Opening balance process for Quicken for Windows 2017

Barry Goldenberg
Barry Goldenberg Member ✭✭
It seems this question has been asked but i am struggling to follow the threads. I am using Quicken 17 and started earlier this year. I am having an issue in that the Opening Deposit is showing up in my Cash Flow/IS report (i am on a cash basis). I don't see a selection for 'opening balance' or 'adjustment' as categories at this point, maybe i missed them at the beginning or more likely did it right and have since edited by mistake! If I just create an 'adjustment' category, will that keep it out of my report? THANKS for your assistance.

Comments

  • UKR
    UKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2018

    About the Opening Balance transaction in your
    register:

    Make sure that the
    "Opening Balance" transaction in your register

    - always is the oldest transaction by Date

    - its amount matches the bank statement balance shown on that day

    - the transaction is marked "R"(reconciled) in the "Clr"
    column

    - occurs only once in your register

    - uses the same account name, surrounded by [square brackets], as Category as
    the account it's in (e.g., Opening Balance transaction in your MyChecking
    account has Category = [MyChecking]) *

    - if you owe money in a credit card account, the Opening Balance transaction as
    shown in the register must be a negative amount, e.g., $-123.45

    If the Opening
    Balance isn't correct, your register balance on any given day will never match
    the bank's balance on the same date.

    * that's called a
    "transfer back into the same account" and is OK. Quicken uses this
    method to establish the Opening Balance without making it appear as an Income
    or Expense in any views or reports.



  • Barry Goldenberg
    Barry Goldenberg Member ✭✭
    edited November 2018
    Thanks for the response.  I understood everything up to the 'square brackets'.  Everything is as you say. Are you saying I should create a new category called [Name of the account I am in] and create a new category (expense?) that I must call [Name of the account I am in]??
  • NotACPA
    NotACPA SuperUser, Windows Beta Beta
    edited May 2020

    Thanks for the response.  I understood everything up to the 'square brackets'.  Everything is as you say. Are you saying I should create a new category called [Name of the account I am in] and create a new category (expense?) that I must call [Name of the account I am in]??

    Take a closer look at UKR's example.  The arrowhead points to the Category of the Opening Balance transaction ... and the Category name is the same as the Account name, except the category name is enclosed in [ ] I.E., square brackets.
    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription, Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
  • UKR
    UKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2020

    Thanks for the response.  I understood everything up to the 'square brackets'.  Everything is as you say. Are you saying I should create a new category called [Name of the account I am in] and create a new category (expense?) that I must call [Name of the account I am in]??

    No, you do not need to create a new category.
    Account names are used as pseudo-categories when performing transfers from one account to another in Quicken.
    If you pull up the Category List (from the Tools Menu) you will find that [account name] pseudo-categories already exist.
    Try it in a test transaction. When in the Category field of a transaction type a "[" and look at the popup category list. All your existing account names will show up.
  • volvogirl
    volvogirl SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2020

    Thanks for the response.  I understood everything up to the 'square brackets'.  Everything is as you say. Are you saying I should create a new category called [Name of the account I am in] and create a new category (expense?) that I must call [Name of the account I am in]??

    By using the the name of the same account you are in makes the transaction a Transfer back into that account.  So it is really a one sided entry and doesn't go anywhere.  Just into cyberspace.  It's a trick you can use for different things.  

    Like if you are in your checking account BofA Checking you enter a transaction with BofA Checking in the square brackets [BofA Checking].  
  • Unknown
    Unknown Member
    edited May 2020

    Thanks for the response.  I understood everything up to the 'square brackets'.  Everything is as you say. Are you saying I should create a new category called [Name of the account I am in] and create a new category (expense?) that I must call [Name of the account I am in]??

    The real reason this is confusing is because the developers reused the category field for multiple purposes.

    There are actually three kinds of transactions that need to be created.
    1. Transactions recorded to a category.
    2. Transfer transactions.
    3. Transactions where the money comes/goes from outside of Quicken.
    The developers certainly could have used a different field for categories and for the transfer account name.  This was actually done in Quicken Essentials for Mac and carries on in the Quicken Mac versions.

    The problem with this is twofold.  One is that in reality you should never use a category and a transfer account name at the same time, it is an either or kind of situation.  And the other is just the "wasted space" of a separate field.  By having two fields you either have to deal with preventing the user from using both, or deal with the fact that the user might categorize a transfer and as such you might get "double counting" in reports.  Quicken Mac has that exact problem (preventing double counting, since they don't block the user from using both fields).

    So the developers reused the category field with the special syntax of [Account] to mean a transfer.  You don't create such a category, because it isn't a category.  It is an account.

    This has also caused confusion for the option the "hide in lists" options.  You have these accounts showing up in your category lists.  So should the category list hide option hide these accounts?  Or should the account list hide option hide them?

    Unfortunately the current answer neither work.  And that has to be because of the ambiguity of this use.  Even the developers can decide if these are accounts or categories.

    On #3 from above.  No matter how we try to rationalize it a transfer from account A to account A, makes no sense at all.  And that isn't even when this means.

    Again what the developers did is decide that they were going to use this "illegal" combination as a special syntax for something different.

    Whenever you deal with finances sooner or later there is going to be amounts that "come/go" outside of Quicken.  Or stated a different way, there are going to be amounts that need to affect the balance of an account, without affecting the balance of another account or category.

    So that is what the third syntax is being used for if you are in account A and use [A] for the category you are changing the balance of that account without affecting any other account or category. This is used for opening balances, balance adjustments, or basically any time you want money to "vanish" or "appear" in Quicken "from outside".
  • NotACPA
    NotACPA SuperUser, Windows Beta Beta
    edited May 2020

    Thanks for the response.  I understood everything up to the 'square brackets'.  Everything is as you say. Are you saying I should create a new category called [Name of the account I am in] and create a new category (expense?) that I must call [Name of the account I am in]??

    The alternative to that "Opening Balance" special syntax is to go back to the beginning of time, for that account, and re-create EVERY transaction that led up to that Opening Balance.

    I think that some sort of shortcut, I.E., the square brackets, is necessary for virtually all of us.
    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription, Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
  • Barry Goldenberg
    Barry Goldenberg Member ✭✭
    edited May 2020

    Thanks for the response.  I understood everything up to the 'square brackets'.  Everything is as you say. Are you saying I should create a new category called [Name of the account I am in] and create a new category (expense?) that I must call [Name of the account I am in]??

    Thanks UKR SuperUser, the follow up was perfect and all is well here! 

    Regarding all of the other comments, you have all given me a lot to think about in terms of how I set other things up around my main checking account.  I do have some other Savings and Checking accounts that I sometimes transfer money in and out of and have been using a category I call 'Flow Through Savings' instead of creating an account for each one.  Any debit balance in this account is what I have added from savings to checking account during the year and any credit balance is what I have saved (or do i have that backwards!).  Does this make sense to anyone interested in responding or do you recommend i create separate accounts for each account i may be moving money into or from?

    And, I created accounts for all credit cards but I mostly just use two so separated out the others, along with the 'flow through savings' account.  Took me a while to realize that the transactions on these cards were not flowing through the report function but found that you can add separate accounts entirely or individually so seems to be working fine.  Any advice appreciated.  Thank you everyone for your responses and insight.  My guess is that I am totally underutilizing the software and need to figure out how to learn more!
  • UKR
    UKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2018
    To learn more about Quicken ...

    Please read this for
    more information, some videos and a list of resources to help familiarize
    yourself with Quicken:

    https://www.quicken.com/quicken-tips

    https://www.quicken.com/complete-guide-getting-started-quicken-2018-windows

     

    Help! (Quicken for Windows)

    If you're unsure on
    how to do something, you can find more information about a specific task,
    function, feature or report in Quicken Help.

    To access Quicken Help simply press the F1 key from anywhere in Quicken (or
    click Help in the Menu bar, then click Quicken Help).

    Use the Contents tab to see the available books in Quicken Help. Click on one
    of the books to open it. Click on a chapter to drill down to more
    details.

    Or use the Search tab to search using keywords, e.g., "buy
    security".

    Some Quicken view screens may have a blue (or yellow) button with a question
    mark. Click it to get view - specific help.


  • volvogirl
    volvogirl SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2020

    Thanks for the response.  I understood everything up to the 'square brackets'.  Everything is as you say. Are you saying I should create a new category called [Name of the account I am in] and create a new category (expense?) that I must call [Name of the account I am in]??

    Oh man, that sounds confusing.  I don't think you understand what to do. 

    What do you mean you use a category instead of creating an account for each one? You did not set up separate ACCOUNTS for each checking, savings, credit card, etc?  You make a transfer from Checking to Savings directly without going though any other account or category.  Like to transfer from checking to savings you make an entry in the checking account and put the savings account in the square brackets [savings] in the category field.  You don't use an actual income or expenses category.  

    About Credit Cards:
    Just in case you are entering your credit card bills  the wrong way.....
    The proper way is to set up a credit card ACCOUNT and enter the charges into it when the purchase is made and assigning it to a category. Then when you pay the bill you TRANSFER the payment from your checking account to the credit card account (not a category).   Then if or when you download the payment from the bank you match it to the one you already entered.

    When you enter the payment in your checking account you put the credit card account name in for the category using square brackets around the name to indicate it is a transfer...like this... [credit card] or newer Mac versions have a separate Transfer column.

    I used to do it the wrong way for years!  Then I wised up and now enter them properly. I would split my credit card payment into all the categories on one transaction in my checking account. And since I always pay more than the bill I would need to figure the difference and put it to another category.  But then I needed to have them entered on the date the charges actually happened. So I finally set up a credit card account. It makes it much easier to enter and balance!




  • Barry Goldenberg
    Barry Goldenberg Member ✭✭
    edited May 2020

    Thanks for the response.  I understood everything up to the 'square brackets'.  Everything is as you say. Are you saying I should create a new category called [Name of the account I am in] and create a new category (expense?) that I must call [Name of the account I am in]??

    Thanks for your questions/comments.  Regarding your 1st paragraph, I meant one account called Flow Through Savings that all transfers in and out of go through as I have many bank accounts I use for savings and i don't care which ones have how much in Quicken so thought easier to lump all together.  I misused the 'category' term.

    Regarding paragraph #2.  I have many CC accounts set up but I do not manually enter CC transactions and then match them as part of the download as you suggest as this seems to be added work.  I just download the transactions and review them and categorize them and look for any issues at that time just as I would when i used to review my credit card hard copy bill before i paid it.    Then the CC payment is one line item in the bank account with the categorization for each payment taking place in the CC account so no split CC transactions in the bank account.  Sounds like at least i got that right!

    Thanks for your help.
  • mshiggins
    mshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2018
    The opening balance transaction is classed as an internal transfer. You can exclude from reports using the Advanced tab in the report customization window. In the transfers drop down, select exclude internal transfers.
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
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