Financial institution download setup may alter initial account balances and other mischief

cfrphoto Windows Beta Beta

I recently changed some old accounts from manual entry to connect with the financial institution. Several bad things happened:

1. After the first download of three months of transactions, the account balance on one credit card account. An amount of $602.04 was added to the initial balance, posted in the late 1990s. It was possible to determine what happened by downloading the account register to Excel and downloading the same account from a backup created before enabling online access. All of the amounts matched except for the initial balance. This is part of the second issue listed next.

2. The account had been manually reconciled through the 25th of March. The accept/reject downloaded transaction window, inconveniently located at the bottom of the screen, listed

some reconciled transactions and missed others. Transactions that posted before the most recent reconcile data should not have been downloaded by default. It became apparent that the accept transaction process was willing to overwrite reconciled transactions and alter transfer references to reconciled transactions in another account. Recommendation: Quicken should never alter a reconciled transaction or transfer without notification as would happen with a manual change.

3. I found the accept transaction process to be dangerous. The five-line register at the bottom scrolled poorly and would lose focus and jump from the the current month to two months ago. Sometimes clicking on a transaction would affect some other transaction.

4. Renaming rules are too weak. It should be possible to also specify the category and Memo. Renaming rules should be integrated with Memorized Transactions and Scheduled Payments. What happens when a scheduled mortgage payment is accepted? Do I want to find out?

5. Critical information in the bank description is truncated. Payouts from eBay Managed Payments provide a long string of letters and numbers. The relevant number, the Payout Transaction ID is almost at the end of the string. A way to capture that number is needed. Otherwise, determining the account and Payout ID becomes a laborious manual process.

There were other problems, some possibly not yet discovered, about what went wrong when switching to financial institution downloads instead of manual entry. Highest priority would be to block or flag changes to reconciled transactions. Second on the list would be to match "same amount" transactions within a limited date range. Third would be to pay attention to when the most recent reconcile left off and pay attention to the delta between the online account balance and the reconciled balance. Finally, clean up the downloaded balance window. Side-by-side would be better than vertical to avoid eyestrain. The downloaded balance window should be tall enough to maintain a stable cursor and should not be at the bottom of the screen unless it can be expanded to at least half the screen. Identical payee and amount transactions a month apart should be flagged or highlighted to help users avoid accepting previously cleared or reconciled transactions.

With the incredible amount of effort expended to allow Quicken access to online accounts, even a modest effort to fix bugs and make the accept transaction process useable would be far more helpful than implementing a Quicken app for a smart watch or some other device too small for anyone over 25 to use. The reconcile window should retain dates and amounts as is done by the manual window. Ideally, it would be possible to import Excel data into a register to make it possible to integrate data from sources like eBay Managed Payments, PayPal, and smaller market facilitators like Hip eCommerce, or desktop data from sources like SixBit or a proprietary database.

If online financial institution data import cannot be made to work or if too much manual data input remains, it will be necessary to explore other options. Sudden growth of the business and complexities, shortcomings of eBay Managed Payments, and expansion of online selling to multiple sites has overwhelmed my ability to extract financial reporting from Quicken and other data sources. An announcement from eBay suggests that Managed Payments data can now be imported into the online version o QuickBooks. I would prefer to import the data into a desktop solution. Can Quicken respond to this or is my time using Quicken about to abruptly end?

Quicken since version 6
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