How to Clear Out Outstanding Checks in QuickBooks
By Adrian Grahams
Failure to clear outstanding checks can prevent you from reconciling and balancing your company accounts correctly. This issue typically occurs in QuickBooks business accounting software when you set a new bank account's opening balance using information from the checkbook register rather than a bank statement. To fix the problem, create a clearing account and then enter the outstanding checks to reconcile and correct the opening balance.
Clearing Account Setup
Select the "Lists" tab in the main QuickBooks menu bar, and then choose "Chart of Accounts" from the pull-down menu.
Click "Account" followed by "New." Choose the "Bank" option from the list of account types. Click the "Continue" button.
Enter a memorable name, such as "Clearing Account" in the applicable field. Select "Save and Close" to create the new account and exit the account creation window.
Click the "Banking" tab in the main menu, and then select "Write Checks" from the pull-down list.
Type the payee name, payment date, check number and check amount in the applicable fields.
Select the "Expenses" option, and then choose the clearing account you created from the drop-down list.
Click the "Save and New" button to save the entry to this list and open a new check entry.
Repeat this procedure for each outstanding check that you want to clear. Click "Save and Close" when you're done.
Choose "Reconcile" from the Banking drop-down menu. Click to select the account that you want to reconcile in the Begin Reconciliation window.
Type the statement date and ending balance in the applicable fields. The statement date should be the same date you used when first created the account. The ending balance should be the beginning balance on the bank statement. Click the "Continue" button.
Click to select each of the outstanding checks that you previously entered.
Choose "Reconcile Now" to reconcile and clear the outstanding checks.
Before reconciling, check that the difference value displayed in the register is "0.00." Otherwise, go back and ensure you entered the correct check amounts in the clearing account.
The information here applies to Intuit QuickBooks 2013. It may differ slightly or significantly for other versions of QuickBooks.
Adrian Grahams began writing professionally in 1989 after training as a newspaper reporter. His work has been published online and in various newspapers, including "The Cornish Times" and "The Sunday Independent." Grahams specializes in technology and communications. He holds a Bachelor of Science, postgraduate diplomas in journalism and website design and is studying for an MBA.