With your December pre-tax planning meeting right around the corner, it is time to get your Quicken file in order. If you are like most farms and ranches, it has been a few months since you entered transactions. When inputting several months of entries, it is likely that you are going to make a few mistakes. Here are a few tips to tackle two common problems when entering transactions into Quicken.
Don’t panic if you are “losing” transactions. It is rare for entries to actually be lost. Many times they are automatically sorted by Quicken and, once they are saved, they move off the screen you are viewing. Here’s what to do:
- Check your filters. If your transactions are “disappearing” it may be because you have filtered your transactions in such a way that your new entries are being saved, but are not appearing on your immediate screen. Check to make sure the three dropdown filters under the account name at the top of the screen are not limiting the transactions you are viewing.
- Check how your columns are sorted. Once you have checked the filters at the top of the screen, look at how your columns are being sorted. Quicken automatically sorts transactions using the column settings you have chosen. The column by which the transactions are being sorted will have a small blue triangle next to the column title. When entering data, it is most common to sort transactions by date.
- Check that the transaction was entered on the proper account. After checking the filters and the column sort, search for the entry you believe you may have lost. The easiest way to verify which account a transaction was entered in is to view all of the transactions within your Quicken file at once. To do this, click on “All Transactions” on the accounts sidebar on the left-hand side of the screen. Then, in the search bar on the top right enter the transaction amount or the payee name. If the entry does not appear, it was not saved and you will need to re-enter the transaction. You can change the account by typing the correct account name in the account column.
The second most common issue is unbalanced accounts. When entering several transactions at a time, people will notice that the balance listed in Quicken does not match their bank statement or check register. Some people in this situation will enter an “adjustment” transaction for the amount of the discrepancy so that the balances match. However, this only corrects the balance, not the incorrect entry hiding somewhere within your file.
- Check your ending balances. Rather than combing through each transaction individually, start by looking at each month. Starting in January, check the ending balance of your bank or credit card statement against the balance of the final transaction on last date of that statement. If that ending balance of the bank statement matches the balance listed in Quicken, there are no problems with the entries that month.
- Reconcile your accounts. To ensure that you do not inadvertently change a transaction once you have verified the ending balance is correct, you can change the status of the transaction to “reconciled” (right click on the transaction, click on reconcile status, select reconciled). A reconciled transaction cannot be modified without approval.
- Check each individual transaction. Once you have found the month with the error, you will need to check each transaction that month until you pinpoint and correct the error.
There are many other challenges farmers and ranchers face when preparing their financial records for their pre-tax meeting. I hope that the tips above help you as you enter information into Quicken. If you have other Quicken challenges, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 308-632-1247.