23 Nov Printing Checks on Blank Stock
Ask the Expert – Printing Checks on Blank Stock
Q – I am the bookkeeper for a property management company and handle several checking accounts. I am frustrated with constantly switching the checks. Is there another alternative?
A – Like with most issues in QuickBooks there are several different ways to approach this issue. The option we have found that works best is to print the checks on blank check stock from a dedicated printer that only prints checks.
Over the last few weeks, we have been conducting extensive research into many different software packages that claim to interface with QuickBooks. Some require that the checks be entered directly into their software then imported into QuickBooks (which results in duplicate work if bills are entered as received), still others are expensive (approximately $1,000), still others will work with Pro, but not the Accountant Edition for version 2003. The software that seems to be the best solution is CheckMagic.
Check Magic is affordable at $19.95 for up to 10 accounts or $69.95 for up to 999 accounts. It is network ready for no additional fee. The software is provided on a CD (not available as a download) so there was some time needed to actually receive the product. However, the installation was very easy (and the directions easy to follow), the entry of the checking information was clear and fast, and printing the checks from QuickBooks through the software was seamless. From start to finish the installation, set up and testing took 30 minutes.
The information on the internet regarding MICR toner is mixed. Some sites say it is required, others say that the regular toner has sufficient magnetic particles to be acceptable, and still others site the fact that many banks are converting their equipment to optical alternatives. If the decision is made to not invest in the MICR toner, a call to the bank to determine if they use optical equipment for reading the checks is advised.
The last piece of the printing puzzle is the blank check stock. The best price we found online is from asapchecks.com. CheckMagic was very close, i.e. typically a couple of dollars higher.
Editor”s Note: Although it was not part of the question specifically, it is interesting to note that 250 (minimum quantity) pre-printed checks purchased from Intuit is $66.99. To purchase the software ($19.95), the check stock ($19) and MICR toner (approximately $2.50 for 250 checks) the total is $41.45 or a savings of $25.54. Subsequent orders will produce an even greater savings because the software has already been purchased.
10/14/03 Editor”s Note: CheckMagic just released a new version of the product specifically for Windows 2000, XP, and NT. This product is available for $69.95 and can be used for up to 999 different bank accounts. For users with Windows 95, 98, or ME, there is a version available for $29.95 that will handle up to 999 accounts. The 10 account version is only available for Quicken now.
5-10-05 Editor’s Note: Some users of CheckMagic (a QuickBooks add-on that permits printing checks on blank stock) and QuickBooks version 2005 who have installed maintenance release 4 or 5 have experienced a printing problem. The checks themselves continue to print correctly, but with some vouchers and paycheck stubs the dollar amounts may be cut off. CheckMagic version 5.5 fixes the problem. The upgrade price is $49.95; the price for new users is $69.95.