Reconciling issue.

CWPBSP
CWPBSP Member ✭✭
I still maintain a paper checkbook register. I add everything to Quicken for reports, reconciling, etc. I was little behind and just reconciled for 2 months with my bank statements. First month went perfectly. Quicken numbers matched my paper register perfectly, as expected. When I reconciled the second month, Quicken changed my balance by a little over $150.00 and I can not see where, and more importantly, why. Any ideas?

Answers

  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2021
    When you complete a Quicken bank Account reconciliation, if your Cleared Balance and Statement Ending Balance don't agree Quicken suggests a "plug" number to make them the same.  I assume you agreed to entering that plug number, perhaps without realizing it.
    As to the "why" question, the could be because of a variety of things, like entering a transaction incorrectly, entering the same transaction more than once or not at all, using a wrong date for a transaction, putting it outside the reconciliation window, or somehow affecting some prior period transaction in your file that changed the current balance or affecting in some way a transaction that was reconciled in a prior period.  Impossible to say without access to your file.
    I'd suggest going back to that "First month" and changing all transactions with an "R" in the Clr column to a blank, undoing the reconciliation.  (You can make this change "in bulk" by using the Windows convention of clicking on the first transaction you want to change, moving down to the last transaction to be changed and holding the Shift key while selecting it, then right clicking and changing the Reconcile status.)  Then try doing that reconciliation again.  If that works OK, then you know the problem isn't a change to a "prior period" transaction and it comes down to some entry error in the "second month."    If it doesn't work the second time then you need to hunt down what changed in a prior period, or accept the plug.
  • CWPBSP
    CWPBSP Member ✭✭
    OK I went back and re-reconciled both months. Nothing changed. Both balanced. My electronic register still does not match my paper register. I can not find anywhere that quicken shows an adjustment. What still troubles me is that when I did this the first time, both registers matched. If they had not, I would have not tried to reconcile until I they did. I did go back 2 more months and compared both registers and found nothing wrong. The only thing I can think to do is go all the way back to square one and adjust the starting balance.
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    "Both balanced. My electronic register still does not match my paper register."
    Well then the problem may be in the paper register.  But a reconciliation shouldn't be to a hand-maintained paper register, it should be to a bank statement.  I assume that the statement "both balanced" means that the reconciliation worked and you were reconciling to a bank statement?
    In your first post you said "Quicken changed my balance by a little over $150.00" which to me reads as if the program itself did something here in your bank register.  Was that not the case, were you really saying that the balance per Quicken was "off" from your hand-prepared register?  You didn't mention this in your second post. 
  • CWPBSP
    CWPBSP Member ✭✭
    Okay. It has been another month or two since I fought this reconcile issue. To answer the question from above, I am reconciling to a paper bank statement like I have done for quite a few years. In the past, when the quicken reconcile page comes up and shows me my prior balance, it has always matched my bank statement. Now it does not. I have searched for an error in an entry and have yet to find one.
  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    CWPBSP said:
    Okay. It has been another month or two since I fought this reconcile issue. To answer the question from above, I am reconciling to a paper bank statement like I have done for quite a few years. In the past, when the quicken reconcile page comes up and shows me my prior balance, it has always matched my bank statement. Now it does not. I have searched for an error in an entry and have yet to find one.
    If the reconciled opening balance has changed, a reconciled transaction has been added, modified, or deleted.  To determine the source of the change, I suggest you compare the running balance of the account register in the current Quicken file with the running balance of the account register from a Quicken file backup saved when the account was last reconciled.  One way to accomplish this is to print the registers to text files.
  • CWPBSP
    CWPBSP Member ✭✭
    Now I have double checked every entry from April to date against my paper checkbook, the bank statement, and quicken entries and all match. If I change quickens prior balance to what it is supposed to be, is that just going to move my problem forward a month?
  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2021
    CWPBSP said:
    Now I have double checked every entry from April to date against my paper checkbook, the bank statement, and quicken entries and all match. If I change quickens prior balance to what it is supposed to be, is that just going to move my problem forward a month?
    It's difficult to answer your question because you haven't determined the source of the issue.  Note: The prior balance is simply the sum of the transactions in the register that are marked as reconciled.  The prior balance can not have changed unless a reconciled transaction has been added, modified, or deleted. 
  • volvogirl
    volvogirl SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Do you make any manual entries?  I use Quicken 2013 so I can't download and enter everything by hand.  One thing that helps me is to sort by Order Entered, which is handy when doing a lot of entries.  While in a register, click on "Account Actions", select "Sorting Options", select "by order entered".
  • CWPBSP
    CWPBSP Member ✭✭
    I enter all my entries manually. I agree that prior balance is a sum of reconciled entries, but if one of the entries has changed, my paper checkbook running balance would not match my paper checkbook running balance, would It? If I make a fake entry of the error amount ($220.81) in quicken, then my paper register does not track.
  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    CWPBSP said:
    I enter all my entries manually. I agree that prior balance is a sum of reconciled entries, but if one of the entries has changed, my paper checkbook running balance would not match my paper checkbook running balance, would It? If I make a fake entry of the error amount ($220.81) in quicken, then my paper register does not track.
    As I suggested, if you compare the running balance of the account register in the current Quicken file with the running balance of the account register from a Quicken file backup saved when the account was last reconciled, you should be able to determine what changed.  
  • CWPBSP
    CWPBSP Member ✭✭
    Sherlock. I did what you suggested and found the error. I do not understand it, but I found it. I have no idea how it could have happened, but my beginning balance changed. I wish I knew how that could happen.
    Thanks for the help.
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    "I wish I knew how that could happen."
    Well, of course if could be some sort of error on Quicken's part, but I'd bet money and give you odds that the most common reason the "Prior balance" in a reconciliation is wrong is due to human error, i.e., a prior period transaction with an "R" in the Clr column is deleted or somehow gets changed due to an errant mouse click or a too quick press on the Enter key.
    I'd suggest enabling "Set Password to modify transactions..."  available under the File drop down menu.  Periodically updating the "Required For Dates Through" entry  on the "Change Transaction Password" screen, (I NEVER change the password but do change the date after each month end) can help prevent these kinds of errors.  You can still change prior period entries if you wish, but Quicken asks for the password in order to make the change and this little bit of slow down allows you to think "do I really want to do this?"
  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi @CWPBSP,

    You said "I do not understand it, but I found it. I have no idea how it could have happened, but my beginning balance changed."

    Would it be possible to provide a little more information, on the chance that we can help you figure out what happened and why?

    For example - you said "my beginning balance changed" - so can you clarify whether it was the actual "beginning balance' in the entire account, or whether this was the "beginning balance'' of the reconciliation that you were performing (in other words, this would be the ending balance of the prior bank reconciliation?

    Were you able to identify any specific transaction (or number of transactions) that were responsible for the difference?  For example were certain transactions missing from your Quicken account, or were certain amounts simply different from your "paper checkbook", and if so do you know the cause?

    Frankx

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  • CWPBSP
    CWPBSP Member ✭✭
    The beginning balance of the account, years back, was different on my current version versus my most recent backup version. I changed the current version starting balance to match the backup and everything worked perfectly.
  • CWPBSP
    CWPBSP Member ✭✭
    I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but I thought I would recap my reconcile issues, hopefully with better details, in case it might help somebody else. I feel sure I do not do my finances the most efficient way, but it is the way I do it. To begin with, I maintain a paper checkbook register as well as a quicken register. The running balances always match each other perfectly, and if they do not, I find how why and fix the error. When I do “bill pay” with my banking software, all transactions, checks, EFTs, deposits, etc., go into the paper register as well as quicken, manually, as well as any hand writtern checks. I do not download any transactions from the bank. When it is time to reconcile, my quicken “previous balance” always matches my bank statement “balance forward from previous month” amount. My issue started a few months back when I started to reconcile and these two numbers did not match. The quicken amount was short by $220.81. I searched quicken for that amount and it was not there. I double and triple checked my paper register against my quicken register and against all the bank statement transactions. Everything matched. I ran out of time and had to let it go for a while.
    Now it is two months later and I try to reconcile again, and nothing has changed, no surprise there. I did all the searching again. Finely, after reaching out to the community, I printed out my current register as suggested. I then opened my most recent backup and started to compare numbers starting at day one. To my surprise, the two opening balances did not match. My current opening balance was $220.81 less than my backup opening balance. I went back to the current register and edited the opening balance and then was able to reconcile three months worth of statements, and now printed the reports after each one. I had to make a $220.81 balance adjustment in my paper register, but now all appears to be well.
    The community has suggested pilot error in this mess, and are probably right. I just cannot figure what I could have done to mess up the opening balance.
    I thank everybody for their comments and help with this.
  • CWPBSP
    CWPBSP Member ✭✭
    Another issue. To begin with, I have three checking accounts in this file. There are good reasons for them to be separate. For discussion, I will call them accounts 1, 2, & 3. Account 1 is what I had all the above problems with.
    Yesterday I had a deposit to enter into account 1. I had written it in my paper register and then entered it in quicken. All was well, everything matched. Today, I had three more deposits to enter. Again, I had written them in my paper register before I got home, then entered them in quicken. My quicken running balance was $77.99 higher then the paper register. I doubled checked all my entries and all the math and found no wrong. I the searched for that amount and found it. I found a non reconciled deposit dated 2/24/21 from my cell phone company.
    This brought up a lot of questions. 1) I have never had money back from my cell phone company, only payments. 2) All my cell phone payments come out of account 2. 3) I am sure this this transaction has not been there for the last 8 months and it not show up. 4) The entry syntax is not like I use. My payee entry is always like this "T Mobile". This new entry is like this "T-Mobile US Inc." 5) The amount could not have been confused with a payment. My cell phone bill is never under $100.00.
    I do not think there is any way I could have entered this transaction as a deposit, for this amount, and in the wrong register.
    Deleting the transaction will make everything match, but I am not sure it fixes my Gremlin problem.
  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    @CWPBSP,

    Sorry to hear that you are still having these strange problems.

    Did you happen to search your datafile specifically for "T-Mobile US Inc.", this is only a guess but it may shed some light on this problem.

    You might also consider running a file validation, and maybe even a super-validation, to see if there are any issues.

    Let me know how these items work out.

    Frankx

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  • CWPBSP
    CWPBSP Member ✭✭
    Validation did not find anything yesterday. The syntax did show up as a small stock acquirement from a stock split I had forgotten about a while back.
    I think I will be good with it now. If I have any more grief, I will reach out again.

    Thank you ever so much for your help.
  • yonahe
    yonahe Member
    I've run into an issue when reconciling that the opening balance doesn't the last reconciled balance. I did not knowingly change any reconciled amount and I think that it's possible a Quicken update has caused something to be changed. When I look back at the past several months, all the transactions look correct.

    Could it be possible that the opening balance on the account was changed? For my account it's difficult to tell since it goes back many years. For accounts where things would go to zero regularly, this is easy to spot, but in this account there are transactions that don't get cleared in the month, and since they carry over to the next month, it's hard to tell.

    Is there some way to view the transactions by the date last changed? This would let me see if a reconciled transaction were changed more recently.
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    As the "Prior balance" shown when reconciling a bank account is a calculated (not "stored") number. if that number is incorrect it means that some transaction with an "R" in the the Clr column has been added, deleted or changed from the time of the last reconciliation.   If the Opening Balance for an Account is changed - and it's happened, probably (my guess) more frequently with Accounts using EWC - then the Prior balance will be incorrect.
    There's no "date this transaction was last changed" field in the Quicken data base.  If you think the Opening Balance has changed then you can confirm that by opening a backup as of the date, or before, you last reconciled the Account. 
  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi @yonahe,

    There is a fairly recent bug that is actually changing the opening balances of accounts in Quicken without any indication. That creates the situation where, unless know, or you've noted the opening balance of an account somewhere, it is impossible to easily detect. The exception is accounts that you've started from scratch with a zero balance.

    And the only way I've been able to detect these is to look at a good backup file and compare opening balance to old fashioned way.

    Apparently the Quicken techs know about this and have been working on a fix, but there is no current timetable.

    Frankx

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