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Reconciling an Account in Quicken

Updated: 4/26/2012 | Article ID: GEN82344

When you balance, or reconcile, an account, you compare your Quicken account records against your current bank statement and resolve any differences between the two. Reconciliation can be affected by transactions that occurred in the period shown on your current bank statement as well as by earlier transactions.

Click a link below to see a brief overview of the topics covered in this section.

  • Updating and reconciling a cash flow account
    • For accounts that you track manually, the balance shown in your Quicken register rarely matches the balance shown on your bank statement, because by the time you receive your statement in the mail, you've usually entered additional transactions. Reconciling helps you synchronize your statement with your Quicken register so you can be certain that, for the month being reconciled, neither you nor the bank has recorded any transactions incorrectly. The process for reconciling to a paper statement is simply to compare your bank statement to the items displayed in the Quicken's Reconcile window.
    • For online-enabled accounts, you can reconcile either to your latest online balance or to your last paper statement. If you have reconciled this Quicken account to a paper statement before using transaction download, you may wish to continue with this method. You can switch at any time to reconciling to your online balance, which means that your Quicken register will be reconciled to information that is more current than that contained in a paper statement. However, you should not switch back to the paper statement method after reconciling to your online balance.
    • For cash accounts, you can match the account's balance to the cash on hand.
  • Making adjustments to match my statement
    Sometimes you need to make adjustments to reconcile an account. These adjustments can take the form of adding a missing transaction, editing an existing transaction, adjusting the opening balance of a statement, or adjusting the account register to agree with the account statement.
  • Reconciling for more than one month

    If you have used Quicken for a number of months and have just decided that you want to reconcile, or if you used to reconcile an account and have not done it for several months, you need to go back and reconcile your Quicken account with the bank statements for months you skipped before you start to reconcile the statement for the current month.

    Quicken reconciles one bank statement at a time. If you have two or more bank statements that need reconciling, start with the earlier statement and reconcile each one individually. If you were to add up all the previously reconciled transactions in your register, you would find that the total equals your bank statement's opening balance.

  • Using Auto Reconcile

    With accounts that you have activated for transaction download and that you reconcile to an online balance, Quicken can save you steps.

    If your Quicken balance matches your online balance, Quicken can automatically reconcile your transactions. It does this by placing an R in the Clr column of the register after your downloaded transactions are accepted in the Compare to Register window.

    If the balances do not match, Quicken displays a Statement History window to help you find the problem, highlighting the individual statement where the discrepancy occurred.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is my opening balance?

    Transactions processed in the past make up your opening balance.

    When you enter an opening balance in the Reconcile Bank Statement window, you are creating a common starting point for Quicken and your bank statement. The opening balance is the first agreement between your records and your bank statement. If your records and your bank statement do not have the same opening balance, your account will not reconcile unless you make an opening balance adjustment.

  • What should I do before I balance my account the first time?
    When you reconcile your account for the first time, make sure you
    • Enter all transactions that have occurred between the date of your last statement and the date of your current statement. Include all deposits and withdrawals, checks you've written by hand or printed with Quicken, ATM transactions, and electronic payments and transfers.
    • Enter any transactions dated before the ending balance of your last statement that have not yet appeared on any statement. You should enter these transactions in your register even if they are dated before the opening balance transaction in your Quicken account.
    • Check that the opening balance in your Quicken register matches the beginning balance on the statement you want to reconcile. If you used the closing balance from your previous statement as the opening balance for your Quicken account when you set it up, then the opening balance in Quicken should be the same as the beginning balance on the first statement you want to reconcile. If the amounts don't match, change the amount in the Deposit column of the opening balance transaction in your Quicken register.
    Balancing your account the first time may take some extra time because many transactions that appear on your bank statement haven't yet been recorded in Quicken. After you enter those transactions, and after Quicken and the bank agree on the amount of money in your account, reconciling your account each month will be easier.
  • What if I need to add earlier transactions to my account?
    You may want to add earlier transactions to your Quicken bank account so you can create more comprehensive reports and graphs and budgets. For example, if you start using Quicken in the middle of the year, you could add all your transactions from January 1 so your records for the year are complete. To keep your account information accurate, wait until you reconcile your current bank statement. Then add the earlier transactions, and balance each month separately starting with your earliest statement.
  • What's the difference between c and R in the Clr field?

    In your register the symbol c means that you have marked the transaction as cleared, the symbol R means that Quicken has reconciled the transaction.

    After you reconcile your account, the transactions you marked as cleared have an R in the Clr column. Don't delete a reconciled transaction. Also, don't manually insert or delete the R in the Clr column.

    If you click Finish Later to return to the register while you are still reconciling your account, you'll see c in the Clr field of all transactions you just marked as cleared in the Reconcile window.

    Avoid changing the amounts for reconciled transactions. Changing the amount for a reconciled transaction will affect your next reconciliation and make it more difficult to balance your account.

  • Are there special considerations when I reconcile an online banking account?

    When you compare downloaded banking transactions and update your Quicken register with them, account reconciliation is faster and easier because the update process clears the transactions in your Quicken register for you.

    You can update your register throughout the month and then reconcile once a month to your paper statement, or you can reconcile to your online balance throughout the month. You can use either method to reconcile your online account, but you should choose one method and use it consistently. Once you have reconciled your account to your online balance, you shouldn't switch to reconciling to a paper statement. Here's why:

    • When you reconcile to your online banking balance, Quicken marks the transactions as reconciled with an R. If you want to reconcile to a paper statement, those reconciled transactions won't appear in the Reconcile window. It will seem that you're missing most of your transactions when, in fact, those transactions are already reconciled.
    • In the Reconcile Online Account window, Quicken sets your statement opening balance to the ending balance of the previous reconciliation. If you reconcile to an online banking balance and later reconcile to a paper statement, the opening balance in Quicken will disagree with the opening balance on your paper statement.
  • Are there special considerations when I reconcile a credit card account?
    When you reconcile your credit card accounts each month with your monthly statements, you can:
    • Review your credit transactions and make sure your records match those at your financial institution.
    • Record any credit or finance charges to your credit card account.

    As the final step in reconciling your credit card account, you can record a transaction in the check register (to represent a handwritten check), or prepare a check to print with Quicken.

 
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