Quicken Mac isn't calculating proper balances for reconciliations [edited]

Scott Rose
Scott Rose Mac Beta Beta
MAJOR BUG WITH QUICKEN'S RECONCILE FUNCTION:

Starting with Quicken 5.17.2 (and continuing with Quicken 5.18.2), Quicken Mac is not longer calculating proper balances for our reconciliations. It's giving us the wrong "Difference" amount when **"Using Statement Balance"** because it's not adding up the math correctly.

This is continually happening, month after month, for all of our credit card accounts.

We can clearly do the math on our own, which Quicken is NOT doing correctly. We had to create our own Adjustment Balances, just to get Quicken to reconcile our accounts properly.

We only have 7 transactions in each account, so it's very easy to just look at the screen and do the math properly on our own, and see that we're doing the math properly but Quicken is not.

We have the proper "prior balance" and the proper "ending balance", but Quicken just isn't calculating it properly. Never had this problem before in 30 years of using Quicken.

Quicken is **LITERALLY** not doing the math properly. It's simply not adding & subtracting correctly.

The **ONLY TIME** Quicken does the math properly is if we choose to "use online balance" instead of "use statement balance", but we do not want to use online balance. We want to use statement balance. 

@Quicken_Tyka @Quicken_Natalie

Best Answer

  • smayer97
    smayer97 SuperUser, Mac Beta, Canada Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2020 Accepted Answer
    This is exactly the kind of scenario that would benefit from bringing back an old feature that is in QM2007 that would help isolate the root of this problem very quickly, due to any one of the following reasons (which can be due to user error or a bug in Quicken). These reasons include:
    •  changed Reconcile status
    •  changed amount
    •  transaction was deleted
    •  in the case of transfer transactions, the matching transfer-to transaction was changed or deleted in the other account register, or the transaction was re-categorized as no longer transfer but a categorized Income or Expense
    •  if you Sync to Mobile, the Sync process changed something or you made changes to an existing transaction on the web / phone app
    If you have not already done so, you can add your VOTE to Add ability to track/store Prior Reconciled Statements/periods

    First, click on the underlined link above to go there, then click the little grey triangle under the VOTE count at the top of page 1 in the blue banner, so your vote will count for THIS feature and increase its visibility to the developers by seeking to have the features you need or desire end up in the latest version (it may take a moment for your vote to register).
    (If the triangle is black, your vote has already been counted.)

    Your vote matters!
    Have Questions? Help Guide for Quicken for Mac
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    Add your VOTE to Quicken for Mac Product Ideas

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    (Canadian
    user since '92, STILL using QM2007)
«1

Answers

  • John_in_NC
    John_in_NC SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Could you please post redacted screenshots showing the erroneous math? It is very difficult to determine what is going on without seeing the issue. (I am not seeing other complaints of this, nor have I had any issues reconciling my accounts to statements.)

    The only thing that jumps out (and this is only a guess since I can't see the issue) is that you are signing the balance. In general, you don't, even for things like credit cards.

    Thanks!
  • UKR
    UKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    From what I've heard, there's a chance that Quicken is treating the Opening Balance transaction in your account register as a "Placeholder", recalculating it every time you add transactions ... which doesn't do the Reconcile process any good. Please make sure that this transaction shows the correct balance for the day. If necessary, record a correct transaction and delete the one you have in the register.
  • Scott Rose
    Scott Rose Mac Beta Beta
    edited November 2020
    UKR said:
    Please make sure that this transaction shows the correct balance for the day. If necessary, record a correct transaction and delete the one you have in the register.
    Thanks, @UKR. My opening balance is from many years ago, but it looks fine. It's just a $0.00 transaction. Here is the screenshot of my opening balance transaction:



    Could you please post redacted screenshots showing the erroneous math? It is very difficult to determine what is going on without seeing the issue. (I am not seeing other complaints of this, nor have I had any issues reconciling my accounts to statements.)

    The only thing that jumps out (and this is only a guess since I can't see the issue) is that you are signing the balance. In general, you don't, even for things like credit cards.

    Thanks!
    Thanks, @John_in_NC !

    I keep forgetting to take a screenshot when this happens, and it's been going on for several months now. It only happens with ONE of my credit card accounts, which is odd. Next month when my credit card statement arrives, I will take a screenshot and post here.

    What do you mean by "signing the balance"? I'm not sure I understand that terminology.

    Thanks,
    Scott 
  • John_in_NC
    John_in_NC SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Hi, Scott. 

    When I refereed to "signing the balance" was adding a negative sign before the amount. Quicken uses a + balance (no sign) for CC accounts, and that is what you enter for the current balance.

    Some users (understandably, and perhaps from their statements) consider the amount owed as negative, so they mark it as such. That throws off the calculations. CC balances are supposed to be entered as positive numbers.

    UKR is correct in that the opening balance is a placeholder, but I don't suspect that is the issue here. That adjustment in cash and credit accounts will only update when transactions within the initial date range are modified/added/deleted. Anything newer/updates of account balance won't affect it. This is a bit different than investment accounts where the current amount downloaded can modify/generate a placeholder.
  • Scott Rose
    Scott Rose Mac Beta Beta
    Does anyone know how I can alert Quicken to this problem?

    Here I am again, one month later, and yet again, Quicken Mac refuses to reconcile my exact same credit card statement again. Quicken keeps forcing me to add a "reconcile adjustment" transaction every single month for multiple months in a row now, even though absolutely no reconciliation is necessary.

    Quicken is refusing to do basic math properly, and it's getting extremely tedious for me to continually fight with Quicken Mac every single month.

    As you can see from the screenshots below, there are 2 different ways for me to enter my "statement balance information". I can either use the "starting balance" that Quicken Mac forced me to use as my ending balance from last month (when it was incorrect last month), or I can use the "starting balance" that is on my bank statement.

    Get this:

    NO MATTER WHICH STARTING BALANCE I TYPE IN, QUICKEN MAC TELLS ME THAT MY RECONCILIATION HAS A DIFFERENCE OF THE EXACT SAME AMOUNT.

    LOL. I'm serious. No matter what starting balance I type in, Quicken Mac insists that my reconciliation is off by the exact same amount.

    This is, of course, mathematically impossible. Yet here I am.

    The only way that Quicken Mac will allow to me to reconcile this statement is by adding yet another "reconcile adjustment" to my register again. And then next month, the same exact situation will happen yet again.



    @Quicken_Tyka


  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @Scott Rose I'm trying to follow along. You said in your initial post that "we only have 7 transactions in each account", but then you said your accounts are from years ago, so I assume you mean that you had only 7 transaction in that month, right?

    The problem is not with the current months; it's somewhere in the past. Quicken presents its reconciliation starting balance by totaling up all the debits and credits in your account since the beginning of time. And you're saying that the prior balance it shows is wrong, correct? And if you type in a different starting balance, Quicken quickly computes an adjustment. That's all consistent and not at all "mathematically impossible"; it makes sense that "no matter what starting balance I type in, Quicken Mac insists that my reconciliation is off by the exact same amount." Because Quicken doesn't simply accept any number you want as your starting balance; it needs to arrive at that same solution mathematically, either by using its computed prior balance or by creating an adjustment to whatever starting balance you enter. So there has to be something in your past transaction history that's causing this.

    Quick check: if you set the third filter in your register to Uncleared, does is show just the transactions from this month (e.g. no old transactions)?

    Another check: Select All to highlight the entire list of transactions in you account. Then Command-click the transactions from this month, leaving just the prior transaction history. Export the register transactions to a .csv file, and open it in Excel or Numbers. sum the Amount column, or Payment and Deposit columns. Is this total the starting balance Quicken is presenting you when you reconcile or the one you're typing in from your bank statement? If the former, then Quicken is working correctly, but there's a problem somewhere in your data.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Scott Rose
    Scott Rose Mac Beta Beta
    edited November 2020
    Thanks so much, @jacobs! :)

    I was able to temporarily solve this problem for now by using your CSV tip & then applying some deductive logic (see below), but I want to answer all of your questions (and I'm still concerned that this problem will crop up yet again next month):
    jacobs said:
    @Scott Rose I'm trying to follow along. You said in your initial post that "we only have 7 transactions in each account", but then you said your accounts are from years ago, so I assume you mean that you had only 7 transaction in that month, right?
    Yes, 7 transactions for that particular month.
    The problem is not with the current months; it's somewhere in the past. Quicken presents its reconciliation starting balance by totaling up all the debits and credits in your account since the beginning of time. And you're saying that the prior balance it shows is wrong, correct?
    Yes, the prior balance is wrong. And then, every single month, Quicken Mac requires me to accept its arbitrary "reconcile adjustment" amount to make the reconcile think that there is a $0.00 difference.

    Once I do that, shouldn't there technically be no "past" anymore, because Quicken should have caught me up to today?? I'm accepting whatever Quicken Mac wants me to do, just to make all the problems go away — but then the same problem comes up the following month.

    This is actually only happening with one credit card account now. All my other ones are currently operating normally. But it keeps happening with this same credit card account every month.

    I have about 8 different accounts in Quicken Mac — checking, savings, credit card, investment — and I reconcile them all perfectly every month. But Quicken Mac refuses to reconcile this one credit card account.
    And if you type in a different starting balance, Quicken quickly computes an adjustment. That's all consistent and not at all "mathematically impossible"; it makes sense that "no matter what starting balance I type in, Quicken Mac insists that my reconciliation is off by the exact same amount." Because Quicken doesn't simply accept any number you want as your starting balance; it needs to arrive at that same solution mathematically, either by using its computed prior balance or by creating an adjustment to whatever starting balance you enter. So there has to be something in your past transaction history that's causing this.
    I keep accepting its "reconcile adjustment" transaction month after month to get my difference to $0. At that point, shouldn't Quicken be fine from that point forward, since it knows that my "statement ending balance" from this month should be next month's "starting / prior balance"?
    Quick check: if you set the third filter in your register to Uncleared, does is show just the transactions from this month (e.g. no old transactions)?
    That is correct. When I set the 3rd filter in my register to Uncleared, zero old transactions show up.
    Another check: Select All to highlight the entire list of transactions in you account. Then Command-click the transactions from this month, leaving just the prior transaction history. Export the register transactions to a .csv file, and open it in Excel or Numbers. sum the Amount column, or Payment and Deposit columns. Is this total the starting balance Quicken is presenting you when you reconcile or the one you're typing in from your bank statement? If the former, then Quicken is working correctly, but there's a problem somewhere in your data.
    Thanks for this tip!

    I just tried this and when I summed up everything in the Amount column, I got the same (incorrect) starting balance as Quicken. For this month, I got $382.62, when it should have been $345.34.

    So I just manually added my own fake "reconcile adjustment" transaction into my register for $37.28 (the difference between those 2 numbers above) and I marked it as "reconciled".

    Then, I tried to reconcile my account again, and this time it DID give me the PROPER starting balance of $345.34.

    It actually gave me $345.34 as the starting balance, which is correct and matches my bank statement's balance! :) And now, it is showing me a difference of $0! :)

    So this seems to have solved the problem — at least for this month!

    So thank you for this tip, @jacobs!! :)

    But — I'm still concerned that this exact same problem is going to crop up AGAIN next month. Because this fake "reconcile adjustment" transaction that I just added manually into my register doesn't seem any different than all the other "reconcile adjustment" transactions that Quicken has typed into my register in the past.

    I've been doing "reconcile adjustments" every month in the past, but still the same problem keeps cropping up.

    Thanks again! :)
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Okay, so what you've proved is that Quicken is indeed doing the math correctly, and that there was a discrepancy in your data; there is not a bug in reconcile.

    That said, I'm not sure why accepting an adjustment wouldn't solve this, but certainly your own manual adjustment should. Is the amount it's been off each month the same, or is it a different value each time? And of course, we don't know where the discrepancy came from. Quicken mysteriously deleting or changing a transaction? A user error deleting or changing a transaction? I guess you'll just have to wait and see if the next reconcile works correctly.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Scott Rose
    Scott Rose Mac Beta Beta
    Thanks, @jacobs. I don't recall the dollar amount that it was off in previous months, but I will definitely let you know what happens next month. Yeah, it seems very odd to me that it keeps happening month after month, even after I've accepted the adjustments month after month. But I will fill you in next month on what happens! :) 
  • smayer97
    smayer97 SuperUser, Mac Beta, Canada Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2020 Accepted Answer
    This is exactly the kind of scenario that would benefit from bringing back an old feature that is in QM2007 that would help isolate the root of this problem very quickly, due to any one of the following reasons (which can be due to user error or a bug in Quicken). These reasons include:
    •  changed Reconcile status
    •  changed amount
    •  transaction was deleted
    •  in the case of transfer transactions, the matching transfer-to transaction was changed or deleted in the other account register, or the transaction was re-categorized as no longer transfer but a categorized Income or Expense
    •  if you Sync to Mobile, the Sync process changed something or you made changes to an existing transaction on the web / phone app
    If you have not already done so, you can add your VOTE to Add ability to track/store Prior Reconciled Statements/periods

    First, click on the underlined link above to go there, then click the little grey triangle under the VOTE count at the top of page 1 in the blue banner, so your vote will count for THIS feature and increase its visibility to the developers by seeking to have the features you need or desire end up in the latest version (it may take a moment for your vote to register).
    (If the triangle is black, your vote has already been counted.)

    Your vote matters!
    Have Questions? Help Guide for Quicken for Mac
    FAQs: Quicken Mac Quicken Windows Quicken Mobile
    Add your VOTE to Quicken for Mac Product Ideas

    Object to Quicken's business model, using up 25% of your screen? Add your vote here:
    Quicken should eliminate the LARGE Ad space when a subscription expires

    (Canadian
    user since '92, STILL using QM2007)
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    jacobs said:
    That said, I'm not sure why accepting an adjustment wouldn't solve this, but certainly your own manual adjustment should.
    It might seem like making an adjustment should correct the problem, and not happen again, but the problem with that assumption is that since you don't know what caused the reconcile to fail in the first place you aren't in a position to judge if it will happen again.

    This situation has come countless amount of times and as far as I have ever been able to determine the answer is always "Do a proper reconcile."

    Reconciling isn't typing the balance and selecting Done.
    Reconciling is making sure your transactions and the financial institutions are in agreement, and if they aren't finding out why.

    The very fact that you have put in a balance adjustment means that you didn't reconcile.  You gave up and never found the problem.  If one doesn't find the problem then there is no way to know if that problem might come back month after month.

    There are all kinds of reasons why a reconcile can fail.  From user error, to download problem, Quicken bug, to the very rare financial institution problem (I have only had this "maybe" be the case for a small transaction about 35 years ago in all the 56 years I have had accounts.  Even for some reason people always feel that they are checking to make sure the financial institution is right!).

    At a fundamental level it comes down to.
    1. Missing transaction(s).
    2. Transaction(s) that shouldn't be there.
    3. Transaction(s) with the wrong amount.
    4. Calculation error (in this case Quicken, which of course almost everyone that post a statement like "Why can't I reconcile?" believes is the case, but rarely is.  It does happen BTW. Or more precisely, Quicken Windows has been know to leave out transactions in certain very rare cases).
    There are various methods to shortcut finding such a problem, but in the end if if takes looking at every single transaction and adding them up in a calculator, that is what you do.  And you start with the very first month that you were off, because every month after that is going to build on it.

    Once you find the problem(s) then you can go to the stage of "what caused this?", but not before.

    Of course the two main sources are human, and Quicken.

    If you are entering transactions manually it is very easy to enter say $35.30 when it suppose to be $53.30, and humans have a terribly hard time to spot this because our brains will "fix the number".  It is of course also easy to add, delete and change transactions.  One of the SuperUsers posted a method to quickly find transposed numbers, but I didn't really have enough interest in it to record what it was.

    On the Quicken side of this if you are syncing to mobile it has the power to change any of your transactions, in anyway it sees fit.  And of course there can be any number of download issues, especially ones that are interactive like matching up reminders to downloaded transactions.

    There are a number of possibilities, but without know "what was changed" there isn't any possibility to find out "why was it changed".
    Signature:
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    This is my website: http://www.quicknperlwiz.com/
  • smayer97
    smayer97 SuperUser, Mac Beta, Canada Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    That is why if you are off by even $0.01 during reconciliation you might as well be off by $hundreds or $thousands, which you may very well be because the sum of errors could net out to $0.01.

    BTW, one way to spot transposed numbers is to sort the amounts in the Reconciliation screen by $Amount... which will quickly put the transposed number in context. Also having all Debits and Credits tallied separately (the latter is still lacking in "modern" QMac, but thankfully, the following ideas have finally been added to the PLANNED list:

    Have Questions? Help Guide for Quicken for Mac
    FAQs: Quicken Mac Quicken Windows Quicken Mobile
    Add your VOTE to Quicken for Mac Product Ideas

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    (Canadian
    user since '92, STILL using QM2007)
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @smayer97  We know the developers are working on adding the capability you're lobbying for to revisit past reconciliations. They told us they have been recording reconciliations since the 5.16 update this spring, and CEO Eric Dunn's fall message stated they "will soon release significant enhancements to Reconcile."

    @Chris_QPW  While I'm not disagreeing with your comments overall, I don't think I agree with the statement that "if one doesn't find the problem then there is no way to know if that problem might come back month after month." In Quicken Mac, the reconcile starting balance is very simply the sum of all the reconciled transactions in the account since the beginning of time. That summation should never change over time, unless there is something like a variable starting balance (ruled out here), or a Quicken or user error to delete or change a reconciled transaction. And while a program error is very slightly possible and a user error is somewhat more possible, it's pretty rare -- and it certainly wouldn't be likely to recur month after month.

    In this case, the sum of past debits and credits that add to the current month's starting balance was off by 30-some dollars. Entering a transaction to plug that gap should solve the problem -- and it shouldn't matter what the original cause of the discrepancy was, because once the past debits equal the credits, they should stay equal permanently. You're right, that didn't find the problem. But it may not be worth the user's time spending hours poring over bank statements from the beginning of the account to try to find the small discrepancy of a missing transaction(s) or a wrong amount(s). But once the current month is reconciled correctly, and there are no old transactions not cleared, how could the next reconciliation possibly be off (barring a new change to past data this month)?

    P.S. The quick trick for spotting a transposition error is that the discrepancy is evenly divisible by 9. So if you were supposed to have 123, but instead had 213, the difference is 90, which is divisible by 9. If you were supposed to have 9,641 but instead had 6,941, the difference is 2,700 -- divisible by 9.  If you were supposed to have 26.85 but instead had 28.65, the difference is 1.80 -- divisible by 9. In Scott's case here, his difference was $37.28, which is not evenly divisible by 9. So it wasn't a transposition error.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    jacobs said:
    @Chris_QPW  While I'm not disagreeing with your comments overall, I don't think I agree with the statement that "if one doesn't find the problem then there is no way to know if that problem might come back month after month." In Quicken Mac, the reconcile starting balance is very simply the sum of all ...
    Yes reconciling is a simple process mathematically, but that isn't the point.

    The point is that without knowing what the problem is, you don't know if it will repeat or not.  If a person makes a mistake, but doesn't know they are making a mistake, there isn't any thing stopping them from making that mistake over and over. It is the recognizing that you have made a mistake that changes your behavior.  And the goes for a program too.  If the problem is the Cloud Sync is changing things until you discover that is the cause and turn it off (or get the bug fixed) it will most likely continue to cause problems.

    This is troubleshooting 101.  A lot of people state "Fix XXX problem" without anyway for the developer to reproduce the problem.  Without knowing the exact cause of a problem, it is highly unlikely that you can fix it.  Finding the cause is always the first step.
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  • Scott Rose
    Scott Rose Mac Beta Beta
    edited November 2020
    @Chris_QPW Definitely not a user error. I have a 32-year history of successfully reconciling my 12 different accounts in Quicken Mac every single month, and I never modify/delete any transactions after they have been reconciled. The error seems to be on Quicken’s end.

    After a successful reconciliation (with or without a reconciliation adjustment transaction added), Quicken Mac should always start the next month’s starting balance with the successful ending balance from the previous month. But it was not doing that for me, for several months in a row. 

    The problem in Quicken seems to be that if I accept Quicken’s adjustment reconciliation transaction at the very end of the reconciliation process for this month, it doesn’t calculate the next month’s starting balance correctly for some reason.

    However, the manual steps that I took to fix this month’s reconcile problem (i.e. I manually created my own reconciliation adjustment transaction & marked it as “reconciled” **BEFORE** starting this month’s reconciliation process) seems to have worked. 

    I can tell that it worked, because I just pretended that it was next month by clicking on the “reconcile” button, and sure enough, Quicken has successfully entered the correct starting balance for next month.

    So hopefully (fingers crossed), this will work successfully when it’s time for next month’s reconcile.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    After a successful reconciliation (with or without a reconciliation adjustment transaction added), Quicken Mac should always start the next month’s starting balance with the successful ending balance from the previous month. 
    Actually, no. In fact, Quicken Mac used to work that way, and they changed it because it was causing users problems.

    Reconcile begins by totaling all past reconciled transactions as the starting balance. If all is well, it will be exactly where you left things when you last reconciled. If not, Quicken is telling you something is amiss in your data. A transaction was added, or deleted, or changed, or manually reconciled or unreconciled… That could be something Quicken messed up, or it could be something a user did. (No need to insist it couldn't have been you. Maybe it wasn't. But there are many times people insist they couldn't have done something they unknowingly did; happens all the time. ;) )

    In any case, the point is that if Quicken says your starting balance now isn't the same as your ending balance was previously, something has changed in your historical data. If you don't care what may have changed, you can enter an adjustment and move on; if you do care about what may have changed, Quicken is telling you you need to find the problem.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2020
    To me this is the the "telling statement":

    "The error seems to be on Quicken’s end."

    If I did the reconcile my answer of what is going on would be:

    "This x transactions on (date) was changed, (or deleted or added, ...)" or maybe "Quicken has added up these transactions wrong, see here", and then we could talk about if I did it or if Quicken did it.  And BTW this is where having really good backups can help.  Because if you have one backup before (and after) to each of your reconciles you can see "before and after".

    Without knowing what was changed, all you can do is throw "assumptions" at the cause.  And until the cause is pinned down, the problem will not be fixed.  Your statements up to now are like saying "Its broken fix it."  This is useless to the developers.  They need to pin down exactly what is causing the problem.  One person out thousands with a reconcile problem that doesn't even know "what changed" isn't anything to go on.

    And I will point out why Quicken totals everything not just from the last balance.
    You are reconciling the account, not the last statement.  If you were doing this with pen and paper you would be assured that the reconciles that passed up to this point haven't changed.  But unfortunately for a program that can't be guaranteed, at least the way Quicken works. There is nothing that stops you from changing any transaction in the past (or Quicken for that matter).

    I can have reconciled perfectly, but if I then turn around and change the opening balance my account isn't reconciled any more, and I could easy overdraft that account.  If all my reconciling is done to only what is in the last statement, I would never catch that problem.

    And just so you know I have no problem what's so ever saying that the problem might be with Quicken.  But as it stands now I can tell you as a developer with over 40 years of experience your "problem report" is useless, there isn't any way for them to find and fix the problem.  If it gets fixed it would either be pure chance that someone looking at the code notice something or because someone else gets them a better idea of what is causing this problem.
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  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    The problem in Quicken seems to be that if I accept Quicken’s adjustment reconciliation transaction at the very end of the reconciliation process for this month, it doesn’t calculate the next month’s starting balance correctly for some reason.

    However, the manual steps that I took to fix this month’s reconcile problem (i.e. I manually created my own reconciliation adjustment transaction & marked it as “reconciled” **BEFORE** starting this month’s reconciliation process) seems to have worked. 
    If you have a problem again, try accepting Quicken's adjustment -- and then after the reconciliation, look to see if that adjustment is actually a static transaction in your register. From what you describe, Quicken is suggesting an adjustment, but I wonder if that adjustment transaction might not be getting recorded and reconciled somehow. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Scott Rose
    Scott Rose Mac Beta Beta
    edited November 2020
    jacobs said:
    After a successful reconciliation (with or without a reconciliation adjustment transaction added), Quicken Mac should always start the next month’s starting balance with the successful ending balance from the previous month. 
    Actually, no. In fact, Quicken Mac used to work that way, and they changed it because it was causing users problems.

    Reconcile begins by totaling all past reconciled transactions as the starting balance.
    This is so good to know, and you enlightened me to this the other day. And now I'm really starting to understand this. So — if Quicken is adding & subtracting the entire account correctly — then A PREVIOUSLY-RECONCILED TRANSACTION changed in some way since the last reconciliation.

    jacobs said:
    If all is well, it will be exactly where you left things when you last reconciled. If not, Quicken is telling you something is amiss in your data. A transaction was added, or deleted, or changed, or manually reconciled or unreconciled… That could be something Quicken messed up, or it could be something a user did. 

    In any case, the point is that if Quicken says your starting balance now isn't the same as your ending balance was previously, something has changed in your historical data.
    This is what concerns me. Since I have never gone back to edit a previously-reconciled transaction, I have NO IDEA how a previously-reconciled transaction is getting added/edited/deleted.

    Now that I am starting to understand this new way of reconciliation takes place in the new Quicken Mac, I'm understanding that SOMETHING changed since the last reconciliation. And that SOMETHING was a previously-reconciled transaction.

    So it scares me that that is happening month after month, because I don't know how it's happening. 
    From what you describe, Quicken is suggesting an adjustment, but I wonder if that adjustment transaction might not be getting recorded and reconciled somehow.

    Hmmm... it's possible, but it looks like all my previous adjustment transactions are still there. I'll keep an eye out for this in the future.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Scott, yup, I think you've got it now. :)

    And I'll agree that it seems unlikely that after you successfully reconcile, including entering an adjustment, that the next month you'd be off again. User error or Quicken error, in small amounts, month after month, just seems unlikely. I think we've already been down this road, but you ruled out a variable/live opening balance entry, and there are no placeholder transactions anywhere in your register for this account, right? Those are the only legitimate transactions which could cause funny amount changes month to month.

    So keep an eye on it until your next monthly statement, and then report back whether it just works or if you're off again.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Scott Rose
    Scott Rose Mac Beta Beta
    edited November 2020
    Thanks, @jacobs! :)

    Ha, I actually don't know what those 2 things are! 

    I don't know what a "variable/live" opening balance entry is. My opening balance entry is set to $0.00 (see screenshot below).



    And I don't know what a placeholder transaction is. Are those my scheduled bills & income? I do have scheduled bills & income, but those are all in the future, not the past.

    Thanks! I'm very nervous about what's going to happen next month!  :#

    I DO download transactions from my bank into this account (and all of my accounts) on a daily basis by choosing the "Update All Online Accounts" menu command (or by clicking on the "Update All Online Accounts" button), so I wonder if something weird is happening during the download process from time-to-time.
  • smayer97
    smayer97 SuperUser, Mac Beta, Canada Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    And if you have not done so already, don't forget to vote on the idea above at https://community.quicken.com/discussion/comment/20132209/#Comment_20132209

    This would have been solved by now.


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    (Canadian
    user since '92, STILL using QM2007)
  • Scott Rose
    Scott Rose Mac Beta Beta
    Yes, thank you! I upvoted it the other day! And yes, this likely would have been solved by now if we had that old feature back.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    edited November 2020
    Scott,

    Live Opening Balance is a relatively new addition to Quicken Mac. When you create an account, it gives you two options for an opening balance on this screen:


    So in this case, if I enter an account with an opening balance of $100 as of yesterday, then when I enter  payment today, the balance changes as you'd expect:


    Notice that the opening balance transaction is in gray. Now watch if I realize I had a prior expense:


    When I enter an entry prior to the Live Opening Balance, Quicken changes the opening balance by that amount, to keep the balance as of the opening balance day constant. So here, I entered a $20 check prior to the opening balance transaction, and it adjusted the opening balance to be $120 so that the running balance in the account remained $100 on that day, and $50 today.

    If that opening balance had been a static, unchanging amount, my account would instead look like this after I entered the transaction prior to the opening date:



    I guess the Quicken folks found people routinely wanted to go back to enter earlier transactions in their history, and in so doing, messed up their account balances, so they created the "live opening balance" to make it possible to add any number of older transactions without affecting your balance from the date of the opening balance transaction forward. 

    Hope that makes sense. But it doesn't appear to apply to you, since your opening entry isn't in gray.

    And gray is what you want to look for to see if somehow there's aPlaceholder transaction" anywhere in your account. This would be unusual -- and I'm not even sure if it's possible -- in a credit card account; placeholders are typically for investment accounts, where the cost basis for certain holdings aren't initially known because the transaction(s) to create the number of shares matching what the financial institution says are in the account are missing. You can read Quicken's note about it here, and a clearer explanation by a fellow user here. So I think it's highly unlikely this is your culprit, I'd suggest taking a slow scroll through your accounts to see if you see any transactions in gray (like the opening balance once above).

    In theory, downloads shouldn't be able to change past transactions, but there are scattered reports on the forum of people saying that past transactions have been combined, matched to current amounts, or other oddities. So it's possible there is some bug in Quicken -- but the culprit would have nothing to do with reconcile; reconcile would only be alerting you that something in the past changed. you might want to take a few screen shots of you most recent month or two of transactions in this account. If there is something funky going on due to the downloads, you might not catch the exact transaction, but you'd see that the balance changes in the past -- and then the hunt would begin to try to find out what transaction changed in amount or disappeared.

    This is where having a good folder of backups -- beyond the 5 or 10 you might have Quicken's automatic backup maintaining -- can lead to answers. Make a manual backup after you complete a reconciliation, and hold it until the next one. If the past has changed, then some detective work switching back and forth between the files (a second computer, if you have one available, makes this much easier to view side-by-side) will lead you to what changed in the past. Which would be a Quicken bug. And where that would lead… well, cross that bridge if you come to it!
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2020
    Now that I am starting to understand this new way of reconciliation takes place in the new Quicken Mac, I'm understanding that SOMETHING changed since the last reconciliation. And that SOMETHING was a previously-reconciled transaction.

    So it scares me that that is happening month after month, because I don't know how it's happening. 
    And rightly so!

    I don't know about the Mac side, but there have been reports for years on the Windows side of catching the "sync to Mobile/Web" changing past transactions.  That is the reason you wouldn't find any Windows SuperUser endorsing it use (or using it themselves)

    And I might add the "Quicken Connect" is also a "sync to cloud" operation.

    Over in Windows land Express Web Connect has been using an older one way downloading connection that they call FDS.  Basically like this:
    Quicken -> Intuit server -> Financial institution
    EDIT
    For transaction flow
    Financial institution -> Intuit server -> Quicken

    And recently they started switching to QCS (Quicken Connection Service), which Quicken Mac has been using for years now.
    Quicken  -> QCS -> Intuit server -> Financial institution
    Edit for transaction flow
    Financial institution -> Intuit server -> QCS <-> Quicken
    (QCS to Quicken is a two way flow)

    QCS is the same "syncing" system that syncing like sync to Mobile/Web (cloud account), and it is "powerful".  As in unlike with the old system where all it could do is download transactions, QCS can give instructions to do all kinds of things like set the reconcile state of transactions, delete transactions, add transactions, change transactions, ...  All the things that are needed to support making those kinds of changed on the Mobile or Web apps.

    And the result?
    Well for some people (including me) it deleted their accounts Express Web Connect accounts!

    And at the same time for people using Mobile/Web sync there are reports of deleted accounts, changed reconcile states, changed transactions, ...

    And you got love the "fixes" suggested.  Restore from backup for things in the Quicken data file, and "reset cloud data" which wipes out the cloud account data and replaces it with another copy from the Quicken data file.

    From what I can tell from the problems reported in this forum the Mac side is lot better off than the Windows side, but certainly if if can happen on the Windows side it is possible for it to happen on the Mac side too given the right "bug".

    Signature:
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  • John_M
    John_M Member ✭✭✭✭
    Once I figured out how live balances worked, I changed all of my opening balances to static. I think "Recommended" is a misnomer here.

    Also, I totally agree with Chris_QPW – I stay away from "sync to Mobile/Web" for the very reasons stated. My Quicken file has been very stable, so I don't want to introduce variables that might cause it to have errors.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    The "live balances" is an "interesting" feature.  The Windows side doesn't have it.  I can see the point where for instance a person sets up an account and get only 90 days and then uses a QFX file to back fill the transactions.  With the "live balances" it would automatically correct for this.  On the other hand this is very "seldom happens" situation after the account setup and I can see as many problems with it later as it solves for this one case.

    It sort seems better to just learn about what the opening balance is and be done with it.
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  • Scott Rose
    Scott Rose Mac Beta Beta
    edited November 2020
    Thanks so much for all the explanations, @jacobs and @Chris_QPW! :)

    Oh, and @jacobs, thank you for clarifying that the problem wasn't happening DURING reconciliation, but that the problem happened IN BETWEEN the previous reconciliation and the current reconciliation — and that the problem was with one (or more) previously-reconciled transactions.

    I actually have thousands of Quicken backups that go back an entire year, because I have Quicken backing up my Quicken files into my Dropbox folder, and then Dropbox archives them for a year.

    So if this problem happens again next month, I'm going to whip out the backups to see what Quicken might have inadvertently changed during a download.

    As of right now, though, things are looking okay. I clicked on the "Reconcile" button today, and the "previous balance" is still intact. :) Fingers crossed!!

    Thanks again, guys! :)

  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    I thought I would point out something.  There is in fact no reason why you can't find the problem(s) at anytime.  And it also points to how if there was a problem how I would narrow it down.

    Quicken is doing a summation of all of your transactions with a running balance.  So say that you reconciled yesterday and it was fine.  And today it isn't.  You now know there is a problem, but it could anywhere in years of transactions!

    If I pick any of my statements I have a date and a balance on that date, that I know I reconciled to (if you reconcile to statement dates, use those).  So I can look in Quicken's account register on that date and see if the balance is right.  If it is then the problem has to be later in time.  If the balance isn't right, it has to be earlier in time.

    And with this I would employ a "binary search" (divide the problem in half).  You can choose to do a binary search over any period of time, and the nature of it means that you can quickly get to the problem.

    It works like this.  Say I have 20 years of transactions.  I pick a date 10 years back and check the balance to the statement and as above if it correct I know the first 10 years are fine.  If not I split that first 10 years and do it again.  If it is correct then I go to splitting the last 10 years.  And repeat.

    Notice how fast this can go 20, 10, 5, 2.5, 1.25, about 6 months, 3 months, ...
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  • Scott Rose
    Scott Rose Mac Beta Beta
    edited November 2020
    Thanks, @Chris_QPW! This is a fantastic way of narrowing down this problem!! Thank you for this excellent advice!!

    Until you posted this, I didn't even realize that it would be impossible to figure out where the problem exists within the transaction register, so your methodology is perfect for this!

    And it also requires keeping all of your old statements on-hand, which I also do! :)

    Thank you! :)