If you find yourself trying to reconcile your bank account for the first time and the beginning balance is inaccurate, it is most likely due to an incorrect opening balance. Correcting the opening balance generally will resolve your beginning balance problem. The following steps will help you troubleshoot—and most likely resolve—your account problem.

Step 1 — Review your QuickBooks opening bank balance

Double-check this amount to make sure it does not include pending transactions when you created the account. Another common mistake is forgetting to post an opening balance, which can be resolved.

To identify transactions that may have been entered against your opening bank balance, look in your Chart of Accounts for the account titled “Opening Balance Equity.”  Make sure to note all transactions and their dates in this account and its balance.

Step 2 — Review and compare your actual bank account balance against QuickBooks

Check your actual bank account, either online or from a printed bank statement, for the period that contains the date you used to post your opening balance in QuickBooks. Then compare the two balances to determine if they match.

If these amounts do not match, you will need to edit your opening balance entry in QuickBooks.  While some authors would suggest you would “change the amount” of the previous entry, I’d recommend you enter an additional line in your deposit that represents the difference (positive or negative) and a new memo (“adjustment to opening balance reconciled on ‘date’…”) so you have a clear record of what you did.

If your review shows the amounts match without you needing to edit the opening balance entry, you must take the next step.

Step 3 — Review register for improper change in opening balance entry status

The first time you attempt to reconcile a bank account, there should be a single transaction that has been “reconciled” and is marked in the checkmark (status) column by the letter R. That transaction should be your opening balance entry. There should not be any other transaction(s) marked with an R before your initial reconciliation. If there is, they are in error.

If you find one or more transactions marked R before your first reconciliation that are not your opening bank balance entry, you need to clear the R from the checkmark column for each of those transactions and Save each one.

Step 4 — Review and Perform Initial Bank Reconciliation

After undertaking the steps above, you should find your opening bank balance will be correct, and you are ready to perform your initial bank reconciliation. QuickBooks has written a “Reconciliation Guide for QuickBooks Online” containing a video to help you complete your initial bank reconciliation.

Disclosures and Acknowledgements

Content was adapted in part from source materials found within Intuit’s ‘Reconcile an account in QuickBooks Online’ help document (link provided in the URL above), and other help resources for QuickBooks Online including in-product Help.

QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online refer to one or more registered trademarked products of Intuit Inc., a publicly-traded corporation headquartered in Mountain View, California.

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