On Christmas Day I was cleaning out my closet. No, I’m not a neat freak, it just so happened on Christmas Day I felt a little more energetic than usual and thought I would spend a little time organizing the shelves that Mr. A put in our bedroom last weekend. I was organizing my yarn totes and going through the closet. I came across a couple of small boxes with envelopes and mail and old bills. Sometimes I can’t decide to keep mail or throw it away, or should I shred it? That’s when it ends up in a box in the closet. So I was going through one of these boxes and I came across some Christmas cards from December 2009. That’s right, two years ago.
I didn’t recognize the name on one, and the envelope had been taped closed by the sender. I slid my finger under the flap, took out the card and was shocked to find inside a check for $200!!
I still didn’t recognize the name, but the check was written out to Mr. A’s business. Oh boy. I didn’t remember having any invoices that didn’t get paid in 2009 or early 2010, so I went to talk to Mr. A about it. He remembered the customer, and luckily the customer wrote the service rendered at the bottom of the check which jogged Mr. A’s memory.
So now what do we do? Rightfully the money belongs to Mr. A’s business, but we can’t in good faith just take a check for that amount and cash it. I mean, we could, but what if the people don’t have that money in their account? I would hate to find $200 taken from my account and not have any idea what happened. Then again, because I reconcile my account faithfully each month, I would have known, and I would have called the business person and asked them if they got the check.
You might be asking, how come we weren’t expecting this money? In the fall of 2009, Mr. A was not yet using numbered invoices and I was not yet using Quickbooks. I was using Excel to track his invoices, and he was using non-numbered invoices. This allowed this invoice to fall through the cracks, and then apparently Mr. A forgot the money was owed to him. It’s so much easier in Quickbooks… just enter every transaction as it comes through and then you can spit out a report of what’s been paid and what’s owed.
So now what to do? It’s going to be a weird conversation but Mr. A is going to call the customer and explain what happened. Hopefully they will say go ahead and cash the check.
It’s kind of embarrassing on both ends. Like, why didn’t they call and ask if we received the check?
That’s what I would have done, but like I said I do reconcile my checking account faithfully each month, and I would have known within a couple of weeks that the check had not been cashed. Perhaps these people just don’t reconcile their checking account? Maybe they don’t even know the check was never cashed? Or maybe they did know but were not honest enough to call and ask if we ever received the check… hoping that we wouldn’t cash it, and hoping we wouldn’t call. Because Mr. A didn’t ever call them asking for payment, maybe they hoped we just forgot about it.
I like to think they don’t reconcile their account and have no clue the check was never cashed. I’ve never understood not reconciling a checking account myself, but then I’m old school when it comes to reconciling my accounts.
On the other hand, there’s the embarrassment of misplacing and not opening that Christmas card. Whoops.
Have you ever not opened a card or envelope and missed out on money?
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