What to do with old unreconciled transactions?

I normally reconcile my credit card account every couple weeks or so. It's been going along fine, but today for some reason I have a minor discrepancy, so during reconciliation I thought to try searching for all "Is: Unreconciled" transactions. Surprisingly, this turned up many transactions from the past 10 months or so! I was surprised because, I thought with regular reconciliation, being "reconciled" meant everything is in agreement between YNAB and the bank. (Somehow my balances are in agreement, even though I have this slew of old transactions that are not cleared and not reconciled.)

My question is: What should I do with these old transactions? I am reluctant to delete them, as I don't want to lose the information or screw up prior months' budgets.


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  • This is a frustrating one, Scott !

    I think the best solution is to clear those transactions (click the gray C to turn them green), and then reconcile again, entering an adjustment. After you do that, all transactions will be reconciled and your balance in YNAB will be correct.

    You'll probably need to adjust the amount in your Credit Card Payment category after doing this, as well.

      • Scott
      • scott
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Matthew Thank you! I'm still confused about how these got here, though. Are these "orphaned" transactions that I entered in manually, but, say, never "matched" with direct imported transactions? 

      Sometimes I enter something in the wrong account — like say I used my debit card instead of the credit card, but I entered it on the credit card account. But I will normally catch this at reconciliation time because the balances won't align, and I'll go "oops, I spent the $50 on beanie babies out of my checking account, silly goose!" That is a hypothetical, of course. :-)

      For that matter, here's a feature request:

      • help me identify when I've entered a transaction into the wrong account (e.g. suggest "uh, it looks like you spent $50 on beanie babies from checking. move this transaction to that account instead?")
      • help me identify duplicate transactions (like maybe I've accidentally entered the beanie babies both places, so one account is reconciling with correct balances, but the other is not)
      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 2 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Matthew this doesn’t seem like correct advice. My first thought would be to check that there aren’t duplicate transactions that need to be matched (one manually entered and one imported)  look at the unreconciled transactions  enter the amount in the search box and see if another pops up that can be matched  

      also there may be transactions that didn’t happen for whatever reason. Those can be deleted. 

      Like 2
    • satcook It really depends—how old are the transactions, how many of them, and do they look like obvious duplicates? If it looks like an ongoing import issue, then obviously we want to talk to the import partner and fix the problem. If it's just a chunk of old uncleared transactions that might be due to a past import issue, or a couple of mis-entered transactions here and there, I usually don't think it's worth the trouble to track down whether they're supposed to be there or not, and it's not going to have a big effect on reports or Quick Budget unless the transactions are numerous or large.

      It's a version of the usual YNAB advice, "The past is the past; adjust your budget and move on."

      Like 1
    • Scott I think it would be tricky to survey for transactions in the wrong account without a ton of false positives, because it's so common for different transactions to have the same amount, and payee names are pretty useless for matching because they vary so much.

      Yes, I think "orphaned" transactions are the most likely culprit. The trick is figuring out why they didn't match. There are three very common scenarios I can think of offhand.

      1. You entered the transaction correctly, and it never imported due to an import error.
      2. You entered the transaction correctly, and it imported but didn't match, usually because the dates are over 10 days apart. So it's a duplicated.
      3. You entered a transaction that didn't actually happen in that account.

      If you just have a couple of oddball uncleared transactions, it might be worth going through the three possibilities here and matching, clearing, or deleting the transactions in question. If it's more than a few transactions, but it hasn't happened recently, I would clear them, reconcile, and move on.

      Like 1
  • Every time it's happened to me, it's because I accidentally put it in the wrong account. Once I verify this, I delete them and move on. I wouldn't leave a bunch of old uncleared transactions laying around unless you really know they are still in play.

    Like 1
  • If you really want to check, you could sort by the amount when in All accounts and see if there are matching transactions. Doing it in all accounts would show that it may have been entered in the wrong account. 

    Like 4
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