Quicken Mac v3.5 Reconcile Troubleshooting

Quicken MarcusQuicken Marcus Employee ✭✭✭✭
Last Update on 11/22/2016

In Quicken for Mac 2016 v3.5 we made a big improvement to the reconcile feature that fundamentally changed the way the feature worked so that it was able to ensure balances and transactions were accurate.  The new design follows the exact same model that has been used in both Quicken 2007 and Quicken Windows for years.  The key advantage of the new model is that it now makes sure that both Quicken transactions and balances are reconciled against the bank.  This is done by calculating the starting balance from your Quicken data. 

This was not the case in the old model.  The key problem in the old model is that it used balances that you manually entered and didn’t cross check that these values matched the balances in Quicken.  In other words, when you finished reconciling, the old reconcile feature would tell you that everything worked even when the balances were completely off because it was only reconciling transactions and not balances. 

This was one of the top requested features from our customers who saw the benefits of the Quicken 2007 and Quicken Windows model.   These customers wanted the same reconcile accuracy as the other Quicken versions.

Unfortunately, a number of you have run into issues when trying to use the new reconcile feature and have thought there was a bug in the product.  In most situations, this is not the case but we did find a couple of issues that are outlined at the end of this article.  For most, the issue that they are uncovering is that the new reconcile feature is working as it should and is exposing errors in one's Quicken data.   I know its disconcerting seeing these issues appear now even after reconciling for many years thinking you were being diligent by checking your Quicken data every month.  Once you add an adjustment to fix the error, the new reconcile will help ensure that your data is up-to-date and is inline with your bank.

Let me walk through some examples to highlight how the old and new reconcile work which should help illustrate the issue you might be seeing and help to fix the problem.

Example 1: Quicken v3.4.x (The Old Reconcile)
In this example, I’d like to illustrate how the old reconcile could “succeed" but still fail to make sure your Quicken balance was correct.  For this hypothetical case, I have a bank statement that has the following information.

Starting Balance = $800
Ending Balance = $500
6 transactions @ $50 each = $300 

So the math looks like this:
$800 starting balance - $300 (6 transactions * $50) = $500 ending balance.

Now lets look at my checking account in Quicken.  In this example, my Quicken balance is completely off.  My bank balance says my ending balance should be $500 but Quicken is showing it as $50.  The problem is the 1/1/96 transaction.  I have a $500 transaction that really should have been $50.  This is really messing up my account and theoretically has been messing up my account for 20 years since it was entered in 1996. 

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Now lets use the old reconcile feature.  I’ll enter the starting and ending balance that I see on my statement.  The starting balance is $800 and the ending balance is $500.  Notice that I’m just entering the balances from my statement and that it really has no relationship to my Quicken balance.  The old reconcile then simply calculates the difference between these 2 numbers and comes up with a number.  In this case it’s $300.

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I match the transactions to my statement and all of these transactions add up to $300 which is the difference between $800 and $500 so the old reconcile believes everything is good and I don’t need an adjustment.  The problem is that this doesn’t match the actual account balance in my Quicken account.  Remember, Quicken thinks my balance is $50.  This means I’ve reconciled every month for the past 20 years and my balance has been off all of these years but the old reconcile doesn’t realize it.

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The old reconcile really only checked transactions.  It never checked balances.

Example 2: Quicken v3.5.x (The New Reconcile)
Now lets use the new reconcile feature in v3.5 using the exact same account.  The new reconcile calculates my starting balance by adding up all of the reconciled transactions in my account from the beginning of time.  This way it ensures that reconcile is using my actual Quicken data vs a manually entered number from a bank statement.  I’ll add the $500 ending balance and click Next to continue.

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After I’ve cleared all of the transactions there is still a $450 discrepancy.  This might feel wrong because I checked all of the transactions and they match my statement so why is there a discrepancy?  The reason is that I have a bad transaction from 1996 of $500 that has been throwing my account off by $450 for the past 20 years and I didn’t realize it until the new reconcile pointed it out to me. If I click Done, a $450 adjustment will be added bringing my Quicken balance inline with the bank meaning I won’t see these types of discrepancies again in reconcile.

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We believe that most of you who have reported bugs are actually just now finding errors in your account because of the new reconcile feature.  This doesn’t mean there isn’t a bug but after speaking with a number of customers directly and working through their issues, we haven’t found one yet. 

More Troubleshooting Ideas

What to do if your starting balance in the new reconcile doesn’t match your bank statement?

Don’t change the starting balance.  This is where people start running into problems.  The starting balance is calculated and accurately represents what Quicken thinks your balance should be.  If it’s off then there is probably a problem in your data.

A good way to better understand where this number comes from is to try the following:
  1. Go to your register.
  2. Turn on the Clr column by clicking on the Column button on the bottom toolbar.
  3. Select Clr.  You should now see the Clr column in your register.
  4. Click on the Clr header to sort the column so that all of your cleared transactions appear at the top. 
  5. Look at the running balance next to the last reconciled transaction.  This is where the starting balance comes from.  Quicken calculates the starting balance based on the sum of all of your reconciled transactions.  We do this to make sure your Quicken balance is inline with the bank.
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The simplest way to fix this type of account discrepancy is to let Reconcile add the adjustment and then everything should work perfectly after this. 

Some Issues That Customers Have Run Into

1) Manually Entered Transactions Could Cause Issues in Connected Accounts

For the longest time we weren’t able to find any issues in reconcile even though many of you were reporting issues.  We finally figured out a real bug.


This bug can occur for people that manually enter checks and then download and match those checks.  Lets say someone enters a check on 10/24 but the check doesn’t clear the bank until 11/2 after the end of the month.  The statement won’t include this transaction because it posted after the month ended and it also won’t appear in the reconcile screen since reconcile uses the posted date.  However, when one clicks reconcile, Quicken then includes this transaction and marks it as reconciled.  This is the bug.  We shouldn’t reconcile that transaction.  This will result in someone adding an adjustment but then the balance will continue to be off because this transaction was accidentally reconciled. 


Workaround: If you are running into this issue, the fix is to change the date of the transaction from the entered date to the posted date and then reconcile.  We have fixed the bug and it is currently in 4.3.0 and 4.3.1 because we added a feature to change the entered date to the posted date since this is the date it actually impacted your bank account.  In Quicken 2016, we've fixed this in version 3.5.4 which will ship on or near 11/30.


2) Pending Transaction Issue


We found one other issue that we don’t really have a way to fix.  Basically some credit cards are sending pending transactions down as normal transactions but their balances don’t include these pending transactions.  Quicken assumes all transactions are cleared so there is currently no way to differentiate between the two and to do the proper math.  For this situation, you should just be aware of this so you can work around it.



3) Opening Balance Adjustment Changes Based on New Transactions 

This is extremely rare but we have seen this issue on 2 occasions.  This is a bug but not one we know how to fix because we haven’t been able to reproduce the root cause.  What to do?
  1. Go to the very beginning of your account and look for a transaction called the Opening balance adjustment.  This is a transaction that Quicken adds when you first set up your connected account so that your Quicken balance matches your bank.  This is actually a calculated adjustment and if you manually enter a transactions that is earlier than your first downloaded transaction, the date and  amount for the Opening balance adjustment will change to keep your account in balance.  In some rare occasions, the date for the first downloaded transaction is lost which causes this transaction to always adjust any time a new transaction is added.  
  2. Take note of the Opening balance adjustment amount.
  3. If you go through reconcile and add an adjustment, check to see if the Opening balance adjustment amount changes.  If it does, then this means your account is in this weird state and reconcile won’t work.
  4. Delete the reconcile adjustment and the Opening balance adjustment to bring your account back to a pre-reconciled state.
  5. Add a new manual transaction for the same amount as the Opening balance adjustment.
The goal is to basically delete the transaction that is auto-adjusting and replacing it with a transaction that doesn’t change.  After you make these changes, reconcile your account again and everything should work out.
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