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Balancing a Checkbook

April 26, 2018

It can be a pain, but balancing your checkbook is necessary to effectively manage your money. Comparing your check register to the bank statement can be time-consuming. However, it’s the only to know that your records match the bank’s records.

Banks make mistakes, too

Banks do make errors from time to time, and you generally only have 60 days to notify the bank about their mistake.

Where to start

Generally, it’s easiest to balance your checkbook right after you receive your monthly bank statement. Start off by checking to see if all of the checks you’ve written have cleared the bank. Double check to be sure the bank has the correct amount, and then check off each check that has cleared.

Be sure all of your deposits are written down in your checkbook as well. Do the same thing for your ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases. If you’re missing any that appear on your bank statement, add them to your register.

Next, record any other fees that appear on your statement in your checkbook register.

Use the reconciliation form

Generally, a reconciliation form is printed on the back of your bank statement. You can use that form to write down any outstanding checks, debit card purchases, and ATM withdrawals and outstanding deposits. Compare these to the bank statement, and be sure the totals in your register match those on your statement. 

©American Institute of Certified Public Accountants