Uncleared transactions going back several years, messes up Net Worth report

I am using the latest version of Quicken Premier, on Win 10 64 Pro. I need advice on the best practices for dealing with old debit and credit card transactions that have been "lost" in the system and will never clear.

My active Quicken file contains all my transactions from Jan 1, 2016 for all active accounts, checking, credit, savings, and investment. My issue is that there are old debit and credit charges, some going back to 2016, that will never be reconciled. I always enter debit and credit transactions manually as part of managing cash flow.

The issue means that my Net Worth report is messed up, and my bank thinks I have several thousand more in my checking and savings accounts than Quicken reports. And my credit balances in my Quicken account are considerably less than the real balances.

I don't want to simply mark these transactions as Reconciled, because they haven't been. What are best practices here for bringing my Quicken accounts into alignment with the bank?
Been using Quicken (and TurboTax) since DOS days in 1990s.

Best Answers

  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    The best practice would have to properly reconcile (find and fix any differences) that time that the occurred.  The next best practice would be to go back and reconcile them properly now.

    But it really sounds like you want "How do I kludge this so that my reports look sort of right?".

    About the only thing I have for that would be to put in balance adjustments at whatever interval you need to satisfy making the net worth report "seem right" for the interval you pick for the net worth graph.
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  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    Well in all of my 62 years I have never had a debit/POS or credit card transaction "lost", so I can't really comment on the "why", but if you do know that the transaction doesn't appear on the financial institution's statement then I guess the "proper/best" thing to do would be void the transaction.  That would be what you would do it you sent out a check and they never cashed it.  Note that if the transaction is a transfer it will be affecting both accounts.  But if that is a problem that is even more strange and one account would have the transaction, but not the other.

    You can right click on a transaction and select to void it.  That will putt **VOID** at the beginning of payee and zero the amount.  Some people prefer to enter the amount in the memo before doing that.  You can also do more than one at a time by using multiple select.  If you hold down the Ctrl key and click on a transaction that will select it without deselecting the ones you have selected already (another click on the same transaction toggles the select off).
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Answers

  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    The best practice would have to properly reconcile (find and fix any differences) that time that the occurred.  The next best practice would be to go back and reconcile them properly now.

    But it really sounds like you want "How do I kludge this so that my reports look sort of right?".

    About the only thing I have for that would be to put in balance adjustments at whatever interval you need to satisfy making the net worth report "seem right" for the interval you pick for the net worth graph.
    Signature:
    (I'm always using the latest Quicken Windows Premier subscription version)
    This is my website: http://www.quicknperlwiz.com/
  • Phil Burton
    Phil Burton Member ✭✭✭
    @Chris_QPW

    Thanks for the quick report. I know that there has to be a kludge, but I'm not sure what would be the "best practice" here. I have discovered that for whatever reason, some transactions are entered into two credit card or a credit card and checking/debit card accounts. So first I search for duplicated entries.

    That being done, I still have all these transactions that never get to the bank. I save a PDF of each month's bank statement for each account, and I've gone back and verified that these transactions never appear. And I always balance all my accounts down to the last cent, have done so for years, so I don't think I'm overlooking transactions.

    I find it weird that some debit/POS or credit card transactions simply get "lost" somehow, but it is what it is.

    Thoughts anyone? I can't be the only Quicken user with this issue.
    Been using Quicken (and TurboTax) since DOS days in 1990s.
  • Phil Burton
    Phil Burton Member ✭✭✭
    @Chris_QPW I meant, "quick response."
    Been using Quicken (and TurboTax) since DOS days in 1990s.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    Well in all of my 62 years I have never had a debit/POS or credit card transaction "lost", so I can't really comment on the "why", but if you do know that the transaction doesn't appear on the financial institution's statement then I guess the "proper/best" thing to do would be void the transaction.  That would be what you would do it you sent out a check and they never cashed it.  Note that if the transaction is a transfer it will be affecting both accounts.  But if that is a problem that is even more strange and one account would have the transaction, but not the other.

    You can right click on a transaction and select to void it.  That will putt **VOID** at the beginning of payee and zero the amount.  Some people prefer to enter the amount in the memo before doing that.  You can also do more than one at a time by using multiple select.  If you hold down the Ctrl key and click on a transaction that will select it without deselecting the ones you have selected already (another click on the same transaction toggles the select off).
    Signature:
    (I'm always using the latest Quicken Windows Premier subscription version)
    This is my website: http://www.quicknperlwiz.com/
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2020
    Offhand I can't think of a credit card charge transaction never showing up in a subsequent statement unless I've made a mistake and entered the charge in the wrong Quicken Account
    I've probably had a handful of checks I've written over the years - more years that @Chris_QPW - never get cashed. 
    I've never used a debit card in a POS transaction so I can't make a comment about those, but I'm guessing my experience would be the same; the transaction would never show up in my "BankA" statement only if I recorded the transaction in my BankA Quicken Account but actually used my "BankB" debit card. 
    The point of this bit of discourse is that most Financial Institutions have very robust accounting systems and statistically are going to be more accurate, as far as the "pure numbers" go, than any Quicken accounting system that relies on human entry of transactions. (Don't get me wrong here.  I think manual entry of transactions is "best practices" when it comes to getting your accounting accurate, I'm simply pointing out that humans probably make more errors entering numbers than computers do.)
    If you have lots of missing credit card charges and POS transactions stretching back over 4 years then my instinct is that you've been fairly consistently making entry errors of one sort or another. 
    It's good to hear that you always reconcile down to the cent - that's a critical element of "good accounting hygiene" - but simply being able to reconcile down to the penny isn't enough.  The next step is to think a bit about the "outstanding items" - those transactions that allow you to balance your accounting to the bank's statement. 
    Having a transaction or two slip over from one month in your records to next month on the bank's statement isn't uncommon and regularly happens for transactions occurring near a "statement date", but having outstanding items that stretch back two months or more almost certainly means there's a mistake somewhere, and your job as Chief Accounting Officer of your enterprise (file) means you have to determine "what gives" so you can correct any errors (if they exist) in near real time.  It's this second aspect of "reconciling" that you've omitted.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    I want to back up here, because I see that I didn't ask a few fundamental questions.

    Did you hand enter the transactions that didn't show up on your financial institution's statement?

    Did you notice these transactions to be missing when you reconciled?

    The reason I ask is maybe because of the way you stated it maybe I jumped to the wrong conclusion.

    Reconciling is the process of bringing your accounts and the financial institutions into agreement.  Even if you balanced to the penny that doesn't ensure that you have reconciled.  If you have transactions in your account that the financial institution account doesn't have, and you can tell that they will never show up in your account then to finish out the reconcile you have to "do something" with the transactions.  In the case of checks, that is voiding them.  If they aren't checks I can't imagine how they would be there, but I would have certainly done "something" to resolve the differences long ago.

    But that brings me back to the point of this comment..  If at that time everything was fine, but you are just now noticing the problem, then I suggest that the problem might be a Quicken bug.

    People using Quicken Mobile/Web Sync have reported all kinds of strange problems with that sync.  As in transactions that were marked reconciled changing to cleared or uncleared status.  There is also the possibility for removed or add transactions that never existed.

    Also recently Quicken Inc has started switching some customers to "new connection method called QCS" for Express Web Connect accounts.  This is the same kind of sync and could have the same kind of problems (but much less likely).   If this is only happening in Express Web Connect accounts then this is another possible reason/bug that could be causing it.  But again it would be something that just happened not something that happened in 2016.

    Can this explain what you are seeing?
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  • Phil Burton
    Phil Burton Member ✭✭✭
    Thanks to all who replied.

    About transactions that have been "lost." Yes, banks may have very robust systems, but that doesn't mean that individual businesses do. Case in point: As a 1099 consultant, I get reimbursed by the consulting company or the client for travel and related expenses, and I keep all the receipts as backup. For this one restaurant, where I had lunch for 3 consecutive days, none of the credit card transactions ever got charged to my account. I just checked those transactions recently. Those transactions were from 2017.

    Since I need to keep the uncleared transactions in my Quicken register, just in case I get "invited" by the IRS for an audit, I'm going to take the approach of a yearly or quarterly memo adjustment to each account's register. If/when/ever one of those old transactions ever shows up, then I will go back and adjust the memo adjustment.

    For foreign travel, the exchange transaction fees sometimes show up months after the actual foreign transactions, so I know that the banks/stores/etc. are not always prompt in charging my account.

    Again, thanks to everyone for helping me think through this issue.

    Phil
    Been using Quicken (and TurboTax) since DOS days in 1990s.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks to all who replied.

    For this one restaurant, where I had lunch for 3 consecutive days, none of the credit card transactions ever got charged to my account.
    I guess they just liked you so much that they felt you should get your meals for free.   ;)

    Personally I have never been so "lucky".  Well there was the time a certain dentist office lost my check, twice!  But they certainly did want to get paid.   :)
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  • Phil Burton
    Phil Burton Member ✭✭✭
    > @Chris_QPW said:

    > But that brings me back to the point of this comment..  If at that time everything was fine, but you are just now noticing the problem, then I suggest that the problem might be a Quicken bug.
    >
    > People using Quicken Mobile/Web Sync have reported all kinds of strange problems with that sync.  As in transactions that were marked reconciled changing to cleared or uncleared status.  There is also the possibility for removed or add transactions that never existed.
    >
    > Also recently Quicken Inc has started switching some customers to "new connection method called QCS" for Express Web Connect accounts.  This is the same kind of sync and could have the same kind of problems (but much less likely).   If this is only happening in Express Web Connect accounts then this is another possible reason/bug that could be causing it.  But again it would be something that just happened not something that happened in 2016.
    >
    > Can this explain what you are seeing?
    Chris,

    Thanks for this explanation. So far I have held off with Mobile/Web
    sync because of similar issues between two versions of Adobe Lightroom. It may be only a coincidence that both Lightroom "Classic" (desktop version) and
    Quicken use sqlite3 for their desktop software and some other database for their mobile/cloud version. Getting database work right is probably harder than it seems for development teams that focus on other areas.

    In summary I am using only the "classic" version of Quicken, and in any case, some of my uncleared transactions go back to 2016. Back in 2016-2017, I noticed that certain transactions were never processed by the bank. Given that my bank usually does a very good job of transaction processing, I'm sure the issues lie with the individual stores/restaurants/etc.
    Been using Quicken (and TurboTax) since DOS days in 1990s.
  • Phil Burton
    Phil Burton Member ✭✭✭
    > @Tom Young said:
    ... but having outstanding items that stretch back two months or more almost certainly means there's a mistake somewhere, and your job as Chief Accounting Officer of your enterprise (file) means you have to determine "what gives" so you can correct any errors (if they exist) in near real time.  It's this second aspect of "reconciling" that you've omitted.

    Yes, up to now I've punted on the "what gives" but I finally decided that I needed to address this issue, but didn't know the best way to do that. Hence this thread.
    Been using Quicken (and TurboTax) since DOS days in 1990s.
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2020
    .....