"Reconciliation Balance Adjustments" required regularly"
I've been using Quicken or the equivalent for managing my finances for 25 years. Never in all that time have any of my accounts been off by so much as a single penny. I am meticulous and hunt down any discrepancy until it is resolved.
A few years ago I started using YNAB as I like its budgeting features more than what I'd been using.
I am the type that likes all my accounts to reconcile. In trying to do that with YNAB, I've noticed that accounts are frequently off and require strange additions/subtractions from my account balances to reconcile. Below are some examples over the last year of such adjustments:
I contacted YNAB support, and they were very responsive. Excellent really. The bottom line, I was told to reconcile more often to try to prevent things from getting out of balance. This didn't really make sense to me, but I did try it. It made no difference.
My question now is whether this is a common occurrence among YNAB users that should have some serious YNAB resources put to it, or if it's a pretty rare thing, and I'm just unlucky.
No, it's not common. Or, at the least, it's not the way the software is designed to work.
Reconciling is the process of checking to see if your list of transactions in YNAB matches the list of transactions at your bank. Once you've done that, then you can click the "Reconcile" button to lock those correct transactions, indicating that they have been verified. Then, next week, you'll have less transactions to comb through as you reconcile, making the hunting process easier if there is something awry.
Now, if you just can't find the mistakes and want to move forward with your budget, you can have YNAB force the account balances to match with the reconciliation adjustment. You'll have to manipulate the effect in the budget, of course, rather than knowing what category those dollars really went to.
Here are some things that you'll want to pay attention to:
- Did you look through your list of transactions to see if they match your bank? Pulling up a second window is helpful.
- Did your starting balances include some of your early transactions?
- Are your transfers using the transfer payee?
- Do you have scheduled or manually entered transactions that aren't matching imported transactions? (you have to tell YNAB the first time, but it learns after that)
I'm sure there are others, but that's what I've got off the top of my head.
The only reconciliation adjustments I use are when I'm putting in quarterly changes in the retirement tracking account, and I rename those!
Once you've synced the YNAB cleared balance with the bank's cleared balance, the only way for it to be off in the future is an erroneous amount or missing transaction. The biggest issue it seems that people struggle with is the bank's number being provided to YNAB includes pending transactions. (A number of people have reported their bank has switched to this practice.) The June and July entries you showed are especially suggestive of this.
One possibility is to use the bank's running balance, as that usually does not include pending transactions, or if it does, it's hopefully more clear which transactions are pending and can be added back in before giving the actual cleared balance to YNAB.
A quick call to your bank may also shed some light on whatever balance you're pulling off their website. Honestly, I suggest you reconcile daily for a couple days. When only a single transaction is added (or none!), but the bank's balance changes by a different value, that's pretty clear that's not really the cleared balance being provided.
Also when reconciling, the sort order within a given day at the bank isn't set in stone in my experience. If the most recent transaction you locked last time was on, say, Jan. 9, then make sure you re-check all the transactions on Jan. 9 the next time you reconcile. If you stop checking once the transaction you matched in YNAB is locked, you may miss something that was added at the bank with that same date.
For similar reasons, reconciling in the evening/weekend may eliminate these "inserted" transactions with the same date.
100% manual entry YNABer since 2014. For my on budget accounts, I have only ever done a reconciliation balance adjustment for my cash account when I literally can't find the cash in my wallet (or my pocket, or the bottom of my purse, etc). And never for more than a few pennies.
For my tracking accounts, I use reconciliation balance adjustments to update the balance for my 401(k), IRA, mortgage, etc rather than bothering to enter buy/sells or whatever.
When you reconcile, are you actually comparing transactions? Or are you just taking the cleared balance in YNAB and adjusting it to match the cleared balance at the bank? if they don't match, you should be looking for the discrepancies rather than doing adjustments.
Are you relying on direct import? Maybe you're just not getting all the transactions.