Dual Serialization

paluft1's Avatar

paluft1

02 Jul, 2009 05:35 AM

I've been using Excel to balance my checkbook using a process I call Dual Serialization, in conjunction with CSV files downloaded from my bank's web site. The fancy name means that there are two sets of serial numbers for each transaction, one corresponding to the initial bank posting sequence (per the CSV file), and one that I write in a seperate column in my paper checkbook register, that corresponds to the sequence number of the transaction in the register (in the order I wrote it down). I close out each sequence at year end and restart them (in a separate file or worksheet), using the posting sequence as the control at the first of the new year, and doing an initial reconciliation to re-calculate the register balance.

Why do I go to all this trouble? I can instantly resequence my Excel file (using macros or Autofilter) to view transactions either as they appear in my paper register (making that easy to check) or view them in the order the bank posts them, which essentially reconciles every line item simultaneously. Entries that are recorded (in the register) but not yet posted, float to the end of the posting sort, while entries that are posted but not yet recorded (in the register), float to the end of the register sort, making it easy to track outstanding items. Reconciliation becomes simply the process of switching from register to posting sequence, where the balance of the last transaction of the month corresponds to the bank's monthly statement balance, the traditional reconcilliation point.

Could this be done in Moneydance? It would require: 1) Being able to add and name new columns, and be able to sort them; 2) Being able to easily apply numerical serialization to a stack of transactions; 3) That Moneydance preserve the bank posting sequence (presumably of the CSV files), where as now it apparently improvises.

At the very least, it would be nice if transactions in Moneydance could be identified by line number, rather than as, say, "the second transaction of 08/31/08".

  1. 1 Posted by Ben Spencer on 02 Jul, 2009 03:20 PM

    Ben Spencer's Avatar

    Moneydance does not currently allow the user to sort transactions by the unique internal transaction ID or the banks unique ID. However there a great many other sorting options. You can sort by any of the columns in the register by clicking in the column header. For example clicking in the header called "C" (for cleared) you will float all the cleared transactions to the top of the register. Additionally there are other sorting options that can be accessed by selecting all the transactions in the register using ctrl-a and then right clicking and selecting "sort by".

    Sincerely

    Ben Spencer

  2. 2 Posted by paluft1 on 22 Jul, 2009 02:07 AM

    paluft1's Avatar

    Hi Ben:

    If you were to add at least one (preferably two) sortable column(s) that would allow the user to serialize their Moneydance entries as they saw fit, I would embrace (i.e. buy) this program. As it is, it's impossible to get Moneydance to serialize entries in the same sequence as CSV downloads, much less the entry sequence in a checkbook. This makes it impossible to compare lists of entries, which makes error checking much harder than necessary. One's only recourse to to compare the ending balance, which could be off for many different reasons (including Moneydance's annoying habit of deleting duplicate entries - I would love to be able to turn this feature off).

    To reiterate my wish list:
    1) Customizable item sequences (at least one - two preferred)
    2) "Off" switch for duplicate entry flagging (enabling bulk item entry)

    Thank you,

    Peter

  3. 3 Posted by Ben Spencer on 22 Jul, 2009 09:30 PM

    Ben Spencer's Avatar

    Hi Peter

    I have created a suggestion ticket in our trac system based on your serialization suggestion. Here is the link:

    http://moneydance.com/trac/ticket/1998

    If you register and log into trac you can vote on this ticket. The more votes a ticket gets the more likely it will be implemented.

    I am not sure I understand the deleting repeating entries problem you r are experiencing. Why wouldn't you want Moneydance to delete duplicate entries? Are you referring to the matching process when you import transactions incorrectly identifying a transaction as a match to one already in the register? If that is the case you can select "New transaction (No Match)" before you hit the record button.

    Sincerely

    Ben Spencer

  4. 4 Posted by paluft1 on 22 Jul, 2009 10:20 PM

    paluft1's Avatar

    Hi Ben:

    Thank you very much for setting up the Dual Serialization proposal for a vote.

    Regarding repeating entries and the problem of distinguishing between real and false duplicates, it's much more efficient to validate an imported batch of lines items in a two-dimentional array (i.e. a list, especially if they are correctly serialized to match either the bank's online or CSV download transaction sequence, or the checkbook register sequence), rather than line by line. Moneydance's line-by-line method of import validation is extremely tedious, particularly when it finds more than six or seven matches for a particular entry, necessitating scrolling for each item with multiple matches. I would rather splice a group of imported transactions by ticking off real duplicates as I scan down a list, and deleting them all at once.

    Thank you for your consideration,

    Peter

  5. 5 Posted by Ben Spencer on 25 Jul, 2009 06:15 PM

    Ben Spencer's Avatar

    Hi Peter

    There are a number of fairly big changes coming to the way Moneydance handles transaction downloading in the next major release (MD2010) This will be out before the end of the year is is going to be a free upgrade to users hwo bought MD2008. Here is a quote from the current working document:

    Add a "download all accounts" menu that retrieves transactions for all direct-connect enabled accounts.

    Add an option to automatically invoke the download-all-accounts action every time MD is started and/or every N hours.

    All downloaded/imported OFX/QFX/OFC transactions will (optionally, but probably the default) go directly into the register.

       Transactions that are possible matches for pre-entered transactions will have   a "Match" button that shows a popup with a list of possible matches.  Selecting one of those matches will merge the two transactions.
       Downloaded transactions that have similar payees (and memos)
    

    Sincerely

    Ben Spencer

  6. 6 Posted by paluft1 on 26 Jul, 2009 07:01 AM

    paluft1's Avatar

    Very nice, Ben - thanks a lot for the update on the False Duplicates issue.

    I did register and vote on the ticket you set up for Dual Serialization, adding some additional comments that you've perhaps already looked at. As I've said, if this ever were to get implemented into Moneydance, I'd certainly become a client, as well as a promoter! : )

    Best Regards,

    Peter L.

  7. 7 Posted by gldavenport on 17 Aug, 2009 03:20 AM

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    Peter,

    what format do you save your excel files in so that they can be imported by Money Dance?

    thanks,
    George
    Tulsa

  8. 8 Posted by paluft1 on 17 Aug, 2009 03:33 AM

    paluft1's Avatar

    Hi George:

    I don't - I've been directly importing QIF files downloaded from the bank into Moneydance, for comparison with independently downloaded CSV files for Excel.

    Thank you,

    Peter

  9. Raimund Buchholz closed this discussion on 30 Jan, 2010 12:16 PM.

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