bank account reconciliation discrepancy

When I began to reconcile a checking account, the initial input window showed a 'prior balance' that was significantly different than that shown on my bank statement. And yes, I had reconciled the previous month with no issues, so it's not a matter of needing to catch up. I printed off the last three month's worth of account register, and also retrieved and printed the last 3 months of bank statements, then manually matched every transaction on each. No discrepancies found. Does anyone have any insight into what might be going on here?

Best Answer

  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓
    Hi again @stuckyville

    Just to be clear, I believe that you did not do "anything to change the opening balance", rather I believe that the change to the opening balance was caused by the Quicken application.  I have had this happen to my Quicken datafile twice recently.  I cannot tell you exactly what causes this, but it can happen.

    On the other issue of not being able to know what the correct opening balance "should be", I was suggesting above that you might be able to determine that from old bank statements, or other records you may have for the account, or by temporarily opening a backup Quicken datafile dated before you noticed this recent change.  If you try this - make sure that you first manually change the datafile name before you open it, so that what you do will not affect your current datafile.

    Let me know how that goes.

    Frankx

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Answers

  • mact
    mact Member ✭✭
    I've had similar cases. Gave up on trying to resolve it.
  • NotACPA
    NotACPA SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 31
    A "Prior Balance" that differs from the ending balance on your last statement is the result of:
    • A deleted "R" transaction
    • A transaction manually marked as "R"
    • A "R" transaction manually remarked as something other than "R"
    • A Transfer transaction where the other side was deleted/changed
    This is because that Prior Balance is the sum of all "R" transactions in the account, including future dated transactions.
    SO, what changed?
    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription, Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
  • stuckyville
    stuckyville Member ✭✭
    @NotACPA - I guess it's possible I might have manually marked something as reconciled, but I don't specifically remember. In any event, how would I go about resolving it and re-establishing a clean reconciliation?
  • mshiggins
    mshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    You may find this recent comment on another discussion about reconciling helpful:

    https://community.quicken.com/discussion/comment/20257871#Comment_20257871

    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • NotACPA
    NotACPA SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    To correct prior reconciliation errors, pull out your old statements and work backwards until the date and closing amount on a statement match what is in Q.  Then UN-reconcile everything after that point by selecting all transactions and setting them to "cleared".
    Then re-reconcile month-by-month.  Once you find the error, things should go quite quickly.
    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription, Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
  • stuckyville
    stuckyville Member ✭✭
    @NotACPA - THanks for the response, and sorry for the delay. I pulled the last 3 months of bank statements (Jan, Feb, Mar), with the March statement being the one I'm trying to reconcile. None of the balances in Q matched a bank statement closing amount, but that is to be expected, seeing as some transactions are posted to Q. on a given date but don't clear the bank until a day or two later. Particularly true of paper checks that may not get cashed until a week or more after the fact. In fact, we had two sizeable checks during the Jan. statement period that didn't cash/clear until the Feb statement period. I also printed the bank account register from Q, for all dates beginning Dec 1. Bank statements normally close on the 10th of the month. Then we went through and matched every txn on the bank statements with the register, also noting if the register correctly showed 'R' or 'C', depending on the statement we were working. Found no discrepancies. I'm strongly considering just making an adjusting txn but not sure . . .
  • NotACPA
    NotACPA SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    You apparently missed the part about UN-reconciling everything after Q and the statements matched ... then re-reconciling from there.
    DON'T make an adjustment.  Locating the error is preferable in the long run.
    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription, Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
  • stuckyville
    stuckyville Member ✭✭
    Understood, but I'm not exactly sure about " work backwards until the date and closing amount on a statement match what is in Q. ". Are you saying to just compare the account balance in Q (for the last transaction on a closing date) with the closing balance and date of the bank statement? I want to make sure I understand exactly what I'm doing before I start making changes in Q. And of course, once I'm ready, I'll take a backup before I start.
  • NotACPA
    NotACPA SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 3
    YES to both.  Take a backup first, and compare the closing balance on the statements, and the date and amount in Q, until they match.  Then UN-reconcile everything after that point and re-reconcile.
    It's only when Q and your statements match that you've got your last good reconciliation.  So, reconciling month by month from that point forward is the only reliable way to find the error.
    Once you find the error, reconciling should proceed quite quickly ... unless there are multiple errors.
    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription, Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
  • stuckyville
    stuckyville Member ✭✭
    Ok, this may take some time. Thank you for your patience.
  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 3
    Hi @stuckyville

    Your current problem is most likely because of a change to the account's opening balance.  Some users have recently had this happen to them including me). 

    Before you do anything else, take a look at the checking account's opening balance.  A lot of folks start their accounts in Quicken from day 1 - therefore have a zero opening balance, so it is easy for them to see the change.  If you started this particular checking account with - other than a zero balance, then I'd suggest that you search your records to see if you can determine what the opening balance should be.  Another possible method to determine that opening balance would be to open a backup file from before this problem surfaced (maybe a few months ago) and look for the opening account balance.  Then revert to your current datafile, and compare it.

    The fix is simple - you change the opening balance of the account to what it actually was originally and  before you started seeing this problem.

    Let me know how this goes.

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  • stuckyville
    stuckyville Member ✭✭
    @NotACPA - I retreived the last 6 months of bank statements, and am unable to find any match between a 'closing balance' and a point in the account register in Q. But then, I'd really be surprised if it did, due to the fact that some items don't clear in the same statement period as they are posted. So, I don't know how to identify at which point I need to start 'un-reconciling' items. On thing I did notice was this: We did not initiate any bank transactions for a few days, allowing all posted items to clear. This allowed my Q. balance to get into sync with what the bank says my balance should be - no discrepancies due to previously posted items still waiting to clear. At this point the difference between Q. and the bank was exactly the difference between what Q. says my opening recon balance should be vs. what the actual statement says. I really don't like the idea of simply posting an adjusting entry to get things back in sync, but at this point I don't see any alternative.
  • stuckyville
    stuckyville Member ✭✭
    @Frankx - thanks for the reply. On the surface, what you say makes sense, but in practice 1) I can't see that I've done anything to change the opening balance, and 2) would have no way of knowing what it should be, in order to correct it.
  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓
    Hi again @stuckyville

    Just to be clear, I believe that you did not do "anything to change the opening balance", rather I believe that the change to the opening balance was caused by the Quicken application.  I have had this happen to my Quicken datafile twice recently.  I cannot tell you exactly what causes this, but it can happen.

    On the other issue of not being able to know what the correct opening balance "should be", I was suggesting above that you might be able to determine that from old bank statements, or other records you may have for the account, or by temporarily opening a backup Quicken datafile dated before you noticed this recent change.  If you try this - make sure that you first manually change the datafile name before you open it, so that what you do will not affect your current datafile.

    Let me know how that goes.

    Frankx

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

                                             - - - - Quicken User since 1984 - - - 
      -  If you find this reply helpful, please click "Helpful" (below), so others will know! Thank you.  -

  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 4
    BTW - I should have read your earlier post to NotACPA before I posted my last message. 

    Now that I see what you have described - at the time the bank and your Quicken account were in balance -  I am convinced that Quicken altered your opening balance.  And it sounds like simply deleting that opening balance will likely correct the account.

    Frankx

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

                                             - - - - Quicken User since 1984 - - - 
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  • stuckyville
    stuckyville Member ✭✭
    @Frankx -

    Success! But still bothered ... I actually have two checking accounts with the same bank, both with reconciliation issues surrounding a disagreement over 'prior balance' when reconciling. So I printed off the the account register of each, beginning with the very first deposit that created the 'opening balance', and running a couple of days. This was just to give a hard-copy of the 'current' opening balance.

    Then I created a backup file, so I could get back to my current position. Next I restored from the oldest auto-backup, which dated from Jan 6, 2022. At that point I saw that the 'opening' balance transactions were different, and by exactly the amount of the 'prior balance' discrepancy on my reconciliation attempts.

    So I restored from the backup I had just made, getting me back to my current position. Next I modified the 'opening balance' transactions in each account, to match that shown from my Jan 6 backup. At this point the reconciliation of each account was exactly as expected. 'Prior balance' agreed between Q and the bank statement, and the actual reconciliation came out with zero errors.

    So, does anyone have any idea why Q would have changed that opening transaction in each account? That's rather scary, in and of itself.
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