Downloading Data- What is the best? Manual entry, Downloads, or both? [Edited]

I’m trying to figure out how to use the downloading mechanism to my advantage.

I have used QMAC subscription for years (and past QMAC desktop software versions for many decades).
I’m now working on a newer Mini with OS Monterey.

I have always only done manual entries…..have avoided doing downloads forever.
Whenever I do a financial transaction, I get a receipt.
Then, every couple of days, I manually enter the transactions into Q.
(As an aside, I manually backup the Q data file to my computer after each session of entries.)
When I receive my Monthly Statement for an account, I reconcile the transactions of that account. I make sure that everything is right between the Financial Account and Quicken.

Several times in the past, I attempted doing downloads of data from some of my existing accounts (Checking Accounts (Chase, etc), Brokerage Accounts (TD Ameritrade, etc.), or Credit Card Accounts (Costco Citibank VISA, etc) into Q.
However, I always ran into the substantial PROBLEM of having DUPLICATED TRANSACTIONS be added to the account (going back for X number of months).
Then I had to spend enormous time DELETING all the duplications and/or correcting the categories applied. (Or I would simply UNWIND the download by reverting back (opening) to a previous backup.)

There does not appear to be a way to be selective about which transactions will be added to Quicken….to compare the download transactions to the already entered transactions and only enter the missing transactions. Correct?

So it appears that a user has to chose between either manual entry or download entry for each account

I’m wondering how other people operate: what is your procedural method for entering data into Q?
Is there a good way to “mix” the processes of manual and download entry?

Every day, as amounts of dividends, interest, or cash move (transfer) into the brokerage account, then at night those amounts move out of the brokerage account and into its related Cash Account. (This shows up on the Monthly Statements.)
For this reason, for each of my Brokerage Accounts (Trust, Individual, Trad IRA, ROTH IRA) that I set up in Q, I also set up a corresponding Cash Account for it. (The Trust brokerage account has a Trust cash account (although I set it up as “savings” account in Q…..which was probably incorrect as it should have been a “cash” account).

When I tested the download of transactions, Q did NOT download any of the entries that “moved cash” to the “Cash Account”.
The Download process seems to completely ignore: (1) the Cash Account, (2) all movements of cash between the Brokerage Account and its related Cash Account, and (3) does not end up keeping any track of the amount of cash that is held by that Brokerage Account.

Are other people having this same problem (issue)?
How do they handle this problem…..and keep track of their cash and all of the many overnight movements of cash back and forth?


  • Jon
    Jon SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    edited January 24
    1. What I've always done (or at least for a long time now) is to manually enter transactions AND download. I don't have much of a problem with duplicated transactions, though I do get one every now & then. You might have to clean things up the first time but I don't think you should have to continue doing it in the future.

    2. WRT brokerage accounts, I don't set up a separate cash account. If you have any cash it will show up the balance column of the register, and on the portfolio view Cash will be listed at the bottom below all the investments:
    Another way of saying it is, don't think of Cash as a separate account but rather as a separate investment, equivalent to a stock or a mutual fund. When money comes in, you don't move it to a cash account, it stays in the account & you just invest it in Cash.
    Quicken Mac subscription. Quicken user since 1990.
  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    I also do what @Jon does. When I see a blue dot in the Status column (a transaction that was downloaded and not matched), it almost always means that something was amiss that needs to be corrected:
    • It could be simply that I forgot to enter the transaction. But it could be a fraudulent transaction that I didn't create. I have caught such transactions this way. 
    • It could be that the amounts don't match. This happens often with Amazon when the actual transaction didn't include my local sales tax but the preliminary invoice did. Or I just typed the amount incorrectly. Or occasionally the payee charged something different than was was agreed. This, of course, gets my attention.
    • Very, very rarely is it simply a transaction that didn't match that should have. It that case, it's easy enough to force a match by dragging one on top of the other.
    I like manually entering first and then downloading/matching because it serves as a double check that the bank, the payee and I all agree. One might say that I'm creating extra work. Perhaps. But if I don't enter manually first, then I have to manually match the receipts to the downloads, enter memos anyway, correct misnamed payees, etc. I could skip manually matching receipts and just trust the downloads, but that's not me. So for me, it's really not any more work and the benefit of the double-check is more than valuable enough (to me) to make manual entry worth it.

    That said, many people prefer to just download. After all, that's pretty much the reason for the whole Payee Renaming functionality to exist. So to each their own.
    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
  • psmacintosh
    psmacintosh Member
    Thank you both Jon and RickO. That was exactly the type of commentary that I was looking for.

    I will now treat the cash in a brokerage account as another type (item) of investment. And this will allow me to eliminate the secondary Cash Account and, happily, stop having to enter those many, extra transfer transactions!!!

    I am now encouraged to start incorporating the download function (after all these years of not trusting it) into my workflow. This is based on your info that the duplications and corrections will essentially reduce over time.
    (I started computerizing my accounting many years ago, even before Q version Quicken 7, but I can’t now remember what software or Q version I began with. And I stayed on Mac 2007 for many years (keeping a spare old Mac and Printer (for paper checks) around at all times). So this has been a long journey.)

    I will have to learn more about:
    1. forcing a match…. by dragging one transaction on top of the other. (I haven’t done that before.)
    2. the Payee Renaming functionality.

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    For another point of view… I'm a longtime Quicken user who does not download transactions. I have tried it in test files periodically, and I found that by the time I clean up my transactions (adding splits, editing Payee names or creating rules, fixing categorizations, adding tags, creating transfers, etc.) it's not taking me any less time than entering them and not downloading. If I enter most of my transactions first and download transactions to match, then I'm not saving any time over just entering manually. I reconcile my accounts to the financial institutions monthly, a process I find fast and simple, and that's where I discover and fix any discrepancies between my entries and what happened in the real world. And I avoid 100% of the issues with connectivity problems with any financial institutions. So when I factor that in, I feel like my time to do my work manually is pretty much the same — maybe a little more, maybe a little less — as if I downloaded.

    But — and it's a big but — the viability of this for me is firmly rooted in my transaction volume. Most of our spending is in a few credit card accounts, the largest of which averages about 75 transactions a month; our checking account averages only about 15-20 transactions a month; our investments are almost all buy-and-hold, with only a few transactions scattered during they year, so I only enter dividend and the few other transactions when I get a quarterly statement. For someone who has a lot more transaction activity, the time saved by downloading might be substantially different. 

    I'm not advocating for you or others to do things manually; most people download. I'm only saying it is possible to do things manually, have zero problems associated with downloading, and be happy with that approach. :)
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
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