printer Setup.

Print company name and address can be  XE "company name:on checks" selected in this box.  Other selections are described in the chapter on Printing.  In earlier versions, this selection  can only be made just before printing.

Options gives access to setups for the printer listed in Printer name.   The down-arrow allows selection of printers that have been set up through the Windows control system (Chapter 23 or 24.)

Check style allows choice between standard checks, sold three per page, and voucher checks. XE "voucher checks" ..    These add two check-sized sheets below the checks,  for a use variously described as vouchers, skirts, detail sections, or in British usage, remittance advices XE "remittance advice" .  Account number may be printed on the voucher, selected in File|Preferences|Checking.   A third style, wallet size, is available.  Wallet checks XE "wallet checks"  are sold three per sheet, are not often used in business, and the information on the stub cant be controlled.


Partial page tab is used with standard (non-voucher) checks, when one or two checks have been printed from a sheet.  Older versions have the same choices in different form.

Number of copies is useful for printing additional copies of checks, usually onto blank paper interleaved with the checks.

Multiple checks may be selected for printing from File|Print Forms, as described in the chapter on printing.

Memorized checks XE "Memorized checks"  are handy. The procedure is essentially the same as memorizing invoices, Chapter 7. Users of versions 4 and earlier should remember that check numbers or printing status are not memorized.


The check is in the mail.  Make sure of it.  Check fraud has resulted from envelopes being left out, and not making it into the mail box.  The checks have been acquired by integrity-challenged persons, who have altered them.  Once a check is deposited into a mail box, this is far less likely.

The US Internal Revenue Code requires businesses to report certain payments on form 1099-MISC XE "1099-MISC" .  QuickBooks has a convenient form for that purpose, but this report includes only payments to payees from the list of vendors. Payments to employees, customers, or other names will not be included on the 1099 report.  For more details, see the reports in Chapter 14.

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Last modified: May 21, 2004