Investment Transactions Have Wrong Sign

Brian's Avatar


21 Jan, 2020 09:57 PM

I am trying to switch from Quicken 2017 and just downloaded the trial version of Moneydance (2019.3). I have been able to get most of my data transferred over and reconciled (about 15 hours in so far) but I have hit a hurdle with an investment account (Merrill Lynch). Here's the background: I first exported the account details from Quicken and then thought I would be able to download all available transactions from ML and bring the account up to date with current balances. That didn't work; it only downloaded the transactions, not any position data. I deleted all downloaded transactions and went back to Quicken. I exported a QIF file with all transactions going back to 2008 and imported that into MD. The balance was off, so then I tried to download any new transactions from ML. There were none. I compared each security with what I had in Quicken and found two issues: one related to a security's price and the other related to the cash balance.

First, one of the securities incorrectly showed a share price of $1. All other amounts for cost basis and cost per share, etc. were correct; and all amounts for all other securities were correct. I stumbled on the History button on the Securities Detail screen and I was able to update the price which seems to have fixed that problem. Is that the right way to do it?

Second, the cash balance is way off. I looked at the bank register for the account and noticed that there are a ton of transactions with the wrong sign. I have attached three examples (one deposit and two withdrawals) showing the transactions in Quicken and in Moneydance. I know I can update the initial balance on the account to get it to reconcile right now but what can I do to keep it from happening the next time? I have several other accounts that I need to transfer but I'm hesitant until I can get the easy one to reconcile.

  1. 1 Posted by Brian on 22 Jan, 2020 10:20 PM

    Brian's Avatar

    Update - I updated the initial balance so that the ending balance was correct as of last Friday (the latest transaction date). Then I downloaded Tuesday's transactions from ML and I had two new transactions that were imported, one buy and one sell. In MD, these affected the cash balance, which I expected. However, Merrill zeroes out the cash balance with a transfer from a money market account that they use to hold any cash balances. In Merrill, I have a zero cash balance and the money market account share balance is updated; in MD, I have a negative cash balance and the money market balance is too high.

    So as of now, I still have the following open questions / issues:

    1) The bank register showing the wrong sign for cash transactions. I think this is OK going forward but I really hate that I can't correct it.

    1a) The cash transactions also created a bogus "X" account to record the other side of the transaction. I've seen many others with the same frustration on how to make this work without affecting any 'real' balances. I'll look into this at some point but my main concern is getting the primary account right.

    2) The issue with the money market balance vs cash balance. Looking at the Activity online, ML doesn't show any transactions into or out of the account and I'm not sure how it's included in the download file. I know it's in there somewhere because Quicken was able to track it correctly. I really hope I don't have to manually enter a transaction to reconcile it every time there is a downloaded transaction.

    3) I added the quote extension with Alphavantage key and so far I'm not confident on how it works. One would assume it would simply download the quotes and update the portfolio but it didn't update all securities the first time. I tried changing the stock exchange from default to NYSE and unchecked all but one stock as a test. That stock updated, but so did another that was not checked. I'll keep playing with this as I think I will eventually understand it.

    4) A general issue I have is that when there is a background process going on, there is no indication that the application is doing anything. For example creating a backup, importing a file, or downloading stock quotes. I did notice that there is a green status bar in the bottom right when downloading transactions. It would be very helpful if that were employed in other background processes.

    I'm still planning on making the switch to MD once I get the investment accounts figured out. If anyone has found a way to make this work, I would be very interested in hearing about it.

  2. 2 Posted by Brian on 24 Jan, 2020 10:27 PM

    Brian's Avatar

    Is there a way to get help from the Support team? Do I need to move to a paid version for support? I would gladly do so if I had some assurance that the issues with investments can be resolved. Since Quicken 2017 (the last non-subscription version) is nearing end of life, I know there are many others looking for an alternative; surely I am not the only one to run into issues converting Quicken investment data.

  3. 3 Posted by dtd on 25 Jan, 2020 02:06 AM

    dtd's Avatar

    Just another user here...

    Although it is TMI, you might want to glance over a thread from November - December called the Vicissitudes of Moving from Quicken to Moneydance", where I address some of your issues as I was going through this myself.

    It will definitely cover your 1) and 1a)... but it is very long. I really should write a comprehensive summary vs. such a long read.

    I can't address 2) or 3) as I "moved" to Moneydance, but am still using Quicken day to day until April. Then I'll move for real. Thanks for the heads up on new transactions and stock prices.

    I have the same concern on 4) as you do. I just got used to it, but it would indeed be nice to know things are "going on".

    As to help from the Support team - I've never had a response from the support team. It has always been from the user community. I have sent a message to the private issues area as well as one to Sean Reilly. I have yet to receive a response. Let me know if you fare better.

  4. 4 Posted by dwg on 25 Jan, 2020 02:47 AM

    dwg's Avatar

    I'm a fellow user.

    In relation to your issue #2 without knowing how the transaction looks in the download I do not think there is a lot that we can say. Moneydance follows accounting rules, Quicken does not and can hence take liberties is about all I can say.

    Issue #3 AlphaVantage does seem to have its moments, while it is notably slow it generally works most of the time. Most problems with the Q & ER extension often goes back to AlphaVantage issues. I would usually recommend looking at the user written Quote Loader, but I would suggest just holding off there as there is a new version almost ready to be released.

    There is no paid for support option with Moneydance. The two ways dantdavis mentioned are the only ways I know to try and get appropriate engagement from the support channel.

  5. 5 Posted by Brian on 25 Jan, 2020 10:48 PM

    Brian's Avatar

    Dantdavis and dwg, thank you for the responses! I was starting to think I was on an island here. I've read several posts by each of you and the MD community owes you a debt of gratitude. It's disappointing that you are unable to get a response from Support with as much as you contribute.

    I took a look at the "Vicissitudes of Moving from Quicken to Moneydance" post; that is a lot to digest but it is very much appreciated! I will dig into that when I have uninterrupted time to run tests.

    I looked into the OFX file for the first time today and I don't see anything that sheds light on #2 above. In the transaction section, the 'subacctsec' and 'subacctfund' are both 'CASH'. I don't see how Quicken would know to move cash to/from the money market account but it did. More digging required.

    However, I did notice that there is a section in the download file that lists the position of each security in the account (# shares, share price and date of the price). And if that weren't enough, there is a separate 'security info' section that also lists each security in the account with its price and date of the price. It would be AWESOME if Moneydance was able to use this information to update at least the security prices instead of having to use an unreliable extension to download quotes (more on that in a second). It would also be great if MD had a way to update the position information based on the file. I realize there are accounting issues with adding/removing shares but a placeholder transaction could be created to alert the user that there is a discrepancy between the number of shares in the download and the shares in MD.

    Back to the quote extension, I'm still puzzled with Alphavantage. I ran some tests yesterday and I *thought* it was downloading time delayed quotes because they did not match the quotes when I checked my portfolio online (either the previous day's close or real time). I tried again today and it downloaded some quotes but not all, and one was updated to the close price as of Thursday. I will definitely look at Quote Loader.

    Overall, I'm still planning on switching to MD but disappointed in the amount of manual work that has been required so far and I'm still a long way off. I have multiple other investment accounts to bring over and this is by far the easiest.

  6. 6 Posted by dwg on 26 Jan, 2020 03:21 AM

    dwg's Avatar

    I pulled over some 70 accounts from Reckon (think localized version of Quicken) to Moneydance, but I did a hell of a lot of post-Reckon pre-Moneydance work on the files to make them more Moneydance friendly.

    It was not an overnight job!

    I investigated quite a few alternatives and found they all had their limitations, and to be honest Reckon has it is limitations too. In my view, at the time at least, Moneydance was the best of the rest and showed a lot of promise, I suspect this has not really changed, as the investment handling capability of the opposition does not seem to have advanced.

    Undoubtedly Moneydance has limitations in the Investment space, I have made some suggestions in this space in the forums and have also approached the developer directly on the specifics of where I think it could be improved, I have concentrated on direct share investments in my suggestions, that and funds are my main area of interest in this.

  7. System closed this discussion on 26 Apr, 2020 03:30 AM.

Comments are currently closed for this discussion. You can start a new one.

Keyboard shortcuts


? Show this help
ESC Blurs the current field

Comment Form

r Focus the comment reply box
^ + ↩ Submit the comment

You can use Command ⌘ instead of Control ^ on Mac