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Getting the Next Cheque Number
There are three places in the program where it will show you a suggestion for the next cheque number on a bank account. They are the Register window (when you press "+" in the Number field), and the Write Cheques and Pay Bills windows (where it does so automatically).
The way it does this is to look for the most recently entered cheque number on any transaction on that bank account (as long as it was within the last 13 months), and suggest a number one higher than that. By "most recently entered", we mean it is based on the date and time at which you were sitting at the ACCOUNTS program and making the entry. That may be very different from the actual date you recorded for the transaction, which could be the current date, or a past or future date!
In most cases, this will give you the correct next cheque number, but of course you should check that against your chequebook to make sure it is the correct number of the cheque you are writing (or plan to print from the program)!
One case in which this will give wrong answers is if you enter some cheques out of cheque number order. So if you have cheques 24 and 25 to enter, and you first enter the transaction for number 25, then the one for 24, 24 will be the most recently entered one. Thus for the next cheque you go to enter, it will suggest number 25, which you have already used. Fortunately the program will notice this even if you don't, and when you try to save that transaction it will warn you that there is a previously entered cheque with the same number, and give you a chance to change it. To avoid this problem, please try to always enter your cheques sequentially (though the dates you enter for them don't matter).
There are a few other cases where you may have minor troubles with this. One is if you have two different sets of cheques you are using, perhaps some manual cheques numbered 1 to 200, and some cheques for computer printing numbered 1000 to 2000. Every time you switch from one set of numbers to the other, you will have to manually correct the suggested cheque number in the program. As long as the cheques you enter after that are from the same range of numbers though, it will work fine for them.
Other Possible Ways of Doing This
This section is only for those who find design issues in programs like this interesting!
We have actually gone through two different ways of choosing the next cheque number before settling on this way.
The earliest way was to use one more than the highest cheque number in the account, within the last 13 months. That was fine, unless you ran out of cheques, and ordered a new batch starting at a lower number! Then suppose you had previously used numbers up to 200, and started again at 1. The program would keep suggesting number 201 for the next 13 months!
The next way (introduced in version 1.14) was to use the cheque number from the latest-dated transaction on that account (including post-dated cheques). That was fairly good, unless you wrote one or more post-dated cheques, then after that wrote some current-dated cheques. It would keep suggesting a number one higher than the last of the post-dated cheques, even though you had gone beyond that number, and would keep doing so until you entered further cheques with a later date.
We believe that the current method will be correct more of the time that the previous two methods.