Why did I need to enter a balance adjustment?

I download/reconcile my checking account almost daily. I don't like surprises when it comes to my money. While there have been a few times in the past the download process wanted me to perform a balance adjustment, each time I could see it was a timing issue, in that the adjustment amount matched a transaction in my ledger that the bank wasn't showing as cleared yet, and the transaction had disappeared from the "pending transaction" list on the bank's web site. No problem...I click "finish later" in Quicken, then wait till the next day and download again, and everything reconciles perfectly.

However, Friday morning (yesterday, December 18), I downloaded from my bank and Quicken wanted me to adjust the balance by 524.22. There are no transactions anywhere near that amount in my ledger, nor is one for this amount showing up on my bank's web site. I clicked "finish later" and today around noon downloaded again. Same message, same amount. I accepted it, and Quicken just reduced my ledger amount by 524.22...however, my ending balance still looks right. It was just under 1,000 two days ago, and is still just under 1,000 today, after this adjustment.

What would cause this to happen?
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Best Answer

  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    Hi @michaelrhodes1954

    It is extremely difficult to determine the cause of what you are experiencing based on what you've said.  You would have to provide a lot more information and even that might not solve things completely.  But I have a couple of thoughts...

    Since you didn't recognize the $524.22 - the amount that the account was out of balance by - it is likely that there were two or more transactions (checks, withdrawals, online payments, banking fees, other electronic items, or similar transactions) that add up to the $524.22 amount.  In addition, it is even possible that there could deposit type transactions in the mix too. 

    Additionally, the fact that the new balance (after you accepted the $524.22 amount in the Quicken register) seems close to what the account balance "should be", that implies that perhaps you did miss recording a transaction (or transactions) that together totaled that amount.

    But the only way to actually know the "cause" is to dig in and compare the transactions on a paper bank statement (or online screen) with the transactions in Quicken - one by one.  Obviously, I am talking about reconciling the account - which you can do in Quicken, or outside of Quicken.

    I hope the I've shed some light on your question.  If you have any followups please feel free to post again.

    Frankx


                           Quicken H&B-Subscription - Windows 10 Home - Ver. 2004
                                             - - - - Quicken User since 1984 - - - 
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Answers

  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    Hi @michaelrhodes1954

    It is extremely difficult to determine the cause of what you are experiencing based on what you've said.  You would have to provide a lot more information and even that might not solve things completely.  But I have a couple of thoughts...

    Since you didn't recognize the $524.22 - the amount that the account was out of balance by - it is likely that there were two or more transactions (checks, withdrawals, online payments, banking fees, other electronic items, or similar transactions) that add up to the $524.22 amount.  In addition, it is even possible that there could deposit type transactions in the mix too. 

    Additionally, the fact that the new balance (after you accepted the $524.22 amount in the Quicken register) seems close to what the account balance "should be", that implies that perhaps you did miss recording a transaction (or transactions) that together totaled that amount.

    But the only way to actually know the "cause" is to dig in and compare the transactions on a paper bank statement (or online screen) with the transactions in Quicken - one by one.  Obviously, I am talking about reconciling the account - which you can do in Quicken, or outside of Quicken.

    I hope the I've shed some light on your question.  If you have any followups please feel free to post again.

    Frankx


                           Quicken H&B-Subscription - Windows 10 Home - Ver. 2004
                                             - - - - Quicken User since 1984 - - - 
      -  If you find this reply helpful, please click "Helpful" (below), so others will know! Thank you.  -
  • michaelrhodes1954
    michaelrhodes1954 Member ✭✭
    edited December 2020
    I may have found the answer to my question, although I'm unsure why this happened. Today I was paying bills, and entered a transaction in my checking account to show I was making a payment to a credit card. Once I hit enter, I switched over to that credit card account and noticed that the prior three months' payments did not have a category (which should be [Checking Account]. I know they were there before, as this covers a four month period, this "balance adjustment" issue only happened last week, and I download/reconcile all accounts multiple times weekly. Additionally, these transactions simply disappeared from the checking account ledger. So, this means those already-reconciled transactions simply erased themselves from the checking account ledger and simultaneously lost the connecting category in the credit card ledger...possibly during an update? At any rate, I added the amounts from those three entries and it almost matches the balance adjustment. I'm on the hunt now for any other "blank" categories that would make up the balance of the adjustment so I can fix these.

    Any ideas why this happened?
  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2020
    Hi again @michaelrhodes1954

    What you are describing is not normal behavior for Quicken and I can only guess that it represents some type of fie corruption.  At this point, I would suggest that you first backup your current Quicken data file, and then troubleshoot your current data file - see this LINK.

    Let me knowhow that goes.

    Frankx


                           Quicken H&B-Subscription - Windows 10 Home - Ver. 2004
                                             - - - - Quicken User since 1984 - - - 
      -  If you find this reply helpful, please click "Helpful" (below), so others will know! Thank you.  -
  • I found all transactions that caused the issue...three from one credit card, three from another credit card. It appears all six transactions disappeared from the checking account, causing the entries to also disappear from the credit card "matching transfers." So, when I downloaded transactions using the One Step Update, they reappeared in the credit card accounts, with no category, but since they had already been reconciled in the checking account they never reappeared in that account. (The credit cards allow downloading from Quicken through the One Step Update, but my credit union requires I download from their web site, so the download methods differ). Once I linked the transactions again by recreating the transfers in the checking account and marking them as reconciled again, I was able to delete the balance adjustment and everything appears to be good again. Yes, I backed up before I did all this, just in case.

    I then followed the directions in your link to create a copy of my file and run validation on it. The only issues it found were some transactions with no category because, the process says, the transfers were to an account that no longer exists. I checked...every one of them was a payment to a gasoline card I no longer have, and it is very possible I may have deleted that account when I closed it, as it's no listed in my accounts list after ensuring I can see hidden accounts. This account was closed about 25 years ago, when I had only been using Quicken for a couple of years, so it's very possible I deleted the account before I knew what I was doing with the software. At any rate, I don't see that this is related to my recent issue, the file does not appear to be corrupted, and everything now balances and reconciles correctly.

    I will add this...about two weeks ago, when performing my One Step Update, both of these credit cards in which I had to relink the transactions returned an error message about not being able to connect with the server. All six of these transactions were marked with a "c" instead of an "r". For now, I'm going to assume this error caused the issue, and will watch more closely if/when I get this type of message in the future.

    Thanks for all your help. It is greatly appreciated!!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi again @michaelrhodes1954

    Okay - that all makes sense to me, including the issue on the old gas credit card.  I think that you've appropriately handled all those transactions in Quicken. And, you are very welcome!!

    I hope that you and yours have a Very Merry Christmas and a Fantastic New Year!!!

    Frankx


                           Quicken H&B-Subscription - Windows 10 Home - Ver. 2004
                                             - - - - Quicken User since 1984 - - - 
      -  If you find this reply helpful, please click "Helpful" (below), so others will know! Thank you.  -
  • tlitchfo1
    tlitchfo1 Member ✭✭
    Since this thread is close to what I'm experiencing, I'm going to include my similar problem. I'm a long long time Quicken user - balance my accounts every month. This month - this past week - two accounts all of a sudden needed balance adjustments - my checking account was off by $1.09, and my American Express account by $331.68. Not sure what caused this - for AE the charges and payments matched the statement perfectly, and like I said it balanced last month? And for this to all of a sudden happen to two accounts? Waiting to see if it happens to third, but wondering if last Quicken update did something?
  • TOActor
    TOActor Member
    This is happening to me also, on several accounts for the past several months. Today my Visa account was off by $1,084.92! I checked and double checked that I entered the correct figures going into reconciliation. These all require a balance adjustment, which of course throws off my true account balances.
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