When you create a new bank account in Core > Chart of Accounts, you have an option to set the Opening Balance for that. Core assumes that this value is coming directly from your bank statement and, therefore, automatically reconciles it. Later, when you do a reconciliation for that account for the first time, the Beginning Balance for the reconciliation is automatically set to this value, even though you do not see the reconciliation history for the Opening Balance.
However, if you do not enter the Opening Balance for a bank account at the time of its creation, you might be establishing the initial balance by the first transaction on the account (say by transferring some amount to it from another account). But unlike setting an Opening Balance, this transaction is not automatically reconciled even though the value might be coming from the bank statement. So when you do an initial reconciliation on the account later on, you see the Beginning Balance to be zero, even though it should ideally be equal to the established initial balance. To set the proper Beginning Balance in such cases, you need to reconcile the transaction that establishes the initial balance. This makes it at par with setting the Opening Balance for the account, with the only difference being that the reconciled opening balance transaction can now be seen in the Reconciliation History.
To do so, follow these steps or watch this video:
- Open the Accounting > Reconciliations screen, select the bank account from the Account drop-down, and click Reconcile.
- On the Reconcile Accounts dialog, set the Statement Date as the date of the transaction that established the initial balance, the Statement Balance as the value of that transaction, and then click Continue.
- On the Reconciliations screen, check the Clear box against just the transaction that established the initial balance and save the reconciliation.
The Beginning Balance is now set at par with how it is when using the Opening Balance field during the creation of the account and you are ready to do your first actual reconciliation. Check the Core Help for more details on reconciling accounts.