Troubleshooting Reconciliation Issues
When you hit a snag while reconciling, it can be tough to tackle on your own—that's why this Help Doc is here! Before choosing your own adventure below, brush up on the basics with our Help Docs on Getting Started with Reconciling Accounts (web, mobile), and familiarize yourself with the process in How to Reconcile Accounts (web, mobile).
Tell me about this.
- What is reconciling?
- I’ve never reconciled. Where do I start?
- Why is reconciling important if my accounts are linked to my bank?
My balance is wrong.
- My balance is lower in YNAB than it is at the bank.
- My balance is higher in YNAB than it is at the bank.
- My bank includes pending transactions in the balance.
- I can’t reconcile because there are pending transactions in YNAB.
- My working balance doesn’t match my balance at the bank.
- My credit card is showing a positive balance when it should be negative.
- My starting balance doesn’t match the bank.
I frequently reconcile, but it's never right.
- I recently reconciled and now I can’t get the balance to match.
- I have to make balance adjustments every time I reconcile.
My budget is wrong.
- Reconciling the account added or removed money from Ready to Assign.
- My account balances match but my budget is off.
- My account balances match but my Credit Card Payment category is off.
- My accounts aren’t up to date, how can I reconcile?
- I don’t want to create a balance adjustment to correct the balance.
I still need help.
What is reconciling?
Reconciling is the process of making sure that your balances in YNAB accurately reflect the balances of your real-life accounts. You'll compare your balances and the transactions in both registers.
In YNAB, “reconciling your accounts” or “using the reconcile feature” on web or mobile means clicking or tapping the button in your account register and following the steps to the end. This feature also gives you the opportunity to create an adjustment if YNAB doesn't match with the bank so that they will align going forward.
We recommend YNABers reconcile all budget accounts (checking, savings, cash and credit cards) weekly.
I’ve never reconciled. Where do I start?
Whether you’re brand new to YNAB or you have a lot of history under your belt, if you’ve never reconciled, our Getting Started with Reconciling Accounts (web, mobile) docs will teach you the basics behind this feature.
While you might need to make a balance adjustment the first time you reconcile (or if it's been awhile), you won't need to do that when you reconcile regularly. It’s much easier to find the culprit when you only have a few days worth of unreconciled transactions to go through!
Why is reconciling important if my accounts are linked to my bank?
Direct import brings in transactions, not balances, and sometimes things go awry. Transactions can stop importing, end up in the wrong account, or duplicates can occur. Routinely reconciling your accounts ensures that your account balances agree with your bank so that you can trust the numbers in your budget.
The good news is that reconciling also serves another purpose here. If things do go awry, YNAB will only import transactions dated up to 3 days prior to your last reconciled transaction, which helps mitigate the impact on your account register.
My balance is lower in YNAB than it is at the bank.
If you find your balance in YNAB is lower than your balance at the bank, a few common causes are:
- duplicate outflow transactions in the account register
- missing transactions that are not in YNAB
- uncleared transactions in YNAB that have since cleared the bank.
Duplicate transactions can happen for a number of reasons. First, remove any duplicates you see (and if duplicates continue to import later on, use these troubleshooting steps).
Then, review your account register for missing transactions from the last few days. Perhaps they weren’t entered or imported, or were accidentally deleted. If you find any, enter them manually and click the 'c' icon to indicate that they're cleared, if they’ve indeed cleared the bank.
You’ll also want to review your uncleared transactions in YNAB. In your account register on a computer, search for is: uncleared in the search bar. On the mobile app, you can type uncleared in the search bar. If any have cleared at the bank or if they’re really old, mark them with a green C in YNAB to update the status.
If you still can’t find the culprit, it's best to create a Reconciliation Balance Adjustment so that you can move forward.
My balance is higher in YNAB than it is at the bank.
If you find your balance in YNAB is higher than your balance at the bank, you may have a duplicate transaction in your account register, or have a cleared transaction in YNAB that has not yet cleared the bank.
First, review your cleared transactions in YNAB from the last few days. If any are still pending at the bank, make sure they have a grey 'c' icon in YNAB to indicate they are uncleared.
Next, check your account register for duplicate transactions. This is easiest on a computer and if you’ve reconciled within the last month or two, at most.
How to Check for Duplicate Transactions
- On the web app, click View and make sure Show Reconciled Transactions is unchecked. This will ensure you’re only reviewing transactions that have occurred since the last time you reconciled.
- Click the Outflow and Inflow column headers. That will re-order your transactions by amount and should line up any duplicates next to each other. If it’s been awhile since you last reconciled, make sure you look closely at the dates. Monthly repeating transactions (like your Netflix subscription) will be lined up next to each other.
- Compare the date and amount against your transactions at the bank. If only one occurred, delete the duplicate.
If you still can’t find the culprit, it's best to create a Reconciliation Balance Adjustment so that you can move forward.
My bank includes pending transactions in the balance.
Some banks only show the current balance as part of the running balance in your account. Look next to your most recently posted transaction to find this. Your bank may only show the running balance on the web or mobile app, so it’s best to check on both a computer and on a mobile device.
I can’t reconcile because there are pending transactions in YNAB.
Click the 'c' icon to mark those transactions with a grey 'c,' indicating that they’re uncleared in YNAB. Then compare just your cleared balance in YNAB (which does not include pending transactions) to the cleared balance at the bank.
My working balance doesn’t match my balance at the bank.
When you’re reconciling, you’ll be comparing only the Cleared balance in YNAB to the cleared balance at the bank.
The working balance is the balance your account will be once all uncleared transactions clear your account. Since pending transactions can change, this balance doesn’t work well for reconciling.
My credit card is showing a positive balance when it should be negative.
If you’re showing a positive balance in YNAB on web or mobile but don’t actually have one in real life, reconciling will correct this.
You’ll also want to review your recent transactions for incorrect or duplicate payments. If you find any, be sure to delete the duplicate.
If you can’t find the cause, enter a Reconciliation Balance Adjustment to get things back on track! When you reach step 5 of the reconciliation process, click or tap No and enter a negative amount, such as “-123.45”. On the mobile app, you’ll toggle the button to red, indicating a negative balance.
My starting balance doesn’t match the bank.
Starting Balances do show up incorrectly every now and then. The good news is they can be edited manually by tapping or double clicking on it right in the account register.
I recently reconciled and now I can’t get the balance to match.
If you’ve recently reconciled (within the last week or two), you may be able to find the culprit by doing a line by line comparison.
How to Compare Line by Line
- Open YNAB and your bank in separate windows on your computer and arrange them so they’re side by side.
- Unclear all transactions since the last reconciliation by selecting multiple transactions, then clicking Edit > Mark as Uncleared.
- As you match up each transaction in YNAB with the bank, I click the 'c' icon to clear it, going one day at a time. That way, you can be sure you find every single transaction. Keep in mind that YNAB can have different transaction dates than those displayed by your bank. This is due to differences between the date the transaction occurred and the date it was cleared by your bank.
- Compare the cleared balance with your bank balance on that date.
- Clear the next day's transactions and check the bank balance at the end of that day to make sure it matches.
- Continue day by day until you find the problem.
The more often you reconcile, the easier it is. If you reconcile once a week and you find a problem while reconciling again the following week, you only have a few days to look through.
If it’s been more than a couple of weeks since you reconciled, it’s best to follow the steps to reconcile the account, creating a Reconciliation Balance Adjustment at the end instead of doing a line by line comparison.
I have to make balance adjustments every time I reconcile.
When you notice that your account balances are often incorrect, or that you're having to make a balance adjustment each time that you reconcile, there are a couple of things to check on:
- Is the balance you see on your account at your bank's site the "cleared balance" or does it include pending transactions? Reconciliation is designed to make sure that the cleared balance in your YNAB account matches the cleared balance at the bank (as opposed to the Pending/Available balance at the bank). If you suspect your bank is including pending transactions or if you’re not sure what balance to use, check out our help doc on Finding your Cleared Balance, or reach out to us for assistance!
- Are there any transactions that have cleared your bank, but haven't yet imported into YNAB? Since we reconcile using the cleared balance in your account, we also want to make sure it's up-to-date. If there are any transactions that have cleared the bank, but haven't yet imported into YNAB, you can add them now to make sure they're taken into account in both YNAB and in your bank.
- Are any uncleared transactions 'hiding' in your register? To make sure that no uncleared transactions are lurking farther back in your register (they're easy to miss!), you can search for them in the search bar (search for is: uncleared on the web app, or uncleared on the mobile app), or you can click on the cleared column header on the web app to sort your transactions by cleared status. Review these uncleared transactions, and edit/clear them as needed. Ensure that their status in YNAB agrees with the status at the bank.
Reconciling the account added or removed money from Ready to Assign.
The amount of money in your budget is based on the amount of your cash-positive accounts in YNAB. Because of that, changing an account balance will add or remove money from your budget. When you make a balance adjustment you will need to move money around in your budget.
This is a good thing, because it makes your budget accurate and trustworthy, so it's important to create a balance adjustment even if it removes money from your budget. You don’t want your budget to show you money that you don’t actually have.
The one exception to this is balance adjustments on negative-balance credit cards, where the balance is remaining negative. These will not impact Ready to Assign, but you will want to double check that you have the amount you want set aside to pay your card's bill in your Credit Card Payment category.
My account balances match but my budget is off.
If your account balances agree with the bank, but it feels like there’s more or less money in your budget than you’re expecting, you can perform a budget audit to confirm that the money in your accounts is somewhere in your budget. Following the steps in that help doc will give you the confidence to move forward with your budget.
My account balances match but my Credit Card Payment category is off.
If you’ve reconciled your credit card account and the balance matches the bank but your Credit Card Payment category doesn’t have what you need to pay your credit card in full or make your next payment, you’ll need to move money to/from the category as needed until they match.
This happens if you’ve created a Reconciliation Balance Adjustment, or have overspending in the present or past months. It can also happen if you didn’t assign enough to cover the Starting Balance when you first set up the card.
Whatever the reason, the ultimate solution is to move money and look forward, instead of back.
My accounts aren’t up to date, how can I reconcile?
In most cases, you’ll want to update your accounts so that you can reconcile using your current account balance instead of a past balance or statement balance.
However, if you’re being prompted to update an account because you’re switching direct import providers, you can follow the reconciliation steps (web, mobile) at any point in time to avoid duplicates importing after the switch. You don't need to have your account up to date. This is because the Reconcile feature only takes the Cleared balance you have in YNAB into consideration.
For example, if your account only contains transactions up to the first of the month, you could look at what your bank says your balance was on that date and use the Reconcile feature to reconcile only up to that point.
I don’t want to create a balance adjustment to correct the balance
If you’ve finished troubleshooting and still can’t get the balances to match, a balance adjustment is usually the best choice. Ultimately, you’ll need to weigh spending the time and energy tracking down the error against quickly moving forward with your budget.
The alternative to a Reconciliation Balance Adjustment is a Fresh Start on web or mobile. With a Fresh Start, you’ll be able to enter your Starting Balances as of today so that you can move on with a clean slate.
Send a Message
If you've tried the troubleshooting steps provided, and you're still having trouble reconciling, it's time to send us a message. Depending on where you're reading this article, you have some options:
- If you're reading this doc in our in-app widget, exit the doc and tap Send a Message which will even give you an option to chat with us if we're available!
- If you're in this doc on a web browser, use the blue question mark in the corner to reach out.
- And you can always email us at [email protected]