Checking account never balances

I download bank information from my checking account at least 3 or 4 times a week and reconcile the accounts when downloaded. Recently, each download and reconciliation results in a balance adjustment ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The resulting balance is way off what is shown in my bank's records. Aside from manually reconciling this year's transactions (I've got over 20 years of transactions on the account), How do I fix? What might be causing this?


  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Everything else being equal, my guess - and that's all it is - is that transactions are being changed or disappearing from that Account in Quicken.  If that's the situation you could be talking about old transactions from prior years so it may involve more than simply reconciling "this year's" transactions.  Are the adjustments all in one direction, like all resulting in an increase in the Account's balance?  How recent is "recently?" 
    In order to hone in on this and prove my guess right or wrong, grab your most recent bank statement before this issue cropped up, and see if you can reconcile the Quicken balance at the statement date to the statement itself.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    You probably won't like my response on this, but here is my take on this kind of problem.

    Reconciling is the process of bring your account on Quicken in agreement with the one at the financial institution.  The work isn't done until that is achieved.  Accepting a balance adjustment for the most part is saying "I give up I can't reconcile this account so I'm push the problem down the road and hope it will go away."

    Sometimes a person might get lucky that say there is a missing transaction or added one or change one, and the balance adjustment compensates for that, and if it was a one time event they can go on "balancing" (but not reconciling since in fact the accounts aren't in agreement). But if there is something in the process that is wrong, and isn't addressed in some way it will just keep happening over and over.

    Reconciling an account that doesn't balance is the process of comparing every transaction to make sure they agree. It isn't easy when they don't agree, but it is necessary to do it right.  Reconciling isn't "balancing" or just selecting Done with a dialog with pretty check marks.

    As for these questions that people that have a reconcile problem always ask:
    PAUL said:
    How do I fix? What might be causing this?
    The answer is that you you can can answer that by doing a proper reconcile (compare all transactions).  Once you find the transaction(s) that are added, missing, changed, then maybe based on that someone might be able to put out a theory of how that happened.  But before that no one can answer because we can't see all your records.
    This is my website:
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Perhaps this is just semantics and nothing more than starting at the other end of the stick, but I'd say a reconciliation is explaining the differences, if any, between your balance and the financial institution's balance.  Sometimes that might involve comparing every single transaction from the last know "good" reconciliation but generally it won't.
    Typically finding reconciling items doesn't involve comparing every single transaction, it comes down to finding transactions that are on the financial institution's statement that aren't included in the Quicken register, or transactions recorded in the Quicken register that aren't included on the financial institution's statement.  "Back in the day" these would usually be deposits in transit or outstanding check - and that can still happen if you enter your transactions manually and only download to confirm them - but fees charged by the bank that you didn't know about until you got your statement were another source of reconciling items.
    If you're not making manual entries but instead having the bank make transactions "for you" by downloading this information I'd expect that your balance and the banks balance would pretty much always be the same.  In that case you should be able to pull up your last bank statement before this problem cropped up and see that your number and the bank's number agrees.  If they don't agree or you can't easily reconcile between the two by reference to a transaction or two that's clearly a "timing difference", then you know something has changed some time in the past within Quicken.