Cashier balancing is a process usually conducted in businesses such as grocery stores, restaurants and banks that takes place at the closing of the business day or at the end of a cashier's shift. This balancing process makes the cashier responsible for the money in his or her cash register.
The balancing process
In order to balance (or settle) the cash drawer, first, the manager (or sometimes the cashier) prepares to count the money in the register. Counting the money is usually done in the back office: the drawer is removed from the register and taken into the office. By preparing to count the money, all large bills, checks and coupons and food stamps (if any) are removed and put to the side. Next, the person counting the money counts it back to its "starting amount." The starting amount is the amount of money that was in the drawer at the beginning of the shift. As this is being done, there will be additional bills and change that will be put off to the side along with the larger bills. Once the drawer is reset back to its starting amount for the next cashier's shift, it is either placed in the safe or given to another cashier that is starting their shift.
Now, the bills and change that were put off to the side get counted, along with the checks from the cashier's drawer. This is what makes up the cashier's sales deposit. Most cash registers can print up a sales slip and money tendering slip that tells how much money the cashier made in sales and how much money the cashier is accounted for. The manager refers to this slip when counting the cashier's sales money. If the money counted does not match what is on the balancing slip, the cashier may be over or short (in cash). Whenever a discrepancy such as overages or shortages occur, the money is usually counted again to ensure that the amount is correct. The over/short can always be calculated by subtracting the amount of money in the drawer (exclude the "starting amount") from the amount printed on the cashier tendering slip, or balancing slip. Depending on the amount of over/short and circumstances involved, disciplinary actions may vary. Cashiers have lost their jobs to cash overages/shortages, either for repeated violations or for large overages or shortages. In most establishments, termination on the first offense is usually for $100.00 over/short or more. Shortages usually result from bills sticking together or from the cashier giving back too much change, or maybe even "pocketing" some money from the register. Overages occur from taking too much money from customers or not entering items in the point of sale terminal properly.
Cash overages/shortages are usually expressed in several ways. This example shows how it is expressed in writing and how a register printout would show them.
Overage $12.34: is written as +12.34; is printed out as: $12.34 or +$12.34.
Shortage $12.34 is written as: -12.34; is printed out as: ($12.34) or -$12.34.