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In the world of small business accounting, the writing and printing of checks is something of an afterthought. You likely pay your bills with online banking, a business credit card, or your bookkeeper uses Bill.com or some other form of billing software to manage payables for you.
However, sometimes you still need to print a good old-fashioned check. If you use QuickBooks Online, we’re here to show you to show you how to get it done. But first, let’s revisit the importance of paying by check, and why it’s something every small business owner should consider.
Interestingly enough, the use of checks is still alive and well in the world of business. B2B payments via check actually increased between 2013 and 2016, according to data from the Association of Financial Professionals (AFP). Why do small business owners still use checks? Well, there are several reasons:
Now that we understand the benefits of paying by check, here is how to write and print checks in QuickBooks Online.
When you create a check in QuickBooks Online, you’re doing something very important in terms of accounting: Creating a check will credit the asset account (i.e. lessen the balance you have in your checking account) and debit the expense/cost of goods account (i.e. increase the expense or cost of goods sold on your profit and loss statement). It could also debit a liability account (i.e.: a loan or credit card), which decreases what you owe. It’s like creating a paper check out of your checkbook. Here’s the steps you need to take to make it happen.
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Here is what the check form looks like in QuickBooks Online. From the homepage, click the “Quick Create” icon (the + sign), select “Vendors,” and then “Check”:
If you take a look at the image below, there are several important notes to consider: In QuickBooks Online Plus, you can have the “Items” tab on the check, so you can buy items to resell. That is a nice touch. QuickBooks Online Plus supports this; they’re called two-sided items and pass through time or material expenses so that a user can create invoices for them. You will also notice “Location” and “Class fields,” also a “Plus” feature. (Check out this video on class/location tracking here if you want to learn more.)
In the check below, I am crediting the company checking account and then debiting the “Rent” and “Advertising” accounts. So it is a “split” transaction. And instead of the check number field, I have decided to print this check later on, which we’ll cover in a few minutes. If I wanted to, I could tag the account amounts to a customer/sub-customer/project for profitability tracking (see a video on that here) and/or mark the “Billable” checkbox to pass through (see a video on that here) the expenses to a customer/project.
If I save the check, then click on the “More” tab/”Transaction Journal,” here is what this check has done to my general ledger, all just by clicking Save & Close:
It is important to not create a check when there is already a bill, as this will duplicate the expense. You will want to look at the “Drawer” transactions that will open up to alert you as soon as you tab from the “Payee/Vendor” field on the check. Note in the picture below, if you already have entered a bill for the same expense, you need to go “Pay the Bill,” not “Create a Check.” “Pay Bills” can be found by clicking the “+” sign.
Overbooking expense or COGS is something your accountant or bookkeeper might have to clean up, and creating a check while a bill exists instead of making a bill payment is the main culprit. Just worth considering and watching out for.
Now, the good news is that when you click on the “Add” link in the drawer, the bill is added to the check which converts to a “Bill Payment Check,” which is the correct way to pay down your payables.
You can print both regular checks and bill payment checks the same way: “Quick Create” > “Vendors” > “Print Check”— see the image below for an example.
Let’s walk through printing out the Auburn Hills rent check dated 11/26 for $1,700. First, you will want to click the “Print” setup tab along the bottom of the “Print Checks” window. You can only align the amount; there are no other check print alignment options.
Before you print checks for the first time, make sure you do this alignment wizard. This will ensure that your printed amount lines up properly on your pre-printed check stock. (Note: If you want blank check stock, you’ll need an app for that, like these.) Below is what that wizard looks like.
Click on “No,” continue setup to get to the amount alignment field. If you know the actual horizontal and vertical, you can enter them or hit the “+/-” keys. You could also just grab the dollar amount using your mouse and drag it into position. Then click “View preview and print sample” and keep trying until you get it aligned how you like. Then click “Finish Setup.” Voucher and standard check stock are both supported.
Click on “Preview” and print tab, and do your thing!
Once you print, you’ll be asked:
Don’t say yes until the check(s) are completely printed. As luck would have it, the minute you say yes and anything isn’t finished, that’s going to be when your printer decides to eat 10 checks. To reprint them, you’ll have to open each one that didn’t print individually and mark it to be printed and do it all over. No one wants that!
Of course, to perform QuickBooks check printing, you’ll need QuickBooks checks. There are three main types of checks QuickBooks sells on its website. Let’s review them to see which is the best option for your business.
QuickBooks offers additional checks for a variety of different business purposes. See the full list of checks here.
QuickBooks check printing isn’t an overly complicated process, but it can be an important one for your business. Being able to pay by check can provide you with more flexibility and peace of mind. The only thing left for you to do is get online and try out QuickBooks check printing for yourself.