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.
Don't worry if this is unfamiliar territory, we'll even 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. Watch this quick video—and read the descriptions below—to find out why these statuses are so important to reconciliation.
- 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, or filter your register based on transaction status. When you find the incorrect uncleared transactions, address them appropriately by either clearing, editing, or removing 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—take a look at this video to learn about the reconciliation process. The steps are listed below, feel free to follow along.
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 you need a few more steps
If your balance doesn't match, you may need to add transactions that are missing and make sure the cleared status on your transactions is correct.
- If the two balances are not the same, 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.
- If there are transactions that appear on your bank’s list but are not entered in YNAB or not marked cleared in YNAB, make sure they are entered and 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 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.
That 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, don't worry! Watch this video to learn about the most common roadblocks you might encounter when reconciling.
If there is a difference between your bank statement and your YNAB records that you cannot find, create an adjustment transaction and move on. Get back to budgeting and decision making!
When you create a Reconciliation Balance Adjustment, it doesn't 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, quickly and easily.
Just check your To be Budgeted after entering the balance adjustment. Regular transactions are categorized to your spending categories. Balance adjustments aren't assigned to a spending category, so they'll impact To be Budgeted instead. If your balance adjustment made your To be Budgeted go negative, just move money until it's at $0.00 again.
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 un-cleared 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:
- Double-click the transaction date and click the blue Make Repeating button.
- Change the frequency to Never and correct the date (it defaults to next month)
- Hit the Save button!