At the time the check is written the stub must also be filled out, with date, payee and amount, and some brief indication of the commodity bought. "Groceries," "Coal," or for department store, gas, electric light or telephone, "Bill of June 1" or "Bill of May 31." Where accounts are kept, detail on check stubs is unnecessary.
When all the checks on a page are used, add Deposits column and column Amount of Check, subtract the latter from the former and transfer to the next page the balance. It is a convenience to use a large clip at the top to hold together a number of pages of the checkbook, the page in use being the last so held. In this way one can open at once to the current page.
Some mark must be adopted to show that the expenditure represented has been entered in the accounts - a small V in the upper right hand corner of the space for entering check items on the stubs is easily seen. Where a check is drawn to Self or Cash, when the expenditure will be recorded as it occurs, the mark should be made on writing the check. In other cases if it is convenient to enter the expenditure at once on accounts, well and good, but there is no need for doing this until the weekly entry of all accounts. Then examine the check-book and record the expenditure represented by all checks not bearing the V. If the clip is used, it is well not to clip down any page until the account entries are made. In this way one does not need to look back continually to see whether the account record is complete. When the check-book is all used, as a precaution run through to see that the little V is on every card. If it is not, look to see if the sum represented by the check has been entered on the accounts.
At stated intervals the check-book must be checked up with the bank statement. It is increasingly the practice of banks to send by mail an account for each month, and this is advisable, as checking up frequently is easier both because the figuring is less and because errors are more easily traced. Banks are justly looked on as models of accuracy, but they are nevertheless staffed by fallible human beings and one of these occasionally charges a check or credits a deposit to the wrong person. To one mistake made by the bank there are unknown thousands made by depositors, who are not practised in banking. Either kind of mistake should be found and corrected as soon as possible. If the bank does not send a monthly statement, ask for one each month, or in the occasional case where the bank objects to this, at as frequent intervals as possible.
In sending the statement the bank returns all checks that have been charged to the account during the period. Arrange these in numbered order, and open your checkbook to the page where the stub of the earliest number is found. Have at hand two slips of paper whose use will be described later. Compare rapidly checks and stubs, looking only at the number and amount of the check. As you match them, put a check mark on both stub and check. The mark is easier made large, and shows up quicker in the book if put over the amount rather than the square giving the items. When there is a check missing from the numbered order, write the number, name of payee (in brief) and amount on one of the slips of paper before mentioned. Usually there will be a number of such entries, in which case the figures should be set down in a column, for easy adding. If you find a discrepancy between the figures on the stub and those on the check, note number and discrepancy on the second slip. Your attention will be called to any counter check that you have failed to enter by its return to you. In this checking any "raised" check should be discovered and promptly reported to the bank.
When all the stubs are checked, add the figures for the checks not returned, and add this to the amount on deposit. If a deposit was made in the last few days of the month, look at the bank statement to see if it reached the bank in time to be credited. If it did not, deduct it from your total. Make any correction of discrepancy, if you found any. (The amount on the check is of course the one actually paid.) If the bank has given you a slip showing exchange or "carrying charge" or interest deducted, deduct that. Opposite the last check you have written make these corrections, in Deposit column for additions, in Amount of check column for subtractions. Explain these - using back of stub if necessary. Now look at the balance on the bank statement and see if it is the same as your own. If it is not, there is a mistake somewhere, and the odds are very heavy that it is in your own account. If the bank does not give separate slips for each charge for exchange or carrying charge, as it should, it is well to look first on the bank statement of payments to find any such item. A bank does not send to a customer a statement containing any unexplained item. As most mistakes are in addition and subtraction, verify your own first. It is so rare for a bank to make a mistake there that it is hardly worth considering. Adding machines are used by most banks, and they do not make mistakes. This is a case where getting an exact balance is worth spending all the time necessary. If you are inexperienced and cannot find your error, go to your bank and ask for help. The bank is glad to give you training, since in the end it will be as much to their advantage as to yours.
There are, as any banker will tell you, thousands of depositors who never number their checks and never check up the bank statements. They are usually the same who write checks carelessly and often those who overdraw. They never know how much money they actually have available, as the bank statement cannot show the amount for checks written but not yet collected. All bank checks go through central clearing houses, and very rapidly, but not everyone cashes a check quickly. When a check has been written but not cashed, the writer of it has still the money, and can easily make the addition in checking the bank statement. But it is rather a nuisance to carry from month to month the data regarding an uncashed check, and not be able to keep stubs checked up to date, so that it is a matter of courtesy to cash promptly any check received. When the check is from some person or firm not well known, it is also safe to cash the check before any possible transfer of account or failure makes it worthless.