Reconciling Brokerage Accounts

When you select reconcile on a brokerage account, it only pulls the cash balance in the brokerage account not Market Value. Is there a way to effectively reconcile market value? My balance is off by six figures and unless I go through my 50-100 equity holdings and compare to quicken balances I don't know of another way to reconcile? I see some feature in WIN that seems to be able to reconcile particular holding amounts is this not available in Mac? If I were to try and reconcile manually by changing the quicken holding how would I go about doing that. I don't see where I can change share amounts?
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Answers

  • John_in_NC
    John_in_NC SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Hi, James:

    The reconcile feature is indeed only going to deal with the cash balance/cash transactions. There isn't a way/workaround to reconcile amounts of Securities held or to market value. 

    The way you would change share amounts would be via Add or Remove shares transactions (if they don't impact cash balance) or Buy/Sell if they do affect cash. But tread carefully as you have to deal with the cost basis if you track that. (You can add cost to Add/Remove transactions to alter basis and not cash balance.) 

    That said, for most people, being 6 figures off is more than a "rounding error" type of event that requires a reconcile adjustment.

    I suggest you look at both your portfolio view and transaction view of your investment accounts and try to figure out what is throwing you off by so much. Cash? Holdings? Pay attention to the beginning of the register for Placeholder transactions in light gray that might be auto adjusting amounts for cash/holdings.

    I wouldn't blindly change shares held as I think you might be masking some other problem. Good luck!
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    I see some feature in WIN that seems to be able to reconcile particular holding amounts is this not available in Mac?
    No such feature existing in Quicken Windows.

    There is a feature that compares what the financial institution sent down for then number of shares of each security and reports on the differences, but the only "recourse" is to add a placeholder for the difference.  Which like @John_in_NC said isn't really reconciling.

    That feature is also dependent on the financial institution sending the right information at all times, which isn't always correct, just like sometimes the online balance for banking account isn't always correct.

    To fix problems with the number of shares of a given security one has to identify what incorrect transactions have been entered into the register.  The first thing would be to make sure you don't have any placeholders throwing things off.

    Note that a placeholder is basically the same as a balance adjustment in a bank account.  When a person fails to reconcile their bank account, they might resort to using a balance adjustment.  It doesn't fix the failed reconcile (which means to match your transactions to what the financial institution has), but it bypasses the problem hoping that your mistake won't come back to bite you.

    In an investment account reconciling is making sure all the securities have the right amount of shares, and then reconciling the transactions that affect the cash balance.  If the number of shares is off, you find out what transaction(s) caused the problem.  If one gives up, and decides not to reconcile, they use add/remove shares, which is better than using a placeholder because at least they can guess at a cost basis.

    Note if one isn't concerned about things like cost basis or taxes because they are in a nontaxable account, and just want the current value, then one should consider using the Simple investing mode that was introduced recently.  It looks at the downloaded share information and then adjusts the shares/cash so that it matches that information.  It is basically a quick way to switch to a "non-reconciling" process where you don't care about anything other than the current value.
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  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Unless I go through my 50-100 equity holdings and compare to quicken balances I don't know of another way to reconcile?
    What would you expect a reconcile feature in Quicken to do but exactly that? All that's missing is that there isn't a checkbox you can click to indicate which transactions are reconciled. But the process involves comparing your holding share balances in Quicken to what your brokerage reports. I do this every month or quarter when I receive brokerage statements. In Quicken, I view the Portfolio by security, and compare the share balance between Quicken and the brokerage statement, one security at a time. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    In theory, Quicken already does automatic reconcile of share quantities by creating placeholder transactions that are supposed to make the share balance of each security match that downloaded from the broker. But sometimes this gets borked up. I strongly suspect that your mismatch is due to one or more incorrect placeholders.
    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
  • James Young
    James Young Member ✭✭
    Thank you all for your responses. I now have a much better understanding of place holders and the needed process for reconciliation. I determined the discrepancies were triggered mostly by stock splits which after recording brought my balances near identical. The other item was an acquisition of one of my holdings. Q did not recognize the transfer of shares so was double counting the old and new holdings.
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