Reconciling Accounts 🔒
Because you use your budget to make spending decisions, your records in YNAB need to be in complete agreement with your bank’s records—this process is called reconciliation and we recommend you reconcile your most-used accounts at least once a week.
In this doc we'll explain the reconciliation process, as well as the three different transaction statuses that come into play during that process. Don't worry if this is unfamiliar territory, as we'll also cover how to un-reconcile if you make a mistake 🙂
In This Article
Your transactions have one of three statuses in the far right-hand column of your account register:
- Cleared: Transactions that your bank knows about and have finished processing are cleared and are marked with a green C at the right-hand side of the transaction line.
- Your bank likely calls these transactions cleared or processed.
- If you import transactions, many of them will be cleared in YNAB automatically.
- Cleared transactions make up the Cleared Balance at the top of your register.
- Uncleared: Transactions that your bank hasn’t processed are uncleared and have a gray C at the right-hand side of the transaction line.
- Your bank likely calls these pending transactions.
- A transaction might be uncleared because your bank hasn’t yet received notice of the final transaction, or if you wrote a physical check that hasn’t been cashed.
- Uncleared transactions make up the Uncleared Balance at the top of your register.
- Reconciled: Once transactions have been reconciled, using the process described below, they are locked and marked with a green lock symbol. 🔒
Beware of Uncleared Transactions
Before you reconcile, make sure you check that the Uncleared transactions in your account register are correct. If you don't, you may reconcile to an inaccurate balance.
Use the search bar in the top right of your register to search for uncleared transactions by typing " is: uncleared", or sort your register based on transaction status by clicking on the "c" in the header at the top of the register. When you find the incorrect uncleared transactions, address them appropriately by either clearing, editing, or deleting them.
Quick Tip! When entering transactions that occurred with literal cash (in your wallet, purse, pockets...wherever!), they can be marked as cleared as soon as you enter them; there's no processing time for cash transactions.
Now that you know about the different statuses of your transactions—and what the balances at the top of your register represent—follow along with these steps to reconcile your account:
The golden path
- Log onto your bank’s website and check your current balance. Keep in mind that some financial institutions include pending transactions in the current account balance, while in YNAB those should only make up your Uncleared balance. ( Check out this article if you're having trouble finding the right balance at your bank!)
- In the YNAB web app, click Reconcile Account at the top of your account register.
- Is your bank’s balance from step one the same as the Cleared balance that YNAB is showing you? If it is, click Yes. You’re reconciled!
- Once you reconcile the first time, YNAB will show you how long it's been since you last reconciled:
When the balances don't match
First, don't worry! This is exactly what the reconciliation process is meant to do — find and fix errors. Here's how:
- If the two balances do not match, click No and enter the balance from your bank’s records in the field provided. If the balance should be negative, include a negative indicator '-' before the amount. If the balance should be positive include a positive indicator '+' before the amount. The difference between the two balances is shown at the top of your account register.
- Missing some transactions? If there are transactions that appear on your bank’s list but are not entered in YNAB or not marked cleared in YNAB, add those transactions and mark them as cleared.
- Check to see if your financial institution is including pending transactions in the calculation of your account balance. If so, look for the current running balance (not including pending) and reconcile against it instead.
- If you have a transaction in your YNAB register that is not in your bank’s records at all, make sure it is not marked as cleared in YNAB.
- Keep making adjustments like these until the blue bar at the top of your register displays the Finish Reconciliation button. Click there and you’re done!
If transactions are jumping around when you mark them as cleared, try sorting your account register by date rather than by cleared status. Click "Date" in the header row, and you'll see a small arrow next to that column header to confirm. This will keep transactions in the same order as you clear them.
If you get stuck
If you've made it this far and things still aren't lining up, there are a few more fringe errors to check for:
- Transactions that were accidentally recorded in the wrong account register
- Transactions with amounts that were flip-flopped (for example, $19.97 instead of $19.79)
- Inflow transactions that incorrectly import as outflows, and vice-versa
- Uncleared transactions. Reconciliation only asks you to compare the cleared balance in your accounts, not the working balance. If there are uncleared transactions that should be cleared, corrected, or removed anywhere in your register (they easily hide in months, even years, past), reconciling won't resolve the working balance of your account until you've fixed those transactions.
Create a balance adjustment
If you've checked all of the common culprits above and there's still a difference between your bank statement and your YNAB records, finish reconciling by creating an adjustment transaction. This will let you move on and get back to budgeting and decision making!
When you create a Reconciliation Balance Adjustment, it does not mean you've failed, or that your accounts are broken. It just means an error happened at some point since your last reconciliation (or since you started the account in YNAB, if you've never reconciled before), and the balance adjustment is fixing that mistake.
Double-check your Ready To Assign after entering the balance adjustment. While regular transactions are categorized to your spending categories, balance adjustments are not assigned to a spending category, so they'll impact Ready To Assign instead. If your balance adjustment made your Ready To Assign go negative, move money until it's at a grey $0.00 again. (If your balance adjustment added money to Ready to Assign go ahead and move that money to categories in your budget!)
If you realize you made a mistake while reconciling—and you notice right away—you can use the Undo button to un-reconcile. Otherwise, here are a few options to get things squared away:
If the balance adjustment or any other reconciled transaction is incorrect:
- You can edit it just like any other transaction.
- If you'd rather delete the transaction, you can do that. YNAB will ask if you're sure, but you can confidently delete it knowing you're correcting it.
- Or, you could re-reconcile and create a balance adjustment if needed.
If you reconciled an uncleared transaction, you can delete and re-create the transaction(s) so they are uncleared again. Or instead, you could make a copy of the transaction before deleting the reconciled one by following these steps:
- Select the transaction
- Click Edit, and select Duplicate Transaction
- Change the status of the new, duplicate transaction from cleared to uncleared
Here's a video walkthrough of the reconciliation process in action. You'll notice we've made some visual & verbiage updates since these videos were created, but the method remains the same!