Dealing With Uncleared Checks From Prior Years in Sage 50

This month’s tip is a request from a reader. Ginny wanted me to address “How to write off uncashed checks from prior years and how to handle re-issuing an uncashed check from prior years.”

Even though the same principals apply in all three cases, the exact steps will vary depending on whether the check paid an accounts payable invoice, or was posted directly to an expense account, or if it was a payroll check.

Let’s talk about the payroll check first because Sage 50 makes this very easy. If an employee comes to you in January and says they lost their paycheck from December, all you have to do is open the lost check in the the Payroll Entry window and click the Reissue button. That will automatically void the old check and create a new check for the same amount that you can print. The void transaction and the replacement check both get dated today so the net effect on your general ledger and payroll tax reports is zero.

But the reissue feature only exists for payroll checks, so for any other check we have to manually replicate that process.

The first thing you need to do is to void the old check. Go to the Tasks menu and choose Void Checks. A window opens listing uncleared checks. If you have a lot of uncleared checks or if you don’t use the bank reconciliation feature in Sage 50, it could take a little while for the void window to open. At the top left you can select a different bank account if needed. At the top right is the void date. That is the date that the void will be posted. In other words, that is when the old check will be reversed off of your books. In most cases that should be today’s date. Then you simply select the check from the list and click the Void button. Voiding a check also clears it off of your bank reconciliation.

The next steps vary depending on whether or not the check paid an invoice, and if the check should be re-issued.


If the check did not pay an invoice and you want to re-issue the check, then simply enter a new check just like the original but with today’s date. The negative expense from the void will be offset by the expense from the new check and there will be no change to your current expenses.

If the check did not pay an invoice and you don’t want to issue a new check, then you’re done. Voiding the original check is all you need to do. The expense account from the original check will be decreased in the current year. That is necessary because you recognized an expense in the prior year that turned out to not be a real expense, so we recognize the correction on this year’s books.


If the check paid an accounts payable invoice and you need to issue a new check, simply enter a new check with today’s date and select that invoice, just as you would for any other accounts payable check.

If the check paid an accounts payable invoice and you will not be issuing a new check, in other words you will not be paying the related invoice, then you need to enter a credit memo to get the invoice out of your accounts payable. The easiest way to do that is to go to the Tasks menu and choose Vendor Credit Memos. Enter the vendor ID. The Credit Date should, in most cases, be today’s date. At the Credit No.field, if you have a credit memo from the vendor, use the number from the credit memo. If you don’t have a credit memo (as when you entered an invoice twice) I suggest using “CM-” followed by the original invoice number. Now select the invoice from the drop down list on the Apply to Invoice No. tab, then click the Return button at the top of the window and choose All. That will fill in the amounts and/or quantities from the invoice. Click Save to record the credit memo. This entry will affect your general ledger in the current year, but again that is needed as a correction to the prior year expenses.

If the invoice involved had inventory items on it, then the credit memo will remove those items from inventory. You’ll need to carefully consider whether or not you need to make additional inventory adjustments. For example, in the case of an invoice that was entered twice, you normally want the items to be removed from inventory so you wouldn’t need to do anything else. But if you had done a physical inventory between the original invoice date and when you entered the credit memo, then inventory would have already been corrected and you need to enter inventory adjustments to put those items back into inventory.

I would also like to add that these procedure are the same whether the check is in a prior year or the current year. Just because Sage 50 allows you to delete a check from the current year doesn’t mean you should. It’s much better to void checks so that you can account for every check number.


Recording an NSF Check From a Customer in Sage 50

Hopefully this is a tip you won’t need very often but when a customer does bounce a check, at least there’s any easy way to account for it in Sage 50. It’s basically just two steps: First invoice the customer for the NSF check charge. Second, record a negative cash receipt in the amount of the returned check and apply it to the new invoice. Here are the detailed steps.

  • Enter a sales invoice (Tasks menu > Sales/Invoicing) to your customer for the amount of the insufficient funds (NSF) fee. The date should be the date the check was returned to you. A common choice for the invoice number is to use the original invoice with “NSF”. For example ff the check was originally applied to invoice #1234, make this invoice #1234NSF. For the G/L Account you can post this to a miscellaneous income account (this is the most common if you charge the customer more than the bank charges you). Or if you simply pass on exactly what the bank charges you, you could post it to your Bank Charges account, which would reduce your Bank Charges expense. If you deal with sales taxes, be sure to mark this line as exempt in the Tax column. Even if you don’t plan to collect the NSF fee from the customer, you need to do this step. You can easily adjust it off later.
  • The next step corrects your cash balance and the customer’s balance. You do this with a negative cash receipt. Go to the Tasks menu and choose Receive Money. Fill in the Customer ID. For the Check/Reference No. enter the original check number followed by NSF. The date should be the date the money came out of your bank account. On the Apply to Invoices tab find the invoice you just created (1234NSF) and enter the amount of the check as a negative number in the Amount Paid box. This will increase the balance of that invoice so it reflects the amount of the returned check plus the fee.

When the customer pays, you can record their payment just like you normally would. Go to the Tasks menu and choose Receive Money. Apply the payment to the “1234NSF” invoice. Complete all other fields as you normally would.
If the customer didn’t pay the NSF charge and you don’t plan to collect it, simply enter that amount in the Discount box next to Amount Paid and change the Discount Account at the bottom of the window to the account used when you created the NSF invoice in the first step.


Sage 50 Won’t Open After July 2018 Windows 10 Update

A few months ago Microsoft released an update to Windows 10 that caused Sage 50 to crash. But you could work around it by setting Sage 50 to run in compatibility mode. Now Microsoft has released a new Windows 10 update that is causing Sage 50 to fail to open when it is set to run in compatibility mode.

Fortunately the conflict that forced Windows 10 users to run Sage 50 in compatibility mode has been resolved. So if your Sage 50 suddenly won’t open after  installing the latest Windows 10 updates, the fix is simple.

Right click on the Sage 50 shortcut on your desktop and choose Properties. Go to the Compatability tab and clear the check box next to “Run this program in compatibility mode for“. Click OK to save the change.

If you haven’t restarted your computer since the last time Sage 50 failed to open, then it’s still stuck in memory and you won’t be able to open Sage 50 until you clear it. The simplest way is just to restart your computer. If you want a quicker method and are familiar with using Task Manager, you can go to the Details tab in Task Manager, find Peachw.exe and click End Task.


What’s New in Sage 50 US 2019

I just received my copy of the new release of Sage 50 and have been looking it over. So whether you call it Sage 50 US Edition, Sage 50c, or Sage 50cloud, Here is my summary of what’s new in Sage 50 2019.

Expanded Sales Order Drop-down Menu in Sales/Invoicing Window – When choosing a sales order to convert in the Sales/Invoicing window, the drop down list of available sales orders has been widened to that long SO numbers won’t get cut off.

Totals Added to List Views for Quotes and for Purchases – This one’s kind of self explanatory, but when you’re in the Quotes window or the Purchases/Receive Inventory (AKA Enter Bills) windows and click the List button, you’ll now see a total at the bottom of the list.

Sage CRM Integration – Sage 50 now offers integration with their cloud based customer relationship management software, Sage CRM.

Security and Stability Updates – There were several behind the scenes updates to improve security and stability of Sage 50. These changes should also reduce the number of User Account Control (UAC) prompts.

For more details, here’s the complete announcement exactly as it came from Sage:

What’s New in Sage 50—U.S. Edition 2019.0

 The 2019.0 release delivers to you and your business feature enhancements and improvements, as well as an integration between Sage 50 and Sage CRM, to assist you in making your business life easier than ever! Features in this release pertain to both on plan cloud and traditional customers.


Feedback, as you know being a business owner, can make or break your business! The Sage 50 Team has started a mission called “You Spoke, and We Listened”

Our goal is to make product enhancements or suggestions that you send us via the Sage City Ideation page. Ideally as a team we will review suggestion and enhancement requests and decide which enhancements to build.

Make sure you check out the Sage City Ideation page and rate your top enhancements that you would like to see as we use this list to decide on what enhancements are most important to you!

Below are the many updates, enhancements and productivity maintenance that we delivered for 2019.0:

Expanded Sales Order Dropdown Menu & Totals in Quotes and Purchases List Views

We’re pleased to inform you that the Sales Order dropdown menu has been expanded to match the current field width of the Invoice Number field. In addition, dollar totals are now featured in the Quotes and Purchases List views.

.NET Framework 4.7.1 Updates

Sage 50 now leverages .NET Framework 4.7.1, which is already installed on most operating systems through standard Windows updates. If the update does not exist during installation, .NET Framework 4.7.1 will be installed during the installation process. Several advantages of this update include:

  • Performance and Reliability improvements
  • Security improvements
  • Compliance with latest native TLS security protocol standards

User Security Updates

Sage 50 provides several options that can maintain data security and deter unauthorized users from possible fraudulent activities. To provide the control needed with multiple users, Sage 50’s updated existing security settings in the installer were streamlined to minimize the occurrence of User Account Control (UAC) message prompts.  A standard user will need Administrator-level credentials to perform some tasks that require Administrator-level permissions to execute. For more information about this update, please reference KB 92079.

Additional Enhancements

Sage Payroll (SPR) Sync: This release also includes updates to the latest Azure security compliance standards and improved reliability of large sync operations.

Microsoft Office 365 Integration Maintenance: Performance and reliability improvements are included in this update.

Sage Payment Cloud Maintenance: Performance and reliability improvements are included in this update.

Also, a reminder that Sage has partnered with PayPal to bring you the latest feature, Invoice Payments, in Sage 50. Invoice Payments using PayPal is an easy, convenient, secure way to allow your customers to pay you. You have the ability to invoice your customers by email and include a Pay Now button that your customers can use to pay you with a debit or credit card. Payments are securely processed online and deposited directly to your bank account. For simple instructions on how to set up Invoice Payments through PayPal, reference KB 90640.

Sage 50 CRM Integration   

Sage CRM is a communications system that is ideal for companies that need to streamline processes between departments or provide customer-facing staff with financial information, including the ability to create orders through the Sage CRM interface that pass through to the Sage accounting system.

The integration between Sage 50 and Sage CRM was developed by Dan Cousins & Associates Inc. . Sage 50 CRM is a one-way, read only integration wherein Sage 50 is updating Sage CRM every 24 hours. Features include:

  • Displays Year-to-Date (YTD) Sales compared to Last YTD Sales
  • Displays the Date of the last Invoice
  • Shows a listing of Order and Invoice history
  • User can see line item details for historical Orders and Invoices

Beyond the features listed above, the integration allows you to connect multiple companies in Sage 50 to a single company record in Sage CRM.


Put Your Company Logo On Forms

Adding your logo to forms makes them more professional looking and makes them instantly recognizable as yours. Sage 50 makes it so easy that there is no good reason not to do it.  After all, who wouldn’t want their quote to look more professional, or have every invoice, sales order, and purchase order that you send out work to reinforce brand recognition?

For this example I’ll use an invoice. Start by selecting the invoice that you want customize.

  • Go to the Report & Forms menu. Choose Forms, and then Invoices & Packing Slips.
  • In the lower left section, highlight the form you want to work with, then click the Customize button that is near the bottom of the right section.
  • If you need to make room for the logo, simply drag other objects to a new location or resize them by dragging the handles along the object’s border. For example if you want your logo in the top left corner of your invoice, you’ll need to move the Company Name box and the Company Address box to the right. Or if your logo contains your company name and address you can delete those boxes by right-clicking on the them and then choosing Delete. If you use double-window envelopes, make sure your address will still show in the window.
  • Click the Add button, then choose “Logo or Image”.  An “Open file” dialog box will open.  Browse to the folder that contains your logo file, select it, and click Open.  Sage 50 can work with *.bmp, *.gif, or *.jpg files.
    If the picture doesn’t show up (you just get an empty box on your form) the easiest work-around is to place your logo in a MS-Word document, then copy it and paste it onto your invoice in the form design window.
  • Drag the handles on the edges of the picture to resize it. It is best to start with a picture that is close to right size. If you enlarge it too much, it will look grainy or blurry when you print it. If your file is a lot bigger than is needed, the form file will become quite large and will be slow to open and print.
  • Click on the picture and drag it to wherever you want it to print.
  • Click the save button and give the form a new name.

Remember that the next time you print an invoice, you will probably have to manually select the new format.  After that Sage 50 will remember it.


Customize the Sage 50 Shortcut List for Quick Access to Frequently Used Features

The shortcuts that are on the left side of Sage 50’s main window were introduced with version 2007. But because we are all creatures of habit, they are still overlooked by many users.  These shortcuts provide one click access whatever tasks/features you choose. By default the list of shortcuts includes:

  • Sales Invoice
  • Receive Money from Customer
  • Bills-Pay Bill
  • Customer List
  • Vendor List
  • Find Transaction
  • General Journal Entry

But you can place anything that appears in the menus on the shortcut list including transaction screens, maintenance screens, lists, reports, and forms.

To edit the list, click the gear icon next to the word “Shortcuts”. For version prior to 2018 click on Customize. The Customize Shortcuts window will open showing the current shortcuts with options to move, rename, or delete them. Click the Add A Shortcut button to access a menu that mirrors the menus that are across the top of the main Sage 50 window. Just click on the item that you want to add to the list. You can even add shortcuts to custom forms, such as an invoice or check format, which is particularly useful if you like to print in batches or if you regularly need to reprint transactions from a closed period.
The item you selected will be added to the end of the list. You can then select it, and use the Move Up or Move Down buttons to change where it appears in the list of shortcuts, or click the Rename button to change its description.

Of course the Delete button will remove the selected item from the list and the Add a Space button lets you insert spaces to provide logical groupings within your shortcuts. Reset Defaults will restore the original “out-of-the-box” list.

When you personalize the shortcuts list, the settings are unique to your user name. So each user can choose their own list of shortcuts.

Modify Sage 50Transaction Screen With the Layout Button

Are you tired of having to skip over fields that you never use when entering invoice or other transactions? The Layout button can streamline data entry by letting you hide fields in the Quotes, Sales Orders, Sales/Invoicing, Purchase Order, and Purchases/Receive Inventory (aka Enter Bills) screens.

In any of the windows I just listed, you’ll find a Layout button near the right end of the toolbar at the top of the window.  Click it and choose Customize Invoice Layout (actual wording will vary depending on which screen you’re in). Click the New button to start a new layout and give it a name and description. Or to modify an existing layout choose it at Template Name. Note that you can’t edit the predefined templates. Next to each field name, just check the box under Entry Screen to show the field on-screen or clear the box to hide it. Any boxes that are checked and grayed out are required fields.

You may notice that there is no option here to hide or show the GL Account field. That option existed long before the Layout button was added so it was left in its original location – in the Options menu > Global.

In addition to the Entry Screen check boxes, there are also Printed Form boxes you can check or clear to show or hide each field on printed forms. However you may not want to use them, especially to show a field that was hidden. Unchecking the box simply removes that data field from the printed form without adjusting the layout. For example, if you clear the “Printed Form” box for Customer PO Number, you’ll still have a box on the invoice labeled “Customer PO Number” but nothing will print in it. And if you check a box to add it to the printed form, that field will be placed at the top of the page or sometimes even off the page, depending on which field you added. So while it can be a convenient way to add fields to a form, you will have to use the form designer to make the form usable.

Speaking of the form designer, the blue underlined options are hyperlinks that will open the form designer so you can make more extensive changes to the way the form will print.

When you save your changes and close the Layout window, Sage 50 will automatically start using your new layout.

If you find you need a field that is hidden, just click the Template/Layout button and choose one of the standard formats to see all of the fields again.  When you are done, you can switch back to your custom version the same way.