How to Balance an Account in Quicken 2010

By Stephen L. Nelson

Balancing a bank account in Quicken is easy and quick. Because bank account balancing can be tedious and boring (for most people, anyway), you can use Quicken to speed up the drudgery.

1Click the Banking tab in Quicken.

Quicken displays the Banking window, which lists information about your bank accounts.

2Click the account that you want to balance.

Quicken displays the transactions tab, or account register, for the account.

3Click the Account Actions button, and then select Reconcile from the pop-up menu that appears.

Quicken displays the Statement Summary: Checking dialog box, which includes a figure in the Opening Balance text box.

4If this figure isn’t correct, replace it with the correct figure.

If you’re reconciling your account for the first time, Quicken gets this opening balance figure from your starting account balance. If you’ve reconciled before, Quicken uses the Ending Balance that you specified the last time you reconciled.

5Enter the ending balance in the Ending Balance text box.

This figure is the ending, or closing, balance shown on your bank statement.

6Provide the statement’s ending balance date in the New Statement Ending Date text box.

Use the date on the statement that you’re using to reconcile.

7Enter the bank’s service charge in the Service Charge text box, if your bank has such a charge; then change the transaction date Quicken supplies in the Service Charge Date text box, if necessary.

Quicken supplies its best guess for the service charge’s transaction date. If you’re reconciling for the first time, Quicken uses the current system date from your computer’s clock. If you’ve reconciled the account before, Quicken picks a date one month later from the last time you reconciled the account.

8If you want to change the category for this charge, click the down arrow in the Category text box to open the Category drop-down list box; then select a category.

By default, Quicken displays the Bank Charge category in the first Category text box — the one beneath the Service Charge text box.

9Enter the account’s interest income in the Interest Earned text box, and then enter a transaction date for this interest in the Interest Earned Date text box.

If the account earned interest for the month and you haven’t already entered this figure, do so now.

10Type an appropriate income category for any interest in the Category text box below Interest Earned.

Perhaps you can use something clever such as, er, Interest.

11Tell Quicken that the bank statement is complete by clicking OK.

Quicken displays the Statement Summary: Checking window, which compares your register’s account balance with the bank statement’s ending account balance and builds a list of checks and deposits that your register shows but that haven’t yet cleared (haven’t been recorded by the bank).

After deposits and checks have cleared at the bank, you need to update Quicken.

12Mark each deposit that has cleared by clicking it in the right column.

Quicken places a check mark in front of the deposit and updates the cleared statement balance.

13Record any cleared but missing deposits by clicking the Edit button and then, in the register that appears, entering the deposit in the usual way.

But type a c (for cleared) in the Clr column. This mark identifies the deposit as one that’s already cleared at the bank.

14To return to the Statement Summary: Checking window, click the Return to Reconcile button.

The deposits you added should appear in the right column.

15Identify each check or other withdrawal that has cleared by clicking it in the left column.

Quicken inserts a check mark to label this transaction as cleared and updates the Cleared Balance.

16Record any missing but cleared checks or withdrawals by clicking the Edit button and entering the check or withdrawal in the register that appears.

Be sure to type a c (for cleared) in the Clr column to identify this check or withdrawal as one that’s already cleared the bank.

17Return to the Statement Summary: Checking window, by clicking the Return to Reconcile button.

The checks or withdrawals you just entered appear in the column on the left.

After you mark all the cleared checks and deposits, the difference between the cleared balance for the account and the bank statement’s ending balance should equal zero.

18If the difference does equal zero, just click the Finished button to tell Quicken that you’re done.

Quicken asks whether you want to print a Reconciliation report. As part of the finishing-up process, Quicken changes all the c‘s to R‘s to identify the transactions that have already been reconciled.