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Bill shows as unpaid after writing a check in QuickBooks Desktop

by Intuit Updated 3 weeks ago

When you enter a bill in QuickBooks, you can pay it using the Pay Bills feature.

However, if you Write Checks to pay for existing bills, the two transactions won't be linked. The bill remains in an unpaid status.

If you created a check to pay for an existing bill on accident, don't worry. Use one (not all) of the following solutions:

Use this option if you don't need all of your payment information to appear in Accounts Payable.

Not sure if you should use the Write a Check or Pay a Bill feature?

Use Write Checks:

  • When you settle bills as they arrive
  • If you don't need reports showing how much you owe

Use Pay Bills:

  • If you recorded your payables with the Enter Bills feature
  • When you prefer to pay bills all at once or regularly (for example, on the same day each month)
  • If you want to see reports showing how much you owe

Note: To prevent accidentally creating a check for open bills, QuickBooks 2019 or later will guide you to the appropriate workflow. If you try to write a check when you have existing bills, the Check for Bills window appears. It displays a list of open bills for the vendor and the Go to Pay Bills option.

Use this option if the check has been reconciled.

  1. Open the check you created. Change the Expense account to Accounts Payable.
  2. From the Customer: Job dropdown, select the vendor name. If you don't enter a name, QuickBooks will ask you to choose a vendor for the Accounts Payable line item.
  3. Select Save & Close.

Then pay the bill.

  1. Go to the Vendors menu, then select Pay Bills.
  2. Select the bill connected to the check.
  3. Select Set Credits, then go to the Credits tab.
  4. Put a check on the credit. Change the amount as needed.
  5. Select Done. Then select Pay Selected Bills.

Now if you check the transaction history, it shows the regular check as the payment.

Use this option if you want to see all of your payment info, including past data, in Accounts Payable.

  1. Before you start, back up your company file.
  2. Go to the Banking menu and select Use Register.
  3. Find the Check Register.
  4. From the Select Account dropdown, choose the bank account you used when you write the check. Then select OK.
  5. Look for the checks you created in error. Take note of details like the vendor name, payment date, check number, and the amount paid.
  6. When you're done, close the register.

Next, pay the bill.

  1. Go to the Vendors menu, then select Pay Bills.
  2. Select the appropriate Accounts Payable account.
  3. Select Show all bills.
  4. Select the bills you paid using the Write Check feature. If you have written one check for multiple bills, you need to choose all the corresponding bills.
  5. For the Payment date, choose the original payment date you used for the check(s).
  6. From the Method dropdown, select Check.
  7. Select Assign check number to attach the correct check number to the payment. When prompted that the check number has already been used, choose Yes to continue.
  8. From the Account dropdown, select the bank account you used for the check.
  9. Select Pay Selected Bills.

Now go back to the Check Register. You should see two entries (CHK/CHK and BILLPMT) with the same check information. Delete each CHK/CHK entry.

  1. Double-click the entry.
  2. Select Edit and then select Delete.
  3. Select OK.

This method is only available in QuickBooks Accountant Edition and QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise 18.0 or later.

  1. From the Accountant menu, select Client Data Review and then Fix Unapplied Vendor Payments and Credits.
  2. Go to the Vendors tab.
  3. Select the appropriate Accounts Payable account.
  4. Select the vendor.
  5. On the Payments/credits column, select the appropriate check.
  6. On the Bills column, select the appropriate bills.
  7. Select Apply. If you selected the incorrect transaction, you can choose Unapply to unlink it.
  8. Select Save.
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