This may give the impression that there is more money accessible to spend in the account than there should be. If the payor spends part or all of the funds that should have been held in reserve to cover the check, and the check is later cleared, the account goes into the red. If this occurs, the bank will charge the payor an overdraft or non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee, unless the account has overdraft protection.

Accounting inconsistencies may arise if outstanding checks are not reported and tracked in the appropriate manner. Because of this, keeping correct financial records can be difficult, and it may lead to problems during audits or when reconciling finances. For example, payments may show as being paid but if the cash has not yet been debited from the account, there may be inconsistencies worth reconciling. A check is a financial instrument that authorizes a bank to transfer funds from the payor’s account to the payee’s account. When the bank receives the full amount requested, it deposits it into the payee’s account.

  • The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is a collection of laws and regulations meant to harmonize the laws of sales and regulations across the U.S.
  • After reading this post about outstanding checks, we hope you gained valuable information.
  • An outstanding check, also known as an un-cleared check, is written and recorded in the depositors accounting system but hasn’t been paid by the bank before the statement date.
  • If the payor spends part or all of the funds that should have been held in reserve to cover the check, and the check is later cleared, the account goes into the red.

An outstanding check remains a liability of the payer until such time as the payee presents the check for payment, which then eliminates the liability. Tracking of payments can be accomplished through the use of checks, which provide both a paper trail and evidence of payment. Through the use of the check, the sender and the recipient of the payment are able to retain a record of the transaction, which includes the date, the amount, and the payee.

An outstanding check is a check payment that has been recorded by the issuing entity, but which has not yet cleared its bank account as a deduction from its cash balance. The concept is used in the derivation of the month-end bank reconciliation. When issuing the check, the owner is already recorded the business transaction, it credits the cash from the balance sheet and debits various accounts. So in order to write off the outstanding check, we need to debit cash at bank back and the credit side may depend on the original transaction.

How long are traveler’s checks good for?

If you discover an old cashier’s check, contact the issuing bank and ask them what they need from you to handle the transaction. If you’ve been given a check, it’s best to cash or deposit it as soon as feasible. You can also call or write to remind the payee that the check is outstanding. If they haven’t received the payment, this may nudge them to notify you to reissue the check.

They are not tax efficient and an investor should consult with his/her tax advisor prior to investing. The value of the investment may fall as well as rise and investors may get back less than they invested. Ask the payee to return the old check before sending the new one to prevent the potential of both checks being deposited, either intentionally or unintentionally. Please note that it’s always possible that Western Union or U.S.P.S. have changed their rules.

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After that, you should contact the recipient of the check to see if they want a fresh check to replace the old one. Anthony Nguyen, founder of, has a passion for finding the best deals, bank promotions, credit card offers, cash back, points & miles, and everything in between. Additionally, you can also ask your payee to sign a document not to deposit both checks. Though it won’t necessarily stop them from depositing the extra check, it adds a reminder and paper trail that will be useful.

Example of Writing Off an Old Outstanding Check

In the U.S., outstanding checks are considered to be unclaimed property and the amounts must be turned over to the company’s respective state after several years. This is why your (or company) bank accounts need to be reconciled with the bank statement. There is a discrepancy between what your checkbook or accounting system says you have in your account and what the bank reports on your monthly statement. One of the main differences are the outstanding checks that have been recorded in the accounting system but haven’t been recorded by the bank.

How to find Outstanding Checks on a Bank Statement

The entry simply reduces cash at bank in the company balance sheet and decreases accounts payable. This commonly occurs when checks are written in the last few days of the month. Unreleased checks have not yet been issued to the payee but have been deducted from the cash account.

#1. Make contact with the payee.

An outstanding check, also known as an un-cleared check, is written and recorded in the depositors accounting system but hasn’t been paid by the bank before the statement date. In other words, an outstanding check is one that was written but not cashed before the end of a statement period. It’s still out there waiting to be cashed and drawn out of your checking account.

When that filing date arrives, the firm sends the payment to the government, along with a form that itemizes all of the outstanding checks being forwarded to it. When an organization prepares a bank reconciliation, it subtracts the outstanding checks from the bank statement balance to determine the correct or adjusted bank balance. These are checks that the company has written but have not yet been cleared by the bank. At the end of the month, most businesses have a number of outstanding checks. If the cash balance in your checking account appears to be excessive, it could be due to outstanding checks.

Some say cashier’s checks don’t expire, while others claim a cashier’s check is stale (out of date) after 60, 90, or 180 days. Professional accountants and bookkeepers deal with outstanding checks during reconciliation, a time where they are balancing their ledgers as they approach closing the books for the month. Some businesses print “Void after 90 days” on their checks to encourage recipients to deposit checks more promptly. Most banks will continue to honor checks for the full 180 days, but that isn’t guaranteed.

Checks that linger only buy the company more time to gather up enough resources for payment to clear if more time is needed. Some checks become stale if dated after 60 or 90 days, while others become void after six months. The company just delay the payment, so they need to recognize accounts payable. We cannot credit expense as the company already consume the service, they can only delay the payment. Checks that have been outstanding for an extended period of time cannot be cashed because they have become void.

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Oftentimes, a bank charges overdraft fees or nonsufficient funds fees on bounced checks. Some banks may provide a grace period, such as 24 hours, in which time you can deposit funds to avoid the overdraft fees. Checks for personal, evaluating a company’s balance sheet business, and payroll purposes are valid for 6 months (180 days). Most banks will honor those checks for up to 180 days, and the pre-printed text is intended to urge individuals to deposit or paychecks as quickly as possible.

The latter option ensures that you will not have another outstanding check in the future. Whatever the cause, you may be able to resolve your situation with an outstanding check by simply contacting the receiver. If the issuing entity postpones mailing the check for any reason, the check may also be delayed. Money orders are a substitute for checks and generally used for lower value transactions.

Outstanding checks also provide the opportunity for payment delays, which can be advantageous when it comes to managing cash flow. Even if the checkwriter has sufficient funds, any delay from the depositor simply means higher interest revenue on the capital balance waiting to be drawn down. When the company issue check, the accountant credit cash at bank and debit other accounts such as assets, liability, or expense. So in order to write off an outstanding check, we need to look at the original entry and reverse it back.