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Question about cleared / pending transactions

September 26, 2019 at 2:43pm

Question about cleared / pending transactions

September 26, 2019 at 2:43pm
Hello to the Actual community! I just started trying out the app and syncing functions yesterday, and it seems like a wonderful alternative to YNAB4 for me. The only thing I'm hung up on is handling upcoming (uncleared) transactions.
The app shows account totals as if all the upcoming transactions I've entered are all cleared. I am noticing this morning that it's making it a bit of a chore to verify that everything in the app is matching up with my actual account balances.
Does Actual have a way to tag certain transactions as "pending" or "uncleared"? Thanks for your help!

September 26, 2019 at 3:48pm
I wish there was an easier way to do this. I currently add "Pending" to the note of the transaction. To verify if the total aligns to the running total of the bank account, I delete the Pending transactions to see the total in Actual. I then use the undo (cmd+z) action to restore the deleted transactions. Would be nice if you could check a transaction as pending which would eliminate it from the total until the pending has cleared/been unchecked.
I'm going to add this functionality very soon. I've been focusing on launching automatically downloaded transactions, which will automatically have "pending" transactions. But a "cleared" status for people who want to manually control this is clearly needed, especially with if you're coming from YNAB4
For what it's worth, Actual prefers dates of transactions to match up with your banks. You can then turn on "show running balance" in the account options (the 3 dot menu) and you can compare the balance of your bank for specific days
That is one method. But a "cleared" status is nice for other reasons too. I'm working on revamping the website and launching the next big update and then I'll implement this

September 27, 2019 at 1:28am
I've come up with my own way of handling this: I enter all uncleared transactions for the last day of the month, and once they clear I move them to the correct date to match the bank statement. I separate my cleared and uncleared transactions with a "blank" transaction for this purpose. Near the end of the month it gets a bit awkward, but on the last day of the month or the first day of the next month I go and bump them to the last day of the new month. This lets me budget for what I've already spent within the current month without messing with the notes field.
Here's an example!
And with the running balance column like mentioned, I can see pretty easily what my current balance is right below the placeholder transaction. I would expect that once cleared/uncleared transactions are officially supported, the balance in the Accounts overview would reflect the latest cleared balance, and perhaps also show (maybe in a less prominent color or smaller font) the latest balance including uncleared transactions. And if a transaction is uncleared, I would expect it to be applied to the current month from a budgeting perspective, and automatically be applied to the next month instead once the month rolls over.
As long as the ability to consider uncleared transactions in my budget is preserved, I'd love to see this workflow officially supported once it moves up in importance relative to the other pressing tasks :)
Wow, that is super creative ! In a good way, but also bad in that Actual really should support this first class.
I personally did not use cleared transactions for a long time, and I thought it was annoying to always have to clear transactions in other systems (think about this in context of automatically downloading transactions from your bank, when you know they are correct)
but I can definitely see all the use cases and I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to get around to it
This is high priority right after I get this update out
Thanks! It’s not a huge pain point for me once I got used to it but glad to hear it will be officially supported. Thanks for all the hard work you’re doing!

September 27, 2019 at 12:13pm
Thank you and ! I had missed the "Show Running Balance" option – that's exactly what I need. And that placeholder "Cleared" transaction is brilliant. Cheers!

September 28, 2019 at 3:46pm
Semi-related question: I've heard you mention that some sort of "scheduled" transaction handling is planned as well. Something I really like about Actual (and this was true of YNAB4 before I switched to the web version) is the ability to plan ahead if I know my income and major expenses that are coming up. The web version of YNAB discourages this and doesn't let you budget with income/expenses that are in the future. Currently I have a separate on-budget account called "Future" that I add these scheduled transactions to, and once they become "real" (payday, or I make the purchase I was planning), I move them to the correct account (the recently-added ability to do this through the All Accounts view makes this much easier!). This lets me budget with that money as if it's already received/spent, but not mess up the balances of my real accounts. Ideally this would be built-in to each account, where future/scheduled transactions are somehow partitioned from the others but they still count against my budget in the month they are scheduled for. Is this the way you see it working, or did you have something else in mind?