These represent cheques that have been issued by an entity to a customer or another third party but which have not presented to the bank by the reconciliation date. Entity records the payment in its cash book as soon as the cheque is issued to the person but the bank records the transaction when it receives the cheque. This causes a timing difference in the recording of the payment.
As the bank would not have recorded the unpresented cheques, the balance appearing in bank statement would be higher than the cash book balance which is why the amount of outstanding cheques is added to the cash book balance in the bank reconciliation.
ABC & Co. purchases goods worth $2000 and writes a cheque of the same amount in favor of the supplier on 28 December 2010. Following accounting entry was recorded by the entity on that date:
The supplier however does not present the cheque until 3 Janaury 2011. Therefore, $2000 of unpresented cheques should appear in the bank reconciliation on 31 December 2010 because the bank had not accounted for the transaction by that date even though ABC & Co. had recorded the payment in its cash book on the date of payment.