Why does the Home Tab's "Spending by Category" Display incorrect amounts? (Q Mac)

Clayton Blackburn
Clayton Blackburn Member ✭✭
edited January 24 in Reports (Mac)
From the first day that the updated software provided the potentially very helpful "Spending by Category" display the amounts are completely incorrect, showing just a fraction of the totals from each category.

Best Answer

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Answer ✓
    @Clayton Blackburn I think you'll find that the Payees you're missing are, for some reason, marked as Hidden in the Payees window. To see Hidden Payees, make sure the "Show Hidden" box at the top of the window is checked. You can click on the Hidden column heading to sort the list of Payees with al Hidden Payees at the top.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993

Answers

  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Question: when you are checking the totals, are you checking for the same time period that is selected in the popup menu at the top right of the card?
    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
  • Good question: yes. I haven't run a regular report, though -- maybe that will show incorrect amounts too. My biggest monthly expense is "Rent," which doesn't appear at all in the snapshot: that's what alerted me to the issue a few months ago.
  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Let's see what a Transactions by Category report shows and maybe that will help figure out the discrepancy.
    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
  • Good idea: will try this later.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @Clayton Blackburn Is it a simple transaction or one with a split? There is no Transfer on the transaction, is there? Is Rent a sub-category of another category, or a main category? Can you also capture a screenshot of one of your rent transactions and post it. (You can block out the amount or Payee name if you wish.) 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Rent is a main category and, as you can see in the screenshots, doesn't even appear in the snapshot.
  • Here's screenshots showing the large difference in the Dining category for last month.
  • I should add the information that my Quicken database is very old. The oldest transactions are dated September 2000. It's always been a Mac version, not Windows, but (if I remember correctly) had to be migrated to an Apple Intel chip version at some point.
  • Jon
    Jon SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    edited January 25
    TLDR: Take a look at your Payees window & see if the missing transactions are for payees marked as Hidden.


    I'm seeing a sight difference on that chart as well. 4 of the top 5 categories match up, but the 5th one (Entertainment) is coming up short. It appears to be excluding transactions from just one of the subcategories (Entertainment:Movies). The problem isn't with the subcategory - if I move one of those transactions to a different subcategory it still doesn't pick it up. And the problem isn't with the account it's in, there are other Entertainment transactions on that account that are being picked up.

    The problem, oddly enough, turned out to be with the Payee. The two transactions in question both have "Disney" as the Payee - if I change one of them to a different payee, then suddenly it gets included in the chart. Change it back to "Disney" and - poof - it's gone again. And when I looked at the list of Payees, I noticed that "Disney" wasn't listed. So I checked the "Show Hidden" box in the Payees window, and there it was - Disney was marked as a Hidden payee for some reason. I unchecked the Hidden checkbox for Disney and now the chart is correct.

    I'm not sure excluding Hidden payees from that chart is a good idea. When I mark a payee as Hidden, the only thing I expect to happen is that Quicken stops suggesting that payee when I enter a new transaction. I don't expect it to start ignoring transactions involving that payee.


    Quicken Mac subscription. Quicken user since 1990.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Well, so far I'm stumped… but I feel there's just something here we haven't uncovered yet.

    For what it's worth, I have Quicken data going back to the mid 1990s. I, too, have always been on Quicken Mac. So the age of your database should not be an issue.

    I ran a Transactions by category report for last month, and the total expenses match the total in the Home > Dashboard > Spending by Category card. And each of the 5 main categories in the Dashboard card correctly match the top 5 main categories of spending in the transaction report. In short, the two match for expenses, as one would expect.

    So why is your Dashboard showing only part of your transactions for last month? I notice you posted two screenshot of the Dashboard card se too show last month -- and the transactions are different. Do you know why that is. For instance, the first screen shot shows $6.99 of Other, and the second screen shot shows $1.99 of Other. The $5.00 difference is apparently the $5.00 of Charity in the second screenshot, but Charity doesn't show up in the first screenshot. Food & Dining is in the first screenshot, but a Food & Dining transaction in the first screenshot is part of Dining int he second screenshot. Did you re-categorize several transactions between capturing these two screenshots?

    Before going further, I should also ask the two basic and dumb-sounding troubleshooting steps: have you restarted your Mac and restarted Quicken?

    So next: your Transactions by Category report shows 20 or more Dining transactions in December. In the Dashboard, click on Dining so Quicken creates a report on the transactions it is including in Spending:Dining. Compare this report of Dining to the Transactions by Category report of Dining. What transactions are different between the two?
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Jon
    Jon SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @jacobs I think we cross-posted, take a look at my post right above yours.
    Quicken Mac subscription. Quicken user since 1990.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @Jon Yes, I was typing and didn’t see your  post before I submitted mine. I was actually thinking to look for something hidden next, so I think you’ve found the smoking gun. Nicely done! I don’t have time to test it on my file right now, but your test seems to make it pretty inescapable what’s going on. And once confirmed, I would say this has to be reported as a bug; spending is spending whether the Payees are hidden from lists or not.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    edited January 25
    @Jon @Clayton Blackburn I have done additional testing, and Jon was dead on in isolating the cause of this problem.

    It's easy to see it happen in real-time.
    • Open the Home > Dashboard, and the the Spending by Category to Month to Date. 
    • Open Window > Payees & Rules, and move it to the side so you can see the Spending by Category card.
    • Identify a Payee who has one or more transactions this month, and search for that Payee in the Payees window.
    • Click the Hidden checkbox for the Payee in the Payee window, and observe the Spending by Category total amount and category breakdowns instantly refresh to reflect the exclusion of this Payee's spending. Click the Hidden checkbox again, and swatch the total in the card increase and the category breakdowns refresh.
    I also checked the Top Spending Payees card, and it does not exhibit this behavior; that is, making one the of the Payees in that card Hidden does not cause the Payee to disappear and the card to update.

    Marking a Payee as Hidden should only make it not appear in menus/drop-down lists; it should not cause the Payee to disappear from reports. And indeed, as we've seen, hidden Payees correctly show up in Transaction by Category reports. It has to be considered a bug that the Spending by Category report is excluding transaction to hidden Payees.

    I have submitted a bug report for this issue. Unfortunately, we get no acknowledgement of bug reports, so there's no way to know if the developers see and understand the problem, and plan to fix it. Hopefully they do, and hopefully it's an easy fix in the query used to generate that card, so it can be incorporated in the next release. 



    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • @jacobs @jon @ricko Thanks so much for such in-depth analyses. I'll take another look based on your suggestions. The reason that the two snapshot screenshots differed slightly is because I noticed one category was incorrect: correcting it rolled the amounts of the two categories into one, "dining".
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Answer ✓
    @Clayton Blackburn I think you'll find that the Payees you're missing are, for some reason, marked as Hidden in the Payees window. To see Hidden Payees, make sure the "Show Hidden" box at the top of the window is checked. You can click on the Hidden column heading to sort the list of Payees with al Hidden Payees at the top.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Clayton Blackburn
    Clayton Blackburn Member ✭✭
    @jacobs The list of hidden payees seems to exceed 500 entries (which includes mostly variations of each payee name). Now I'm wondering what is causing virtually all of my payees to be marked "hidden" and why so many variations of virtually all frequently-used entries exist: I suspect the culprit is the mobile version of Quicken running on my iPad: fodder, I suppose, for another thread. Thanks much to you for the solution and to @jon and @ricko for their contributions!