Entering investment transaction does not use stored price

jplbridge
jplbridge Member ✭✭
edited May 28 in Investing (Mac)
I am correcting some faulty transactions that I've had in my Quicken data file from many years ago when I was still using the windows version. Some of my transactions had been assigned the wrong mutual fund, and I am now trying to replace with the correct one. When I choose the correct item from the pulldown, Quicken does not pull the stored price from the price history even though I confirmed it is available. It will not let me copy/paste the price into the field. It seems the ONLY way for me to manually correct these transactions is to use the price from the price history, calculate the correct number of shares using a calculator, then replace the old #shares by typing in the correct calculated #shares. Quicken then magically "calculates" the same price it already has in the price history. I have dozens and dozens of transactions to correct. This is sort of ridiculous and I am hoping there is a better way to do this.

Comments

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    For better or worse (there are some positive reasons for this), Quicken Mac does not allow you to enter a price for a transactions, period. You can only enter the total cost and shares, and it calculates the price -- as you've discovered.

    The problem with entering a price -- either manually or using the stock's closing price -- is that it would be inaccurate. Here's an example:

    Let's say yesterday I bought 100 shares of Carnival Cruise Line stock for $2,946.50, which Quicken calculates at $29.465 per share. Yesterday's closing price for CCL was $30.00, and this -- not the purchase price -- is what's reflected in the price history table in Quicken. If Quicken were to allow you to enter a purchase of 100 shares at the stored price of $30.00, the purchase price would have been $3,000.00, and your cash balance would be off by $53.50.

    Perhaps, you're saying, you've already got the correct purchase price in the stock price history table. Things could still be off, albeit by a smaller amount, due to rounding. Here's an example:

    Let's say I bought 485 shares of a security for $5,800; Quicken calculates the price per share as $11.958763. But the price history table doesn't store prices to six decimal places; it would show that date as $11.96. If Quicken allowed you to enter the purchase of 485 shares at the saved history price of $11.96, it would reduce your cash by $5,800.60 -- 60¢ more than the correct amount of the purchase. 

    One thing I'm not understanding is that you already have transactions in your data file. When you double click to open them, aren't you seeing total cost ÷ number of shares = share price on the screen? So why do you need a calculator to calculate the number of shares? The number of shares you bought on a day is immutable; the price per share of that transaction is a calculated value by both your broker and Quicken. Many brokers round the price to two or three decimal places, while Quicken's calculation to 6 decimal places is actually more precise for calculations such as gains/losses.

    (One more thought: do you have access to your transaction records, either in printed statements or online from your brokerage? If so, that might be an easier way to enter these transactions, as they should show total price and number of shares.)
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • jplbridge
    jplbridge Member ✭✭
    Having worked for a financial services company for over 30 years and actually coded many applications for financial transactions, I am very well aware of the granularity issue regarding share price calculations. But the point of computer applications should be to make things EASIER for the user (not the programmer), and a well-designed UI with supporting code could easily accomplish that. It's child's play to specify the #decimal points for prices or shares within the menus (could be done individually for each investment either globally across accounts or for greater flexibility, even distinctly within each account) and given 2 of the three elements: $ = shares x price, calculate the 3rd. I'm almost certain that's the way the WIN version of Quicken worked many years ago. Sometimes I rue moving to the MAC, because I use Quicken every day, and the Mac's version is very wanting. To answer the specific questions raised in the response:
    1) "When you double click to open them, aren't you seeing total cost ÷ number of shares = share price on the screen? So why do you need a calculator to calculate the number of shares? The number of shares you bought on a day is immutable;". This would be true if the correct investment were reflected. A close reading of my post will show that the security in the original transaction is incorrect. Thus the price and the number of stored shares are wrong. But choosing the correct security -- which clearly has a different NAV/price -- does not cause the program to use the correct stored price, even though it is in the history. Hence my issue.
    2) I do not have printed copies of these older transactions, and even if I did, that solution would certainly not be user-centric. The computer program's supposed to do the work as long as it has the information needed, which in this case it does.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @jplbridge  I can't tell you definitively why the programmers implemented what they did or why they did it this way; I was only giving you my best understanding and trying to help you find a solution to your issue. I can't change the way Quicken works. ;)
    A close reading of my post will show that the security in the original transaction is incorrect. Thus the price and the number of stored shares are wrong.
    I understood that the wrong security was entered. But what wasn't apparent to me was that both the price and number of shares were entered incorrectly; I'm still not sure I understand how these transactions were entered. Wouldn't you have had to have entered either the price or the number of shares, along with the cost? If you just entered an amount, and neither price nor shares, how would Quicken have known the price you purchased at? If you were just entering the amount, and letting Quicken use the closing price for the security, the calculation of the number of shares would have given you fractionally the wrong number of shares (even if it was the correct security).  

    In any case, what you did in the past probably isn't relevant now. You don't have printed statements, and I'm inferring that you cannot see the transaction data logging into your brokerage account, so yes, you would need to do the reverse calculation you originally described. But you're still likely to be off fractionally when you're don, so you might need a small adjustment to get your share balance exactly correct. 

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • jplbridge
    jplbridge Member ✭✭
    @jacobs
    The transactions in question were entered back in 2007... at the time I had not yet switched to a Mac, and was using original Quicken under Win. At the time they were entered and calculated -correctly - in the program by having downloaded the security prices (albeit for the wrong fund) into the price history. (I also have the correct fund in a different Quicken account, so I have the appropriate historical prices stored as well) Then as each transaction was entered for the invested amount, if you entered the #shares, the program would calculate the appropriate price on the transaction and ignore the stored price. However, if you entered neither neither #shares nor price, the program would use the downloaded price to calculate shares. It thus accommodated some measure of flexibility, which the Mac version is no longer doing. There was a *hierarchy* of rules determining whether to use stored prices or entered prices specific to a transaction. It appears this hierarchy no longer exists and the price history is being ignored completely, i.e., loss of functionality. Another potential time-and-effort solution for me would be to duplicate the transactions I have with the correct security and cut/paste the duplicate into the right account (many of the transaction dates are identical), then simply correct the investment amount, but Quicken doesn't seem to let me do that. Even easier would be an ability to move/copy a transaction from one account to another by click-dragging it. That's not an option either. [BTW, a quick review of some of my accounts shows I've been using Quicken since at least 1987.]
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    You can't cut-and-paste investment transactions in Quicken Mac, but you can drag-and-drop them with the latest 6.2.1 release. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • jplbridge
    jplbridge Member ✭✭
    @jacobs ... thanks for the tip about the ability to drag & drop in v6.2.1. I upgraded and was able to use it which has saved me a lot of time so far. If any of the Quicken coders peruse these messages, I would suggest restoring the ability to use the store prices in the price history ... else what good is it?
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