Budget Reports Do Not Add Up Correctly

I am using Windows version R25.18 and began using the budget tool for the first time. I have been a Quicken user since 1991 but never used the budget tools. After entering all the correct budget amounts I tried to generate a budget report showing income and expenses for Jan 1st through Feb 29th. I am using a "Custom Date", Budget Year "2020", and Interval of "Year" on the report. The problem is that the "Actual" totals shown do not add up correctly. The "Income" number for Actual is thousands too high but the "Budget" number is correct. The "Expense" number for Actual is also too high by thousands. The "Budget" numbers and "Difference" numbers are correct. I can't figure out where Quicken is getting the extra "Actual" amounts from. Under the Advanced Tab I am using the "Non-Zero actual/budgeted" setting which hides categories with zero actual amounts. Am I doing something wrong or is this a software bug?
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  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2020
    If you haven't already, I suggest you compare the accounts you have included in the budget view with the accounts you have included in the budget report:  In the budget view, select Budget Actions > Select accounts....  In the budget report, press Alt + C and select the Accounts tab.

    Note: The budget view may be set to include reminders whereas the report may not: select Budget Actions > View Options 
  • DGHartman
    DGHartman Member
    I tried what you suggested but I got the same results. You did however give me some ideas where to look. I created a transaction report and compared the transactions against the budget report. For some reason the budget report is counting transactions in one of the accounts but not displaying that transaction in the actual report. I was able to generate a correct report where all the numbers added up correctly by selecting "Exclude internal" in the advanced tab and deselecting the account where the offending transactions resided. The only problem is just a formatting issue where the only "transfer" transaction shows on the budget report as a line item with no header. I can live with this but I do not understand why the budget report counts transactions that do not show on the report. I would have uploaded a copy of the report to this blog to help make this clear but I don't see how to do that. This is my very first post here.
  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    DGHartman said:
    I tried what you suggested but I got the same results. You did however give me some ideas where to look. I created a transaction report and compared the transactions against the budget report. For some reason the budget report is counting transactions in one of the accounts but not displaying that transaction in the actual report. I was able to generate a correct report where all the numbers added up correctly by selecting "Exclude internal" in the advanced tab and deselecting the account where the offending transactions resided. The only problem is just a formatting issue where the only "transfer" transaction shows on the budget report as a line item with no header. I can live with this but I do not understand why the budget report counts transactions that do not show on the report. I would have uploaded a copy of the report to this blog to help make this clear but I don't see how to do that. This is my very first post here.
    If you haven't already, you may want to review: https://community.quicken.com/discussion/7867159/faq-how-do-i-post-a-screenshot-in-the-community-from-windows
  • DGHartman
    DGHartman Member
    I will try to upload the two images for reference...

    See attached...
  • Quicken_Tyka
    Quicken_Tyka Alumni mod
    edited September 2020
    Hello @DGHartman

    Thank you for taking the time to visit the Community to post this issue, and thank you for including screenshots.

    This is a known issue in the budget report when using "Non-Zero actual/budgeted" settings.

    May I ask that you please navigate to Help > Report a Problem and include "QWIN-16953" in the subject and check off "Sanitized Data File" and submit the report to contribute to the research and investigation of this issue?

    Thank you,

    CTP-562
    ~~~***~~~
  • DGHartman
    DGHartman Member
    Tyka...

    I sent the information to you today. Please ignore the first one I sent as I was using the wrong database. The second one is correct. Let me know if you need anything else.
  • Quicken_Tyka
    Quicken_Tyka Alumni mod
    edited September 2020
    Hello all,

    Thank you for your patience throughout this issue, I have received an update from our Development team.

    After reviewing the data files that have been submitted it has been determined that this issue is not a bug and is working as designed.

    When category selection is set to "Non-Zero actual/budgeted" then values differ based on the selection for Transfers setting. When transfers are included, many transactions are included that are not budgeted but have non-zero actual values.

    In summary, there is more than meets the eye of what is being included when "Non-Zero actual/budgeted"  is being used and which transfers are being considered in this number.

    If you do not find the information presented when "Non-Zero actual/budgeted" please consider running a budget report that either excludes transfer completely or includes only the budget categories.

    Thank you,
    -Quicken Tyka
    ~~~***~~~
  • Joe12
    Joe12 Member ✭✭
    I have the same issue. I created a full budget, including the budget for long term savings goals as a planned expense, (i assume these are internal transfers) and then external transfers... sending money to a different account.

    When I run the budget report with "include all" on the advanced tab, it captures the savings goals and external transfers, but somehow captures a lot of other items, making nothing add up, and income/expense are way overstated, but individual lines don't add up.

    When I then run the report with "exclude all" the totals add up right, but transfers are missed, therefore it shows a savings against the budget, which is not the case, as it missed the transfers.

    "exclude internal" misses savings goals AND the external transfer to the other account.

    I have spent countless hours on the phone with quicken support, and it was not help..

    How can I develop and track a budget if transfers are not counted right?

    The answer above of "In summary, there is more than meets the eye of what is being included when "Non-Zero actual/budgeted" is being used and which transferred are being considered in this number." isn't helpful...

    Completely open to suggestions... I either need to go back to excel, or have a total makeover of how I have done quicken for the last 20 years. Something has changed.
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2020
    The Advanced tab Transfer tool that's available to you when you customize a report is a fairly blunt instrument, including or excluding big chunks of transfers in your file.  But you can "fine tune" transfer behavior by what Accounts you include or exclude under the Accounts tab, and by what Accounts you include or exclude under the Categories tab.
    For example, in my own Budget Report I choose to exclude all the activity that goes on in our retirement Accounts.   I don't want the income and expenses that happens in those Accounts to show up as income or expense on the report so none of those Accounts are selected under the Accounts tab.   Accordingly, they don't "feed" information to the report.
    However I do want transfers out of selected retirement Accounts to our regular checking Account, (e.g., RMD withdraws from traditional IRAs), to show up as a form of "income".  Accordingly, those Accounts are included as "Categories"  under the Categories tab,
    Under the Advanced tab I've selected "Exclude self-transfers."  Everything else is controlled by what Accounts are included or excluded under the Accounts and Categories tab.
  • Joe12
    Joe12 Member ✭✭
    Thanks.
    I have tried multiple ways, including accounts, excluding accounts, including categories transfers, etc.

    There has to be an easier way to get the full picture.

    It seems quicken can only handle one account accurately.

    Quicken has all these features but they end up breaking other parts.

    What is the difference between a transfer and a self transfer?

    I also don't understand how an account and a category can be treated as the same.

    Thanks for the help.


    > @Tom Young said:
    > The Advanced tab Transfer tool that's available to you when you customize a report is a fairly blunt instrument, including or excluding big chunks of transfers in your file.  But you can "fine tune" transfer behavior by what Accounts you include or exclude under the Accounts tab, and by what Accounts you include or exclude under the Categories tab.For example, in my own Budget Report I choose to exclude all the activity that goes on in our retirement Accounts.   I don't want the income and expenses that happens in those Accounts to show up as income or expense on the report so none of those Accounts are selected under the Accounts tab.   Accordingly, they don't "feed" information to the report.
    > However I do want transfers out of selected retirement Accounts to our regular checking Account, (e.g., RMD withdraws from traditional IRAs), to show up as a form of "income".  Accordingly, those Accounts are included as "Categories"  under the Categories tab,Under the Advanced tab I've selected "Exclude self-transfers."  Everything else is controlled by what Accounts are included or excluded under the Accounts and Categories tab.
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    "It seems quicken can only handle one account accurately."
    I don't know what you are saying here.  I certainly can get it to work in the manner I described.  In my budget report I have two "income" lines arising from transfers out of two Accounts:
    Both Accounts are unchecked under the Accounts tab, both Accounts are checked under the Category tab.  Since the Accounts are unchecked under the Accounts tab their income and expenses don't affect the report.  Since the Accounts are checked under the Categories tab transfers out of those Accounts show up as a form of income "as if" they were Categories.
    Back when we were making contributions to various retirement Accounts our transfers from the checking Account and into the retirement Accounts showed up as a form of expense listed as "TO [Name of receiving Account]."
    "What is the difference between a transfer and a self transfer?"
    I believe a self transfer is an entry made into an Account where the offset to the entry is the same Account.  Quicken uses this technique when you set up a new Account and tell Quicken what the Account's opening balance is.
    "I also don't understand how an account and a category can be treated as the same."
    As explained above you can include transfers in an Income and Expense Report or Budget Report and have them show up in the Income or Expense section of the report "as if" they were Categories.
  • Joe12
    Joe12 Member ✭✭
    Thanks Tom.

    Maybe my issue is saving the existing report as a new version and modifying that version. Maybe I am missing a "tick box"
    I will create a report from scratch and do as you indicate. Hopefully this works!

    Do you have a recommendation for how to treat Savings Goals?.. i.e. I want to pay cash for a car in three years, so saving XX per month for that car. It needs to be a budget item, so go out and be "hidden" each month. Then when it comes, it is a planned expense... so do I plan the income from that three year savings in that month?

    I do this for multiple items... i.e. annual taxes, insurance renewal, christmas gifts, etc. I understand for annual expenses i could use "rollover" in the budget, but years ago, i set it up this way prior to rollover existing. Then one of the quicken upgrades shifted how savings goals are reported.

    Thanks.
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    If I dig down into customizing a report "Savings goals" are carried as asset Accounts within Quicken on both the Categories and Accounts tab so they work exactly as any other Account in Quicken might work.  Here's a test file report showing that:
    I've never really been a big fan of Savings Goals and have only set up one, that being a "minimum balance" amount for a checking Account, but I didn't include that transfer on any report.  But the example shows that from a reporting standpoint there's really nothing special about Savings Goals.
  • Joe12
    Joe12 Member ✭✭
    Thanks Tom.

    I think I have it functional now..
    I have concluded that changes in quicken over the years, and changes in my categories and tracking had totally goofed me up. I have it far too complex.

    I have spent several hours and did as you suggested, checking the accounts needed and the categories needed and it seems right.

    Aside from the errors i was making above, one of my big misunderstandings was how quicken handles budget reports advanced tab "non zero actual/Budgeted". I thought that this would report ANY transaction that was not zero AND any budgeted transaction.... After several test reports, I believe now it is Any non zero transaction in a budgeted category will get reported. Otherwise the line is hidden.

    I believe that the key is to make sure all budgeted categories area also reported categories in the budget report. but this is a line by line check to ensure that each is added in.

    Two questions.

    How will miscategorized expenses (expenses which are reported in a non budgeted category) be found? i.e. if I categorize something mistakenly into a old category that i have not budgeted for, it will be a hidden expense.

    What do you do with old historical budgets. Is there an archive? Are they just deleted? For reports, i move old reports into a folder in "my saved reports"

    Thanks for your great help.
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    "After several test reports, I believe now it is Any non zero transaction in a budgeted category will get reported. Otherwise the line is hidden."
    I'm at a disadvantage here as it's been a while since I used Quicken's budgeting function.  When I look at the explanation next to that selection I see:
    "Would not include categories which contains zero actual and zero budget." 
    So as far as your finding "mistakes" it seems like you'd include these old Categories in the budget as Categories, but not budget anything for these Categories.  If there was no entry in one of those Categories it simply wouldn't show up on a Budget report.  If there was an entry in one of those old Categories it would show up on the report with some dollars in the "Actual" column and with $0 in the "Budget" column.  That should be pretty easy to spot.
    Test and see if it actually works that way. 
    If it doesn't work, then I'd suggest a saved report only including the old Categories you don't want to use, run each time you run a budget report.  If you saw any dollars in the "Old Categories" report you'd know you made a mistake.
  • Joe12
    Joe12 Member ✭✭
    > @Tom Young said:
    "After several test reports, I believe now it is Any non zero transaction in a budgeted category will get reported. Otherwise the line is hidden."I'm at a disadvantage here as it's been a while since I used Quicken's budgeting function.  When I look at the explanation next to that selection I see: "Would not include categories which contains zero actual and zero budget." 

    So as far as your finding "mistakes" it seems like you'd include these old Categories in the budget as Categories, but not budget anything for these Categories.  If there was no entry in one of those Categories it simply wouldn't show up on a Budget report.  If there was an entry in one of those old Categories it would show up on the report with some dollars in the "Actual" column and with $0 in the "Budget" column.  That should be pretty easy to spot.Test and see if it actually works that way. 

    If it doesn't work, then I'd suggest a saved report only including the old Categories you don't want to use, run each time you run a budget report.  If you saw any dollars in the "Old Categories" report you'd know you made a mistake."

    Thanks.... Those are good ideas. I wish there was a quick/easy way to select those categories and remember what are included/not included.

    I have cleaned up/hidden a bunch of old/unused categories in budget and category lists. I think this makes them invisible in all views, but sometimes it seems not. I will spend some time doing as you suggested and see. Thanks for your support, and hopefully others find this helpful as well.
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