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myOwn10-Key - How To Balance Your Checking Account Without First Entering All Of Your Transactions

Aug 26, 2007
Balancing your checking account against statements from your financial institution is a monthly task that I highly recommend. Not only can you make mistakes, but the people who process your checking account transactions are subject to human error as well.

Mistakes in your checking account and/or checkbook register can be small or large, and in your favor or in the bank's favor. To keep everyone honest, and to prevent potentially nasty financial surprises, do yourself a favor and balance your checking account every month.

Step-by-step Instructions

Balancing your checking account with the aid of your computer does not mean that you first have to enter all of your checking account transactions into a program. Here's the step-by-step procedure for doing your balancing, without entering any transactions, using myOwn10-Key.

1. Start one copy of the program. Press Ctrl+O to display the Open dialog box. Browse to the Sample Tapes folder that is located below the folder where the program is installed. Double click on the "Balance Checkbook.ptc" filename.

This will load the balancing etape into the program. Press F11 to place the program in collapsed mode and then, if needed, drag the window borders to expand the window size so that you can see the entire etape including all of the Notes. Move the program window as far as possible to the left on your monitor screen.

2. To avoid over-writing the master "Balance Checkbook" etape file, click on the File menu and then the Save As command. Select a folder and enter a filename of your choosing for the new copy of the balancing etape. Click the Save button.

3. Start a second copy of the program. If needed, press F11 to also place this second copy of the program in collapsed mode. Place the second program window to the right of the first. Resize both windows as needed to give yourself as much etape viewing area without overlapping the two windows.

You can gain monitor viewing space in the second copy of the program by turning off the etape line numbers as well as removing the subtotal column. While the second copy of the program is in Expanded mode (pressing F11 toggles between Expanded and Collapsed modes), click on the Tape menu and then either the Line Numbers or Subtotal Column commands. For the Line Numbers command, you will also have to click on the None option.

4. On the balancing etape in the first, or left hand window, change the "Ending balance on statement" value on line 2 to agree with the ending balance shown on your account statement.

To make this, or any of the following etape value changes, right click anywhere on the etape row being changed. This will open the Change Tape Entry window in which you change the Tape value and then click on the OK button.

5. In your checkbook register, check off all of the cleared transactions that are listed on the account statement. This includes deposits, checks, and other withdrawals.

If there are any fees, such as for monthly account maintenance or for new checks, ensure that those fees are recorded in your checkbook register. Check these fee transactions as cleared since they appear on the current statement. If needed, bring your register balance up to date to reflect the new entries.

As an aid to help keep track of, and find the oldest, uncleared transaction in your checkbook register, draw a line down the column in which you check off cleared items. Start the line at the beginning of the check register and stop the line just above the oldest, uncleared transaction. As you check off newly cleared transactions, continue the line so that it always stops just above the oldest, uncleared transaction.

6. Using the second, or right hand copy of the 10-key program, add up all of the deposits in your checkbook register that have not yet appeared on a statement. Change the "Deposits not on statement" value on line 3 of the balancing etape to this total.

To start a new etape section while preserving all preceeding etape sections, either press F3 or the left arrow key. Either of these keys will, if needed, add a final subtotal to the bottom section of the tape and then start a new etape section.

7. Using the second, or right hand copy of the 10-key program, add up all of the checks and other withdrawals in your checkbook register that have not yet appeared on a statement. Change the "Checks/Withdrawals not on statement" value on line 4 of the balancing etape to this total.

8. On the balancing etape, change the "Ending balance in register" value on line 5 to agree with the last balance in your checkbook register.

9. The "Total recorded in other than register" value on the balance etape is for amounts in your checking account that you keep track of separate from your checkbook register. If you keep track of any of the funds in your checking account separate from your checkbook register, change the "Total recorded in other than register" value on line 6 to the total of these separate funds.

Balancing

When your checking account is in balance with the account statement, the end subtotal on the balancing etape, line 7, will now be zero (0.00). If this end subtotal is not zero, here are a few suggestions for trying to find the error.

* Verify that the ending balances from both the account statement and your checkbook register have been entered correctly on the balance etape.

* Verify that all subtotals from the second, right hand etape have been copied correctly to the balancing etape.

* Review the account statement to see if there are any charges, such as new checks or monthly fees, which have not been entered in your checkbook register.

* Compare the deposit, check and other withdrawal amounts listed on the account statement with the amounts recorded in your checkbook register to see if there are any disagreements.

* Re-add all of the uncleared deposits in your checkbook register that have not yet appeared on an account statement to ensure that this total on the balancing etape is correct.

* Re-add all of the uncleared checks and other withdrawals in your checkbook register that have not yet appeared on an account statement to ensure that this total on the balancing etape is correct.

* Re-do the arithmetic in your checkbook register since the last time you balanced. (Finding the last place you balanced is easy if you draw a line under the last balance in your checkbook register each time you finish balancing your account.)

If you find no obvious errors, you have the option of visiting your financial institution to get help. Or you can force your checkbook register into balance with your account by adjusting the ending balance in your checkbook register. The notes at the bottom of the balance etape have instructions for the two options for forcing your account into balance by either adding or subtracting the out-of-balance amount from your check register balance.

Whether or not you decide to force your account to balance depends on the impact making such an adjustment will have on your account balance. Only you can decide whether forcing your account to balance is something you want to do.

When You Are Done

When you are done balancing your checking account:

1. Close both copies of the program. Whether or not you save either the balancing or calculation etapes is entirely up to you.

2. In your checkbook register, draw a line under the last balance to indicate where you last balanced your account. You know that all transactions above this line are in balance. If there is a problem with balancing the next statement, you will only have to concern yourself with checking for errors in entries following the last underlined balance.
About the Author
George Gilbert writes software for personal computers. Titles include myOwn10-Key, myOwnPayday, Person On Call, Trend Importer and Double Text. Find out more about these innovative, award winning programs at 2goodsoftware.com.
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