Add Opening Balance to Checking Account "Unreconciled" Filter

Gary B.
Gary B. Member ✭✭
I’m a new Quicken user and am wondering if other others in the community have questioned the lack of an opening balance value when viewing checking accounts using the “Unreconciled” filter.

Without an opening balance that reflects the ending balance from the last reconciliation, none of the balances that appear on the screen are correct.

I realize that the “All Transactions” filter does display the correct balances, but I’m not interested in scrolling through months of transactions to get to current month activity. To me, that’s what the unreconciled filter is for.

Thoughts?

Comments

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    I don't think I understand. The opening balance of the account should be reconciled. when you do your first reconciliation after establishing the account in Quicken, that opening balance would have been one of the transactions you reconciled to complete that reconciliation, right?

    The list of uncleared transactions can't show you a proper running balance, because it's only showing a limited subset of the transactions in the account. If you're just viewing uncleared transactions, then the balance is showing you the total of those transactions.  Quicken shows the values in gray and italic to convey that this is a running balance of just those transactions being viewed -- not your actual account balance.

    When you do an account reconciliation, Quicken does show the ending balance from the last reconciliation.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • UKR
    UKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Do look for the 3 balances at the bottom of your Quicken for Windows register. Regardless of the filter status and what the calculated Running Balance shows, these amounts always represent what is known about your account's actual balance.

    My recommendation, to avoid confusion, is to always show an unfiltered register with all transactions sorted by Date.
    Use filters or Register Search only if you're looking for something specific. Reset filters or Search when done.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @Gary B.  Tell us if you're using Quicken Mac or Quicken Windows, as the replies are somewhat different depending on the platform.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Gary B.
    Gary B. Member ✭✭
    Windows
  • Gary B.
    Gary B. Member ✭✭
    Hello Jacobs.


    Thanks for your response.

    I didn’t have any issues with my first reconciliation; everything balanced as planned.

    On your second point about the uncleared, or unreconciled transaction filter in my case, not being able to provide proper running balances, I disagree. If you start with the ending account balance from the last reconciliation as your opening balance for the current month and add any deposits and subtract any withdrawals (checks, etc.) you will get the correct balance(s). Granted some of these transactions may not have cleared the bank yet, but assuming that they all will, the running balance on the unreconciled screen would be correct. As it is now, those balances are incorrect because the software hasn’t taken into account the opening balance in the account for the current checking cycle. That opening balance should appear at the top of the unreconciled screen before any deposits or withdrawals.

    I don’t carry a large balance in my checking account because it is not an interest-bearing account, so it’s important to me to be able to see exact balances as I enter transactions into Quicken.

    Although I’m just getting started with Quicken, it appears to me that using the “All Transactions” view will display every reconciled transaction since the creation of the account requiring me to scroll through lots of transactions in order to locate the current months activity. It seems like the unreconciled filter should do just that and provide running balances.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @Gary B.  I'm a Quicken Mac user, so I'm going to bow out of this conversation after this reply, because there are differences in the layout and function of the screens we're discussing in Quicken Windows.

    What puzzles me about your concern is this: if you don't filter the screen to show unreconciled transactions, the register shows your up-to-date running balance. You say, "I don’t carry a large balance in my checking account because it is not an interest-bearing account, so it’s important to me to be able to see exact balances as I enter transactions into Quicken." So why are you filtering the register? If you don't filter it, you will have the running balance you desire. And, of course, you can always see your current account balance for each account in the left account panel.

    You keep referencing All Transactions. That is a view that shows transactions for all your accounts in Quicken. It's definitely not useful for viewing a running balance, since it commingles transactions from different accounts. (In Quicken Mac, a Balance column isn't even available in the All Transactions register, since a running balance across all accounts would be meaningless.)

    A filtered view of transactions in Quicken is designed to let you see just the transactions which match the filter. Unreconciled shows you just those transactions, and an "opening balance" isn't something that is calculated for such a filtered list of transactions; "opening balance" is shown when you reconcile the account. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Gary B.
    Gary B. Member ✭✭
    Hello again Jacobs.

    To the point "You keep referencing All Transactions", I may not have been clear. I'm not referring to the link shown above all of the accounts displayed on the left side of the screen (I believe Quicken refers to that as the Accounts Bar), but rather the dropdown on the filters area of a selected account (in this case, a checking account). The three filters dropdowns are Dates, Types and Transactions.

    Your last paragraph gets right to my point. When I choose the "unreconciled" filter from the drop down, I would like to see an opening balance line at the top of the screen that shows the balance in the account as of the last bank reconciliation. That balance should then be used to calculate the running balances for the other transactions / reminders that appear for the account. The math works and the filter eliminates all previously reconciled transactions from view.

    The bottom line is that when I'm looking at a check register, I'm only interest in transaction activity since the last reconciliation along with accurate running balances. You have to have an opening balance for that to work.

    I'm suggesting a change in the design. I don't know if these posts percolate up to the design team but thought I would share the idea.
  • q_lurker
    q_lurker SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    UKR said:
    ... 
    My recommendation, to avoid confusion, is to always show an unfiltered register with all transactions sorted by Date.
    Use filters or Register Search only if you're looking for something specific. Reset filters or Search when done.
    FWIW, my preference to avoid confusion is to use an unfiltered register with transactions sorted by Clr status. “R”econciled transactions will be grouped by date at the top, “c”leared transactions will follow by their date sequence. Uncleared transactions will be grouped at the bottom and that is where the register typically opens. The balance column is effectively a running balance. 

    What you seem to really be asking for is, when filtered, Quicken should present one catch-all transaction representing all other transactions so that the balance column has a sense of reality to it. I don’t see that happening because, when filtered, that is not what the balance column is supposed to be. 

    HTH
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    This kind of issue has been hotly debated over the years.

    Quicken has always had a register design that is "report like", as in the running balance is simply the sum of the numbers shown.

    MS Money (and I guess other programs) do it differently, as in no matter how you filtered the register they still calculate the running balance as if the missing transactions are still there.

    When support for MS Money was discontinued and those user came to Quicken they complained a lot about this difference.  On the other hand long time Quicken users didn't want that change, they use it differently.

    One "compromise" was made.  Given that you select a time range (anything other than All Dates) the behavior changes.  Quicken will add in the previous balance to the first transaction in the date range shown.

    Examples. 
    All Dates, All Transactions:


    A week, All Transactions:


    Note, but when you talk about filtering to things like Unreconciled things get crazy.
    With All Dates and Unreconciled, it is in "Quicken Classic/report mode":


    With a time range it adds in the balance at the start of that time range:


    But of course this makes the result nonsense.  You have a starting balance that includes transactions that aren't in the calculation for the running balance.

    When you start mixing the different filtering and the fact that some people want it like it "report like" and others want running balance even if the transactions aren't being shown, it gets extremely complicated very fast.
    Signature:
    (I'm always using the latest Quicken Windows Premier subscription version)
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  • Gary B.
    Gary B. Member ✭✭
    Chris_QPW

    Thank you for that excellent explanation. I'm one of those Microsoft Money users (20 years) and the balance issue puzzled me. Since it's been hotly debated in the past I'll assume it won't get any traction with the developers going forward.

    Thanks again.
  • Gary B.
    Gary B. Member ✭✭
    Chris_QPW

    An unrelated question: How do you paste snippets of screen shots into these posts? My attempts have not been successful. I'm a Windows user.
  • splasher
    splasher SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    The ability to post screenshots comes with the number of points you have earned here in the forum and is all part of the anti-spam scheme that the Vanilla forum has implemented.
    I do believe that you can drag & drop an image file on the post, but it will show as an attachment versus an inline image like Chris_QPW was able to do.
    -splasher  using Q since 1996 -  Subscription  -  Win10
    -also older versions as needed for testing
    -Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • Gary B.
    Gary B. Member ✭✭
    Thanks Splasher.

    I'll give that a try.
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