Wrong prior balance

fridge23 Unconfirmed, Member

After much googling, I found numerous posts about wrong prior balances. Despite long time users stating that they didn't change anything that was reconciled, the answer is ALWAYS you did something wrong. Guess the user is always wrong and the software couldn't possibly have a bug.

Well I'm now in the same boat and there is no simple way to fix the problem. What an insane way for a consumer software application to work. I literally have decades of data in this app. Now what? I could understand if this product was used to run a Fortune 500 company that there would strict control over this. But I'm just trying to balance my stinking checking account.

  • User is not allowed to override the prior balance (really?!?)
  • Data file is in a propriety format so I can't dive in to see what the problem is
  • There is no changelog that I could find that would at least allow me to see why this happened
  • Quicken does not provide any official guidance on how to fix the issue

Somewhere in my data file, there is a prior balance saved. Has to be. The previous month reconciles fine. The next month does not despite there being no missing transactions. I've tried resetting the transaction status - no joy. Export the transactions to QIF and import into a new data - no joy - the problem is still there despite exporting about a year's worth of data. Export to CSV to examine the data and find a problem - no joy. Let Quicken "adjust" the balance - no joy - the next month is also jacked up. The weird part? I'm trying to reconcile in this year, yet the problem has manifested itself in March of 2022! I've been doing the reconcile cycle for a year and now it shows up?

Ok, I'll humor Quicken and say "Yes I jacked up my register and fiddled with reconciled transactions". So I can't override the prior balance and let the app recalculate????

What the heck Quicken??? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO? 🤬


  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭

    "Somewhere in my data file, there is a prior balance saved. Has to be."

    Nope, it's not, and that's an element of the problem. The prior balance is calculated when you reconcile and is the sum of all transactions in that Account with an "R" in the Clr column.

    "The previous month reconciles fine."

    I expect that the proper statement here is that the previous month reconciled fine, but between the time of last month's reconcile and this month's reconcile, something changed such that the calculation of this month's Opening Balance didn't equal last month's Closing Balance. Sometimes this issue can be attributed to "Quicken" in some fashion. Reports of Opening Balances in Accounts getting changed after downloads are not uncommon, and are real. Duplicate transactions being downloaded or the act of downloading deleting some prior transaction(s) also get reported, and that can change the balance in the Account.

    "I'm trying to reconcile in this year, yet the problem has manifested itself in March of 2022!"

    So you did find out what changed and solved the problem? What was it? Was a transaction with an "R" in the Clr column changed, deleted, or a new "R" transaction sneaked in?

    "Ok, I'll humor Quicken and say "Yes I jacked up my register and fiddled with reconciled transactions". So I can't override the prior
    balance and let the app recalculate????

    What the heck Quicken??? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?"

    Assuming Quicken can properly calculate an Opening Balance - a pretty good bet - then you either find the problem that Quicken created, (I'm thinking in particular the change in the Account's Opening Balance), or that you created, and fix it. Or, say "the heck with it" and create a "plug" entry. It happens that the programming is such that the plug entry is "as of" the current reconciliation date and not as of the prior reconciliation date, i.e., a plug to the Opening Balance, but in either case the result is exactly the same.

  • fridge23
    fridge23 Unconfirmed, Member

    Tom - thanks for the reply

    Perhaps I can explain better with some actual dates. I went back several months checking old previously reconciled months to see if I can spot when the problem started. The last good reconciled month as compared to my paper statement is 2/25/2022. Doing a reconcile on that ending date gives me the wrong prior balance but I type in the correct balance and ending balance as per the paper statement. After hitting OK, Quicken gives me a "no uncleared items to reconcile" dialog box - assume this means all is good?

    Now the next paper statement dated 3/24/2022. Same thing, prior balance is wrong so I punch in the correct prior balance and ending balance. This time Quicken tells me I have a large "Opening Balance Difference" of $15k! I check every transaction in the register after 2/25/2022 and find nothing missing and nothing new. No transactions that somehow flipped to cleared or uncleared. The reconcile dialog box shows no transactions. The "Cleared Balance" and "Ending Balance" are also huge. The "Difference" amount is $14k.

    One of the posts I read said to mark the transactions after the last good statement as cleared and redo reconciling. So I performed an experiment and cleared several weeks starting on 3/24. Then went thru the reconcile process. Still the same problem. Large "Opening Balance Difference" but the numbers are slight different.

    I'm baffled as to how I'm supposed to find the problem. There is nothing out of place between the first and last transactions in the register for the 3/24 statement. At the moment, I'm tired of fiddling with Quicken. I've literally spent hours trying to figure out what is going. When I get my patience back I'll try again to have Quicken just adjust the balance and see if the 4/22/2022 balances are correct.

  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'll admit I'm not entirely following along with what you're doing here but it does sound like there might be more than one error in the data.

    One thing to try is to restore ta backup that's as of the prior period "known good" reconcile or shortly thereafter, create a New Worth or Account Balances report with a date range from the time that Account was created to today, and only that one Account feeding the report. Then establish the smallest "Interval" that Quicken will allow. Export that to Excel. Do the same thing for your current "live" file.

    You'd expect that everything else being equal the Interval balances between the two reports would match, but if they don't match you can at least spot in which period(s) the change(s) occurred. That would point to transaction(s) that was deleted, added, or had its dollar amount changed.

    To try and prevent these kinds of problems or at least help establish the source of the problems, I make it a habit after each month end to password protect transactions prior to that date, I have each Account's Opening Balance noted in the Memo field of a $0 transaction with the same date as Quicken's Opening Balance entry, and in my checking Account (only, because of the volume of transactions), each month end I create a $0 transaction with "Statement" in the Check # column with the month end dollar amount in the Account in the memo field.

  • fridge23
    fridge23 Unconfirmed, Member

    I was working my way backwards in time to see if any of the previous months that were reconciled showed a bad prior balance. When I try to re-reconcile a month, the "good" months shows a nothing to reconcile dialog box. The first wrong prior balance I encounter was 3/2022. Not sure if this is a sound method to determine where the problem started…

    Unfortunately, I was running low of disk space and deleted a bunch of backups. I don't have anything past 11/2022. The oldest backup is also showing inconsistent prior balance.

    Thanks for the tips, I'll give them a try. No holding out much hope that I can fix it properly. Does Quicken tech support visit the forums?

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