Help me please [account register suddenly out of balance, bad Opening Balance]

My checking account register is messed up beyond repair and I need to know if I should even attempt to fix it. It started when my bank was purchased by another bank. I backed up my accounts, so I have a a recent record I *could* restore. However, whenever I import transactions from the new bank, it wipes out all of this month's reconciled transactions, inserting new unreconciled transactions, and also deleted random transactions from the past five years. It also made a new starting balance from 2015 (seriously, wtf?) So my Quicken balance and online balance are a couple thousand off and the only way I can reconcile is to go back through every transaction to figure out which ones were wiped.

Also, I can't have the back-up file and regular file open at the same time, so I would have to take screenshots to do this.

What is the easiest way out of this mess?

Answers

  • NotACPA
    NotACPA SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 27
    More info needed to assist you.
    • What BUILD of Q are you running? Do HELP, About Quicken for this info.
    • What backups do you have that were created PRIOR to R39.xx? (the build in the backup name)
    • Do you use the Q Paycheck wizard?  If the answer to this is yes, the corruption MIGHT be there.
    Depending upon your replies, there's a non-easy, but not awful, way out of the mess.
    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription, Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
  • splasher
    splasher SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Keep the old account as is and start a new account under the new financial institution's username/password.
    After you get it all settled in, delete the overlapping transactions so that there are no duplicates.  Finally, enter a transfer from old to new to zero out the old account and have it replace the opening balance transaction of the new account.
    You will still have all of your history, it just won't be all in one account.
    -splasher  using Q since 1996 -  Subscription  -  Win10
    -also older versions as needed for testing
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  • jdidizian
    jdidizian Member
    Hi NotACPA,

    Thanks for your response. My Quicken is Version R39.23, Build 27.1.39.23. I understand your question about the backups, but I'm not sure how to locate that information in my backup files. I have backups at least once a months since 2012. Not using Quicken Paycheck Wizard.
  • UKR
    UKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭

    I recommend you review your backup settings in Quicken to ensure that you create a backup every single time you close Quicken. That minimizes the number of lost changes since the last backup, should you have to restore your data file due to corruption.

    How to properly set up Quicken Backup
    How to make Quicken create a backup for you automatically every time you close Quicken
    What Quicken backups are available where?

    For the sake of this discussion it is assumed that your Quicken data file is located in the Default (and recommended) place: C:\Users\username\Documents\Quicken

    Review the backup settings available in Quicken (under Edit / Preferences / Backup).

    In there you will find two types of backup: Automatic and Manual Backup.

    Automatic Backup should be enabled and by default goes to a \Backup folder that's part of the folder which contains your current Quicken data file, e.g. \Documents\Quicken\Backup. Set it to create a backup after running Quicken [1] times and to keep [9] (or more, your choice) backup copies.
    The file name for Automatic Backup files contains a date and time stamp as part of the file name, e.g. QDATA-2020-03-22.PM03.45.QDF-backup

    To create a Manual Backup copy of your Quicken data file on an external device (USB-hard drive or USB memory stick recommended), put a checkmark at "Manual Backup Reminder" to enable the function and set "Remind me after running Quicken [xx] times" to [1].

    Click OK to save the changes.

    From now on, when you close Quicken using the red X button, you will get a popup window.

    When you get this window for the first time, on some versions click the radio button for "Backup on my computer".
    Change the Backup File name's drive letter and path to point to your external device so that it looks something like this: E:\Quicken Backup\QDATA-2019-04-01.QDF-backup
    or use the Change button and work your way through the dialog.

    Do not change the filename portion! Just overtype the drive letter and choose a backup folder name. If the folder does not exist, it will be created.

    Also choose the option to "Add date to backup file name".

    Every day when you run Backup or close Quicken, an additional backup file is created. Without the Add Date option you only have 1 backup copy which is overwritten every day ... and that may prove bad in a problem recovery situation.

    Allow this backup to run to save the changes made on the screen.

    Of course, once in a while you will have to go in and delete some of the oldest backup files, at your discretion, to avoid filling up your USB device.

    One can never have enough backups of a Quicken data file. BTDTGTS to prove it!


  • jdidizian
    jdidizian Member
    To clarify, I do backup Quicken every time I use and close it. Sometimes, I only use use it once a month :) My finances simply are not complicated enough to use it more frequently.

    My question is more along the lines of - I use the online download transactions feature and it seems to be messing up my checking account when I download from this one institution, messing up transactions even BEFORE this institution became relevant to me (i.e. - before the one bank bought my old bank). Obviously I need to bite the bullet and fix all these transactions if I want to continue using this feature. What is the best way to do so?
  • jdidizian
    jdidizian Member
    UPDATE: FIXED THE ISSUE. I ended up printing out ALL the transactions from both the original account (messed up after transaction download from new bank) and backup accounts as PDFs. All transactions back to 2015. I was ready to compare 50+ pages of transactions to figure out which ones had been corrupted by the online transaction download from my new bank.,

    I only needed to go through three pages to find the two transactions that were corrupted. The first was a different opening balance from when the account was opened in 2015. The second was a mortgage payment where the escrow amount had been changed in a split transaction. Now everything reconciles.

    Which leaves me this question: why would the first online transaction download from my new bank (which acquired my old bank on 03-06-2022) mess up transactions from YEARS ago in 2015? So weird. My Dad has always sworn against the transaction download feature for this reason - he enters ALL transactions for ALL accounts manually. I can't say I disagree with him after this!
  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi @jdidizian,

    You asked jdidizian said:
    I only needed to go through three pages to find the two transactions that were corrupted. The first was a different opening balance from when the account was opened in 2015. ... why would the first online transaction download from my new bank (which acquired my old bank on 03-06-2022) mess up transactions from YEARS ago in 2015?
    I have been asking this same question recently.  This seems to be a relatively new phenomenon.  I have seen it happen twice in my accounts and a number of others have posted here about this.  I suspect that even more users have not suffered the effects and not even checked their opening balances.  As I have said before - the application should not, under any circumstances, change an account's opening balance. And your Dad is a wise man.

    Frankx

                            Quicken Home, Business & Rental Property - Windows 10-Home Version

                                             - - - - Quicken User since 1984 - - - 
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  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Frankx said:
    Hi @jdidizian,

    You asked jdidizian said:
    I only needed to go through three pages to find the two transactions that were corrupted. The first was a different opening balance from when the account was opened in 2015. ... why would the first online transaction download from my new bank (which acquired my old bank on 03-06-2022) mess up transactions from YEARS ago in 2015?
    As I have said before - the application should not, under any circumstances, change an account's opening balance. 

    Frankx
    There is in fact, a circumstance where it is supposed to be changed.
    When you first create an account.  Quicken takes the ending balance it gets from the financial institution, and then applies the transactions backwards to come up with the Opening Balance. 

    Note that changing of the Opening Balance has been going on for a number of years now, but maybe more now.  It seems to be more associated with Express Web Connect than Direct Connect.  And one trigger seems to be resetting the account.  Another is disabling downloading and reestablishing it.
    Signature:
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  • BK
    BK Member ✭✭✭✭
    Chris_QPW said:
    Note that changing of the Opening Balance has been going on for a number of years now, but maybe more now.  It seems to be more associated with Express Web Connect than Direct Connect.  And one trigger seems to be resetting the account.  Another is disabling downloading and reestablishing it.
    Yup.  My tip on this issue is to enter the correct opening $ figure in the memo field of the opening balance transaction in every account.  Therefore in the event of a Deactivate/Reactivate, if any of the opening balances change, you can easily and quickly correct them.  (BTW, I also enter the Year-End value as well in the respective transaction's memo field)
    Then about a year ago one of the SuperUsers (can't remember who) provided an alternative tip to create another opening transaction of Zero value as the first line, hence even easier to make the correction if needed.  Brilliant, right?  Well, it turns out that no matter what, the zero transaction remains zero, but the second line which is the actual opening balance still changes in my case (after a Reactivate)!  Go figure.  An old and strange lingering issue.
    - QWin Deluxe user since 2010, US subscription on Win11
    - I don't use Cloud Sync, Mobile & Web, Bill Pay/Mgr

  • Nelrose
    Nelrose Member
    Is there any hope of this getting fixed? I am having the same problem and it is vexing and time consuming and should not be happening. I've been using Quicken for 20 years and this is only now happening. Is there a fix for this besides re-adjusting my opening balance every time I download transactions? I have about 30 accounts and 20 years of transactions and i am very frustrated by how much this impacts productivity and confidence in the product. Thank you for any suggestions. :/ :/
  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Chris_QPW said:
    Frankx said:
    As I have said before - the application should not, under any circumstances, change an account's opening balance. 

    Frankx
    There is in fact, a circumstance where it is supposed to be changed.
    When you first create an account.  Quicken takes the ending balance it gets from the financial institution, and then applies the transactions backwards to come up with the Opening Balance. 

    That is just wrong - because "...when you first create an account"  Quicken does not CHANGE the account's balance - rather it CREATES an opening balance for the account. That is entirely different from making a change of the opening balance that was established when an account is first established (i.e. setup) in Quicken.

    That opening balance "creation" is clearly necessary for any account that is started in Quicken AFTER the account has been opened at the financial institution (i.e. your "circumstance where it is supposed to be changed") if, and only if the Quicken user has not accounted for the opening balance.  If, on the other hand, you start tracking the account in Quicken as of actual opening date of the account at the financial institution, the opening balance is zero.  There is no logical way that that opening balance should ever be changed.  Using the same logic, if you create an opening balance in a Quicken account after a bank or other account has been active in the past (i.e. a point in time) and you enter an "opening balance" that reflects reality at that time, Quicken should never edit that entry. 

    This is basic accounting.  No opening account balance - regardless of the circumstances - should ever be changed.  To do so, effectively causes the user to lose all confidence in a bookkeeping/accounting system.  And as a practical matter - the fact that the Quicken application makes this type of change WITHOUT any notification to the user of the change that the program made is irresponsible programming.

    Frankx  

                            Quicken Home, Business & Rental Property - Windows 10-Home Version

                                             - - - - Quicken User since 1984 - - - 
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  • mrzookie
    mrzookie Member ✭✭✭✭
    I've posted about the issue of changed opening account balances on more than one occasion over the past 18 months or so. In my case, it has only (so far) occurred with one account (Citi checking), ONLY when I've needed to do a deactivate/reactivate AND there are transactions in the status of pending at that time. Quicken has added or subtracted the value of those transactions to/from the opening balance which is now 15 years old. Now that I know what's happening, and it took a while to figure it out, I've been adding offsetting dummy transactions the day before the account was opened so the running balance shows correctly. I also avoid doing deactivate/reactivate on Citi accounts like the plague.

    I agree with @Frankx -this should never happen, for all the reasons listed.
  • Tom Claffy
    Tom Claffy Member
    This occurs on multiple accounts. Usually with a reset. Quicken has become very unreliable and plain scary. They automatically change my opening balances and cloud syncing settings. I have data going back to 1997 and this type of irresponsible programming was never an issue until the Web Sync was introduced IMHO. I have opening balance memos because I discovered this painfully on my own. I had to reset all of my Synchrony accounts and the charges/payments are reversed. I assume this is Synchrony's fault, but I don't know who to blame at this point. I really wish there was a trustworthy alternative. I am not interested in new features. I want the existing code to work correctly. STOP INTRODUCING BUGS AND FIX THE CODE.
  • TTSguy
    TTSguy Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 12
    This has eaten me up on several occasions over the years. If balances are off the FIRST thing to do is check your opening balances (I annotate mind in the Notes column). As a matter of fact I do that for the closing balance for each account, each month, and enter that amount in the Notes column, for each account for each month. It has saved my chaps many times!

    This is why I don't Sync, and I use plain old "Web Connect" to download my transactions!
    Quicken Windows Deluxe Subscription R40.21
     Only function used is register function and reports. NO, other Quicken functions or Sync being used. :*
  • lwood40
    lwood40 Member
    I just experienced this issue as well. I was having trouble connecting with almost every credit card and bank account, so a customer service rep walked me through resetting these accounts (deactivating the online function, then re-enabling it). After this, all the reset accounts were off due to Quicken changing the opening balances!! (WHY??) Luckily, I had a backup from the day before, and I changed them all back, and now all good. I will follow the advice above & enter the opening balance figure in the memo field of that transaction.