How to count down a cash register

Updated February 21, 2017

Regardless of the type of cash register you use in your business, you should always begin with a set amount of money in the cash drawer. That money allows you and your employees to make change easily at the start of every business day. Your starting amount should be based on the amount of business you do, and the type of change you will need to make for early customers. You can count down the cash drawer at the end of each shift, or at the end of the day.

Print out the statement from the day's earnings before closing out the cash register. This gives you an accurate statement to compare to the amount of money in the drawer.

Count off the preset amount from the drawer first, removing bills and change designated to begin the start of the day. A typical start-up amount ranges between £65 and £97. Set the start-up amount aside.

Create a list containing bill denominations so you can record the amounts as you count them off. At the top of the list, add in the start-up amount.

Count off big bills first and work your way down to smaller bills and change. Record each denomination as you count it off. For example: £32--$150, £13--$140, £6--$90, £3--45, 60p--76, 10p--$3.75, 0--$2.10, 0--$0.95, 0--$0.44.

Total the number of checks and credit card receipts, and subtract them from the total amount listed on the printout receipt from the register.

Add up the total bills and coins recorded on your list, excluding the start-up amount. Subtract the total bills and coins sum from the remaining number on the printout receipt. If the cash register is accurate, the amount will be zero. If the drawer does not have enough money, the difference will be a positive number. For example, the receipt printout for the day's business totals £636.0, and the total you subtracted after counting is only £561.8. This would leave you with a difference of £74.2, meaning your cash drawer is short that amount.


You can also round the numbers up to the nearest dollar to avoid working with small change.

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About the Author

Jennifer Hudock is an author, editor and freelancer from Pennsylvania. She has upcoming work appearing in two Library of the Living Dead Press anthologies and has been published in numerous print and online journals, including eMuse, Real TV Addict and Strange Horizons. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing from Bloomsburg University.