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Check Register

Updated on June 27, 2024
Article byAswathi Jayachandran
Edited byAswathi Jayachandran
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is A Check Register?

A check register or cash disbursement log is the journal used to keep track of all the checks, cash payments, and cash outlays made over an accounting period. The journal contains columns for the dates, check numbers, payee details, account names, and credit and debit amounts linked.

Check Register Meaning

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A register is a valuable tool for both personal and business banking customers. It is helpful when it comes to keeping track of where the money in a bank account is moving over a given period. It also helps assist decision-makers in determining which areas of the budget require the most improvement.

Key Takeaways

  • A check register, or cash disbursement journal, is used by a business to record all checks and cash transactions made during an accounting period.
  • The dates of the transactions, check numbers, payer or payee details, and names listed on any accounts (whether business or personal) are included in the register.
  • These registers, as opposed to online bank statements, provide businesses with a real-time record of the account balance and the amount of cash they have on hand.
  • They provide information about the kinds of purchases the company makes and can assist them in adjusting their expenses as necessary.

Check Register Explained

A check register, often referred to as a cash disbursement journal, is used by a business to record all checks and cash transactions made during an accounting period. The dates of the transactions, check numbers, payer or payee details, and names listed on any accounts (whether business or personal) are included in the register. Similarly, any resulting debits or credits that need to be recorded after a financial transaction are also listed in columns in a check ledger, much like an accounting spreadsheet.

Check registers, as opposed to online bank statements, provide businesses with a real-time record of the account balance and the amount of cash they have on hand. Hence, the running balance of a business’s checking account is determined by using this register. Columns in these cash disbursement journals typically aid in organizing and deconstructing transactional data. Depending on the requirements and preferences, businesses may have different check registers for different checking accounts (e.g., payroll accounts and operating account check registers). Through this, registers provide information about the kinds of purchases the company makes and can assist them in adjusting their expenses as necessary.

They are preferred because of the benefits they come with, some of which are given below:

  • Limits spending.
  • Track how much one is spending. It helps with budgeting, whether they are an individual or a business owner.
  • Keeps transactions updated and structured.
  • Accurate balance maintenance
  • Discover errors (e.g., a missing check).
  • All payments are recorded in the register, including cash, checks, wire transfers, debit cards, credit cards, and online payments.
  • It can help identify bank or credit card issues, track down identity theft, and prevent rejected checks, which can result in expensive bank fines and harm to individual credit reports.

How To Use?

Transactions in the check register can be done through the following:

  • Making manual paper records of transactions (a printable or online check register can be used here.)
  • Use a spreadsheet.
  • Make use of accounting software.

Individuals or businesses record the transactions on a periodic basis by doing the following:

  • Checking the number and banking type.
  • Recording the day that the transaction was completed.
  • Give a brief description of the transaction.
  • Mentioning whether a credit or debit payment is being made during the transaction.
  • Checking whether a deposit or credit was made in the business’s name, etc.

Examples

Check out these examples to get a better idea:

Example #1

Suppose Dave works part-time, lives alone, and handles all his living expenses. His salary for the month is $2000, and let’s say he needs to pay his tuition fees on January 5; it would cost him $1500. The amount was paid, and he immediately recorded it in one of his registers (he has a printable check register and an online check register that he uses simultaneously). He entered the transaction. The date was 5/1/2022 (the day the transaction occurred), and there was a brief description of the cash deduction and transaction fee. The $1500 will be entered in the debit column under “tuition fee.” The following month’s opening will have a $500 prize.

Example #2

Let us check out the check register book of hypothetical Sundry Detergent and company:

Sundry Detergent and company

Date or S.No DescriptionCheck numberDebitCreditBalance
1/1/2023Initial Balance001  $10000
2/1/2023Stationary expenses002$100 $9900
8/1/2023Water and electricity bill003$500 $ 9400
15/01/2023Sale profit004 $500$9900
20/1/2023Cash deposit005 $200$10100

Let us take the example of Sundry Detergent and Company. They decided to try out the method of registering it manually on a spreadsheet. Their monthly expenses for January are as follows:

1/1/2023: Initial Balance = $100,000

2/1/2023: Stationary expenses: $100

8/1/2023: Water and electricity bill = $ 500

15/01/2023: Sale profit: $500

20/1/2023: Cash deposit: $200

Accordingly, after adjustment, the business will have $10100 in balance to carry forward to the next month.

Example #3

According to an article published on March 9, 2024, Worcester, Massachusetts, has stopped allowing tax dollars from its checkbook to be published online due to concerns about cyberattacks and fraud. The online vendor check register for the city will not be restored to its previous state after more than a year of unavailability. There is a serious risk of fraud because of the register, which made checks to suppliers like insurance firms and infrastructure contractors visible to the general public. The city’s online vendor register has been criticized for posing significant cybersecurity and privacy concerns. The Massachusetts Comptroller’s Office did not respond to an email requesting information about the scope of the state’s problems with the concerns Batista raised.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How do you complete a check register?

The register, set for a period, needs all transaction amounts sorted out and entered. Each transaction entered shall have a number, its date, a description, and the amount debited or credited. Once all the values are entered and adjusted, the calculation is complete.

2. Does Excel have a check register template?

Microsoft Excel has a checkbook register that lets users see where their money is going. Since they are classified, reading the summary is easy and makes its management much more accessible.

3. Can you get check registers at the bank?

Upon request, cash disbursement log can be made available from the user’s bank. Typically, they have the checkbook with them. In addition to that, a bank can safely help individuals connect to their online check register, which is typically part of the financial institution’s online personal banking package.

This has been a guide to what is Check Register. Here, we explain the concept in detail, along with its examples and how to use it. You can learn more about financing from the following articles –

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