Quicken Mac Bank Opening Balance


With the recent Quicken Update (~ May 7, 2024) something changed that caused my Bank of America online balance to no longer match the Quicken Account Balance. I check these everytime I do my updates, to ensure that my online balances any my accounting balances match (and they did until TODAY).

Event though the account had been reconciled to a month back, all of my Balance amounts in my Bank of America account were off by several hundred dollars. Once I determined that I needed to change my opening balance, then everthing fell into place and my Quicken Account now matches the Online bank balance. This took a few hours to trouble shoot.

So my question to Quicken is …. if you "Reconcile" an account every month …. to ensure that you are balanced to your online bank statement … why would those transactions not be "locked" and why would balances be allowed to change? Especially the Account Opening Balance. Does this product conform to rules for Accounting Software?

I have been challenged with this product before but this is a little frightening … that a software "register" can change its "balances" following "reconciliation".

Fortunately I use Quickbooks Online for my business …. and it most certainly would not allow you to go back in time (SEVERAL YEARS) and change accounting data.

FEATURE REQUIREMENT: a lockdown of transactions at YEAR END and MONTH END. That way your account balances will never "drift" whan changes are made to the underlying product !


  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    edited May 13

    @ddochter First, please understand that this is a Quicken Community forum, so you're not speaking with executives or developers from Quicken here; it's mostly fellow Quicken users trying to help each other, along with a handful of Quicken moderators who keep the site organized. So when you ask a question "to Quicken", you won't get an answer from Quicken.

    Next: "Does this product conform to rules for Accounting Software?" Definitely not! Quicken is personal finance software, and it does not follow all the rules and constraints that you find in business accounting software. For example: you can change or delete any past transaction, even one which has been reconciled. In accounting software, once a transaction is posted, it can't changed; correcting or eliminating it requires a separate adjusting entry, so there is a complete audit trail of everything which has been done. Quicken doesn't do that, intentionally; it's not designed for accountants or bookkeepers, it's designed for average users to enter and track their personal accounts. Another example: unlike double-entry accounting software where every transaction has an equal debit and credit, Quicken allows you to make money show up or disappear using special categories like "Adjustment" and "Transfer". That's because users often may not have all their accounts represented in Quicken, as one would in business accounting, and there needs to be a way to have money flow from or to other accounts a user doesn't have in Quicken, without categorizing it as income or expense.

    The opening balance transaction in a Quicken account can be fixed or variable ("live"). People sometimes start using Quicken at a point in time, but eventually go back further in time to add older transactions, so a variable starting balance can make it easy to always keep the balance of an account in Quicken matching the balance reported by the financial institution. I think this causes as many problems as it solves, but that's the way they've designed it.

    There is an Idea post (a feature request) to be able to lock old transactions/periods, which sounds like something you'd want. You should add your vote and your comment in this thread:

    Idea posts are forwarded to the development team when they reach a large enough number of votes to indicate there's some critical man sof users supporting it. For Quicken Mac, typically an Idea topic needs at least 30 votes to be sent to the developers for assessment. You'll see that this Idea has only received 7 votes over the past year since it was created, so it needs more user support to advance for the developers's consideration.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Jon
    Jon SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    edited May 13

    When you create an account in Quicken it defaults to having a "live" opening balance transaction. Quicken will change the value of this transaction as necessary to make your account balance match the balance reported by the bank. You don't have to stick with that, though - you can remove it & replace it with a fixed opening balance transaction & that should stop this behavior in the future. I didn't use live opening balance transactions for the reasons you mention, but none of my active accounts have any opening balance transactions since they were all opened after I started using Quicken (so they start from $0).

    AFAIK the live opening balance transaction is the only one that behaves that way.

  • ddochter
    ddochter Member ✭✭

    Fantastic responses!

    I used to work with software companies (i.e. Microsoft and Oracle) and their product teams do look at the forums.

    I will follow-up on the recommendations that you have provided. Thank you for that.

    I agree with the issue of time spent fixing spurious issues, (e g. chasing the bank "feed" issues was a nightmare. I am pleased that issue has finally settled down).

    I also understand that Quicken is not a professional accounting system, however I recall the email that I received from the Cxx promising all the exciting new features that we were going to see when the logo was updated recently (i.e. a year back). Please understand that I believe that Quicken is a good product ... I simply would like the software to work consistently and reliability. Spuriously changing Account Balances can be unnerving....