General Inquiries

Only One Check Signer

  • 1.  Only One Check Signer

    Posted 11-19-2019 11:29
    We will soon be going from two check signers to one. We typically do a check run once per week, so for the most part it won't be an issue since the one check signer can schedule a time to sit down once a week to sign checks. However, there are some times when checks need to be cut and signed quickly and the one signer will not be available. With the goal of retaining strong internal controls, what are some potential solutions?


    Jordan Devaty
    Bayou Electrical Services
    Houston TX

  • 2.  RE: Only One Check Signer

    Posted 11-20-2019 07:37
    Edited by Adam Stanard 11-20-2019 07:38
    Hi Jordan,

    Is the one person leaving the company or retiring or was the decision made to only have one signer? Adding a second signer will alleviate the pain of having only one authorized signer. An alternative is to make payment by ACH which doesn't require a physical presence in your office. Depending on which financial institution you use ACH's are generally less expensive than physical checks by the time you account for your labor, postage, cost of the checks, etc. not to mention they are more secure as they don't get lost in the mail or washed. We've used positive pay for quite some time and have started migrating to ACH's as it is more secure, provides flexibility with not having a second signer as you can login anywhere as long as you have internet access. There is typically multi-factor authentication on bank accounts so security is less of an issue. Most systems allow for someone to initiate payment and a second person to authorize and if you want an added layer of security you can require a third person to approve an ACH.

    Credit cards and ghost credit cards are another option that more and more companies are accepting and they provide rebates via cash back or points that an owner can use however they choose.

    There are also services that will manage your accounts payable but that comes at a price and likely comes with less flexibility.

    As a former auditor I wouldn't recommend having pre-signed checks or a signature stamp as your internal controls are significantly reduced when using either one.

    Adam Stanard CPA
    Chief Financial Officer
    RW Dake Construction
    East Rochester NY
    (585) 381-2500

  • 3.  RE: Only One Check Signer

    Posted 11-20-2019 08:29
    I am a check signer and I have a stamp for myself that I keep locked up at all times. Anytime I am out, I give it to someone I trust completely. They know the types of things to look for in the group of checks that may be a red flag.

    Stacy Webre
    Vice President of Accounting
    Lochridge-Priest, Inc.
    Waco TX
    (254) 772-0670

  • 4.  RE: Only One Check Signer

    Posted 11-20-2019 09:26
    I echo Adam's comments on ACH.  We have found incredible efficiency in using ACH and Purchase Cards.  Our bank also provides a service of printing/mailing paper checks for those who cannot accept credit cards or ACH.  We upload a file to our bank and they process each type of payment.  When a paper check is required, it is printed, signed and mailed from the processing center.  It has taken a day of administrative efforts to get checks out the door.  It has also allowed for our Controller and me to approve batches remotely.  I would strongly recommend anyone looking into this option, especially if you only have one check signer.

    Jennifer Tindal CPA, CCIFP
    MSS Solutions, LLC
    Charlotte NC
    (704) 943-1722

  • 5.  RE: Only One Check Signer

    Posted 11-20-2019 09:30

    We have the signatures printed on the checks but the positive pay file with the bank can only be uploaded by the person you would have signing the checks.  This way no matter where they are they can upload a positive pay file.  This allows them to check the list of people getting paid and ask any questions or look up anything in relation to the checks on the list.


    Rachel Meyer, CCIFP

    Business Manager

    Ph: (303)407-8693  Fx: (303)407-8691


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    Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business

    6950 S. Tucson Way, Suite L

    Centennial, CO 80112


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  • 6.  RE: Only One Check Signer

    Posted 11-20-2019 09:45
    Years ago, my employer had 3 owners authorized to sign checks. A few times a year, they would hold their board meetings at a golf resort, leaving me in the same position. Sometimes the president's PA would forge his name but I didn't like that. Eventually, we got a signature stamp that I kept locked away and was the only one who had access.  After a few years, they made me an authorized signer.

    Chris Ciccone

  • 7.  RE: Only One Check Signer

    Posted 11-20-2019 12:49
    Hi Jordan,

    I agree with the other comments regarding ACH but I also know there is often the odd occasion when a check still needs to be written. Sometimes it's an unforeseen layoff check to the field or other "emergency". Our bank allows us to authorize someone as a signer for a specific duration and up to a maximum dollar amount when I am out of the office on vacation or at a conference. The time frame is limited to the duration that I am away and is automatically rescinded on the date specified in the approval. This has worked for us so far and is preferred to using a signature stamp or worse, signing blank checks when away.

    Good Luck,

    Tim Daniels
    TDN Electric, Inc.
    Mountain View CA
    (650) 968-8000

  • 8.  RE: Only One Check Signer

    Posted 11-21-2019 09:37

    Below are two possible options that haven't been mentioned yet.

    First, you could consider setting up another bank account with a limited balance with additional signers if the owners are comfortable with this option. Second, you could have a word document that has an electronic signature in the correct location to sign the check. The check signer needs to retain complete control over this document, but could print their signature on the check from anywhere with an internet connection and a remote connection back to the office. I have used the second method in the past using LogMeIn to access my desktop and print the signature, it worked well for me.


    Kevin Halme CCIFP
    Constructive Tech Solutions
    Omaha, NE

  • 9.  RE: Only One Check Signer

    Posted 11-22-2019 10:02

    Our checks require two signatures only if the amount is over $20,000, as stated on the check.  We also have 4 check signers on the account.  We also have a stamp but that is used only for the payroll account.


    Thank you,

    Teesha Patten

    Best Interiors, Inc.

    Direct (714) 678-1360

    Direct Fax (714) 678-1361



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  • 10.  RE: Only One Check Signer

    Posted 11-21-2019 11:01
    Hello Jordan,

    We have only 1 signer as well but we also have a stamp. Our signer only signs a check if he must. Otherwise we use the stamp. We have a great checks and balance system in place to make sure no fraudulent activity is happening. Example: the person who cuts the check does not stamp the checks and the person who stamps is given a set to pay to review for accuracy.

    2 signers are a good option of you need it as we had the same issue you had a few years ago. The stamp has been a saving grace and is kept in a locked cabinet with access only if you are approved. ACH/Wires/e-checks are all great as well. There are so many options to choose from so I wish you good luck in finding one that works. ​

    Andrea Orellana
    Assistant Controller
    REIG Asset Management
    San Marcos CA
    (760) 566-3203

  • 11.  RE: Only One Check Signer

    Posted 11-22-2019 07:07
    Depending upon your software suite you can print signed checks controlled with security.

    In Viewpoint Vista, the system uses Crystal reports to print the information on the check.  We have written this report for clients where the signature is an overlay to the standard crystal report.  If the CFO or whomever else you designate as a signer prints the checks, it will print with the signature. So a CFO in Ohio, could print checks to a printer in Texas and they would have the signature.  If someone who does not have the appropriate security signs the checks then they print without a signature.

    Jessica Alcott
    Sr. Business Consultant
    Palmer Consulting Group
    Chester MD

  • 12.  RE: Only One Check Signer

    Posted 11-21-2019 13:17
    We had an interesting situation develop this week.  Via administrative error, five checks were mailed out without signature.
    Two of the five checks were deposited by the payees.  Neither the payee or their bank noticed that the checks weren't signed.  Long story short, both checks cleared our account despite the fact they were not signed.
    The two checks that cleared were uploaded to positive pay after mailing but before we discovered
    that they had been mailed out without signature.
    Has anybody experienced anything like this before?
    Apparently the positive pay reporting mattered more than the fact the two checks weren't signed.  Our one check signer is not the party who performs the positive pay upload.

    Kenneth Reidy
    Cornerstone General Contractors
    Bothell WA
    (425) 419-3216

  • 13.  RE: Only One Check Signer

    Posted 11-26-2019 10:01
    Many thanks to everyone who replied. Your responses have been a huge help!

    Jordan Devaty
    Bayou Electrical Services
    Houston TX