New To Accounting - How To Reconcile Credit Card Payments

I am new to accounting in general, and am trying to track/categorize my expenses for the first time using Quicken. The balance in Quicken on one of my credit cards is wildly different from the actual balance—Quicken says I have a positive credit of $6200, whereas I actually have a debt of $4300.

It looks like the culprit is that I am being double credited for the payments—in other words, it is recording my autopay payments twice, starting in about May of last year. What is the best way to deal with this? Do I delete one of the charges, or is there some non-destructive way of doing it that is generally preferred? Thanks!

Answers

  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 15
    Since you don't mention a corresponding error in your checking Account I'll assume the checking Account is OK.
    If that's indeed the case, then somehow - maybe because you're allowing Quicken to make automatic entries of payments into the credit card Account - it seems that the "duplicate" entry would be an entry in the "Payment" column of the Account with the offsetting, balancing entry into the "Category" field being that same credit card Account.  That's a trick programmed into Quicken that allows an Account balance to be affected without affecting any other Account in the file.
    Those "self referencing" entries are the "duplicate" entries that need to be deleted leaving behind, presumably, the "correct" accounting entries of:
    Debit (decrease) Credit Card Account        $XXX
    Credit (decrease) Bank Checking Account  $XXX
  • mattie
    mattie Member
    That makes sense. So are you saying that I should delete the duplicates?
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 15
    IF you see entries for payments that appear to be correct:
    Debit (decrease) Credit Card Account         $XXX
    Credit (decrease) Bank Checking Account  $XXX
    AND you see entries that are self-referencing entries:
    Debit (decrease) Credit Card Account         $XXX
    Credit (increase) Credit Card Account         $XXX
    THEN you delete the self-referencing entries.
    Assuming this duplication is the result of letting Quicken automatically make entries to the register, turn that off. 
    Also, reconcile your Accounts frequently - certainly with every statement, at least.
    Make sure your mindset is correct: Quicken helps you do your accounting, it certainly cannot do your accounting for you.
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