starting a new calendar year

Juliet Hart's Avatar

Juliet Hart

05 Jan, 2019 06:34 PM

I just started using MoneyDance in January 2018. I would like to close out 2018 and start an entire new file of transactions for 2019. I would like to use the same accounts but with a zero start balance. I use MoneyDance to record my checks and other payment transactions that I summarize at the end of the year and give to my tax accountant. How can I start a new Year in MoneyDance?

Thank you

  1. 1 Posted by derekkent23 on 05 Jan, 2019 06:53 PM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I an not support staff, just a user.

    I sounds like you are taking about archiving.
    Moneydance had that feature once but it created more problems than it solved and was remove.
    In each register you can filer out data including to only show THIS YEAR using the bar at the top of the register.
    I and most users simply carry on from year to year.

    If you want to start a new data set then use FILE (for Mac MONEYDANCE) - NEW.
    You will have set up very thing again, plus adding opening balances for each account. Its just not worth the effort.

    Hope this helps

  2. 2 Posted by -Kevin N. on 05 Jan, 2019 07:30 PM

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    Hi Julie,

    Although it's technically possible to create a new data file with the current account and category structures in place, you may want to consider that you can simply generate a report based on data in the year desired.

    Keeping your historical data in tact and in one data file can make it much easier to reference that data should the need ever arise.

    If on the other hand, you are determined to keep separate data files, look to this post for instructions. Another user reported that the procedure works as expected but that the new data file retained some investment transactions. I can not speak to that possibility but it's something that you should be prepared for if applicable.

    Safe computing 101 dictates that you should make sure that you know and understand the location of your data file and always have a copy or working backup of your data before making any major changes.

    -Kevin N. (not a member of MD support)

    PS. I agree with forum member derekkent23 - "It's just not worth the effort."

  3. 3 Posted by JulieH on 05 Jan, 2019 08:09 PM

    JulieH's Avatar


    Thank you so much - this sounds like a good option except that cannot
    access that old data once it is in a QIF file?  Is that correct?

    Otherwise this sounds like a good option.  I just cant edit the
    categories and there are some I would like not to carry forward.  That
    is one feature
    I wish MoneyDance would include.

    I am very please with MoneyDance.  I was looking for a simple option to
    keep track of my spending.  I hope it stays simple.


  4. 4 Posted by dwg on 05 Jan, 2019 08:26 PM

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    I'm a fellow user.

    With what Kevin has describes the QIF file is used to transfer the structure, your old data file remains intact and you can open it any time.

    Categories can be marked inactive so they do not appear in drop downs etc. You cannot just delete them in an existing file because where older transaction have been using them, to do so would destroy that data.

    The design of moneydance is to keep all the data in the same file, this facilitates comparisons over time as well as preserving investment transaction which you normally require as the history of investments is significant.

  5. 5 Posted by JulieH on 06 Jan, 2019 12:24 AM

    JulieH's Avatar

    Thank you for your response.

    I am not sure how this really works.  I want to extract and delete the
    year 2018 transactions from the current file into a backup file like I
    used to be able to do in Quicken.  Then I will start over with new
    transactions for 2019 but the same accounts.  Don't care if I keep the
    same categories or start over but would be nice to keep the same
    categories.  I was not aware I could edit the categories - that is
    great news!

    I like a clean slate.  And keep my transactions for 4 years but like to
    delete them after that. 
    But I need to be able to open the 2018 file that was extracted in case
    I have to research some transactions especially in December 2018. 
    Usually need to do that.


  6. 6 Posted by -Kevin N. on 06 Jan, 2019 12:45 AM

    -Kevin N.'s Avatar

    Hi Julie,

    The least complicated thing for you to do might be for you to just create a new file, then recreate your account and category structure.

    To do so, open Moneydance.
    From the Moneydance menu bar, go to File > New...
    Select the option to 'Create a New File' click Next.
    Name the File click Next.
    Select a Currency and either Standard or Minimal Account Set.
    Minimal Account Set will include the least amount of pre-installed Categories.

    -Kevin N. (not a member of MD support)

  7. 7 Posted by -Kevin N. on 06 Jan, 2019 12:48 AM

    -Kevin N.'s Avatar

    Hi Julie,

    Just to add to the above...

    Once you created your new data file, in order to access your 2018 data file, from the Moneydance menu bar, go to File > Open.
    Your 2018 data file should be listed there under it's given name.
    You can then go back to your 2019 data file using the same procedure.

    --Kevin N. (not a member of MD support)

  8. 8 Posted by derekkent23 on 06 Jan, 2019 09:48 AM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I an not support staff, just a user.

    Hi Julie,

    Around in a circle.

    The grate advice Kevin N provided in his last two posts take you back to my first post but gives more detail.
    Open a new data set.

  9. 9 Posted by JulieH on 06 Jan, 2019 03:16 PM

    JulieH's Avatar

    Thank you - that is what I was looking for but I cannot create  a new
    file - too many accounts, categories, and tax indicators.  Took a long
    time to set this up.

    So the QIF file and a new file (data file) are not the same thing?

  10. 10 Posted by JulieH on 06 Jan, 2019 03:19 PM

    JulieH's Avatar

    That would take a long long time - too many accounts, categories, and
    tax indicators.  Not sure I could duplicate anyway.

    I guess I will try the QIF route  and see how it goes.


  11. 11 Posted by JulieH on 06 Jan, 2019 03:24 PM

    JulieH's Avatar

    I'm kind of hoping MoneyDance will create functionality for this. I
    don't want ten years of data in my data file.  Is good
    to clear it out periodically and start fresh - so much changes anyway,
    even from year to year.  Would like to place all  of 2018 in a data
    then start 2019 in the current data file with all the accounts,
    categories, tax indicators and reports.

    If I use QIF files, I have two questions:  when the data is transferred
    to a QIF does it delete the 2018 data from the current data file?  If
    not, how do I
    delete the 2018 data?  Line by line?

    If I create a QIF file for 2018 transactions

  12. 12 Posted by derekkent23 on 06 Jan, 2019 03:42 PM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I an not support staff, just a user.
    Hi Julie,

    All the people who contributed to this thread, get a email and can see all your post. Your replies can be a bit confusing, its like you are replying to individuals, sometimes not heading it with there name.

    QIF file and a new file (data file) are not the same thing.
    To create a new data set you follow Kevin's instructions in post 6 and 7.

    A QIF file is created using EXPORT. However due to the limitations of the QIF file format not every thing in your Moneydance data set would be saved to a QIF file.

    in the QIF export window there is a start and end date, but I have never had the need for a QIF export in all the years I have been using Moneydance, so don't know how well it works.

    Hope this helps

  13. 13 Posted by derekkent23 on 06 Jan, 2019 03:47 PM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I an not support staff, just a user.
    Hi Julie,

    See edit to last post at

  14. 14 Posted by -Kevin N. on 06 Jan, 2019 04:38 PM

    -Kevin N.'s Avatar

    Hi Julie,

    To answer your 2 questions regarding the export of a QIF file.

    when the data is transferred to a QIF does it delete the 2018 data from the current data file?

    No. The data file that the QIF file is exported from stays in tact.

    If not, how do I delete the 2018 data? Line by line?

    There is no need to delete any data from the data file that you exported the QIF file from. The data file that you exported the QIF file from essentially becomes your archive file.

    The QIF file gets imported into a new empty data file. If you follow the instructions that I provided, ONLY the account structure and category structure will be imported into the new data file.

    Going forward, you will work in the new data file.

    -Kevin N. (not a member of MD support)

  15. 15 Posted by JulieH on 06 Jan, 2019 05:36 PM

    JulieH's Avatar

    Sorry I did not realize that all my mail was being duplicated to both
    of you.  Thank you so much for all your help.  It was really helpful. 
    Not sure how I will proceed but at least
    am less likely to destroy all I have created in MoneyDance.  Thinking
    about creating a shell data file that I can reuse or copy with all the
    accounts and categories set up then reusie that
    each new year.

    Happy New Year!


  16. 16 Posted by hleofxquotes on 06 Jan, 2019 07:03 PM

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    @JulieH, your email exchange is also being added to the public forum here:

    same accounts but with a zero start balance.

    Do you have investment holding? loan (such home mortgage ...). Just starting "fresh" will cause complication. For example: let's say you have 100 shares of Apple purchased in 12/2018. After starting fresh, in 2/2019 you sell 50 shares. There is nothing in your new file that can be used to properly account for such transaction.

    Mike B. has written an extension to display low-level data structure of MD file. It might be possible to "enhance" the extension to allow one to delete "low level" items (such as transactions matching certain criteria). You can ask Mike B to see if he sees it fit to make such change

  17. 17 Posted by JulieH on 06 Jan, 2019 07:54 PM

    JulieH's Avatar

    I only track my expenses (checks written, charges on debit card, etc)
    not my mortgages,pensions, or investments.  I get end of year
    statements from those companies so just give those to my accountant. 
    What I must track are my expenditures for budgeting and tax related. 
    End of year is easy as most of it is in my Money Dance file and I just
    run a simple report to give to the accountant.  Have to start all over
    at the beginning of each new calendar year so would like to be able to
    keep separate data files for each year with accounts, categories, tax
    indicators and reports.  That would greatly help if there is an easy

    Thanks if you can help.

  18. 18 Posted by PAP on 09 Jan, 2019 04:31 AM

    PAP's Avatar


    I was just checking in for news before starting my yearly archive process and noticed this discussion… so I might as well mention how I do it. It’s not as bad as it sounds even though it is very manual.

    If you only have cash accounts it’s no worse than starting a new checkbook. And it can be done in less than an hour.

    I work from a MASTER file that has years of transactions for active assets, liabilities and investments. However, my cash accounts are closed out and rolled over every calendar year.

    Checking, savings, petty cash and credit cards are easy to handle… I export the Master file to a backup (archive) and then import it to a new empty file (call it …2018) so I basically have two copies of the Master file. You don’t have to change anything in the file structure or the accounts!!

    I’ll delete any transactions from this year in the 2018 file accounts leaving them with an ending balance. Since I did the same process last year, I will now have a complete 2018 file 1/1 – 12/31.

    In the real MASTER, I do the opposite in every account… delete all transactions from last year and enter a January 1 opening balance (the ending balance in the other file) and I have a clean start for the new year. Just like copying the ending balance to a new checkbook (for each account).

    Active asset, liability and investment accounts are a little more complicated since you can’t delete old transactions everything stays in the Master file… and any transactions that affected cash accounts last year will need dummy offsets to explain where the other side of the transaction went and that takes me another hour.

  19. 19 Posted by dwg on 09 Jan, 2019 04:42 AM

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    In my opinion, the method Kevin outlined in post #2 is the best for starting a new file with an account and category structure in place. This is a pretty well proven method as it is often used when migrating from other vendor's products to Moneydance.

  20. 20 Posted by PAP on 09 Jan, 2019 04:54 AM

    PAP's Avatar

    That's cool... I tried that a few years ago and it took longer much longer to clean up. The new file has all kinds of default and sometimes conflicting info that needs to be deleted, userid's, passwords and connections don't import, etc. Migrating from other products requires that you do all of that setup... the object for me is to NOT start all over.

  21. 21 Posted by PAP on 09 Jan, 2019 05:09 AM

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    I think it’s mostly a methodology difference… Kevin is archiving the main file and trying to recreate the file structure in a new file. I just backup my file and delete the old transactions… the file structure and setup in my main file is never touched.

  22. 22 Posted by JulieH on 09 Jan, 2019 12:31 PM

    JulieH's Avatar

    Thank you all so much. You have all been great for someone who is
    trying to keep my finances a little simpler.  I have rental properties
    so starting over each new year
    is important as I manage to my annual federal tax submission. 

     To PAP, your suggestion is what I think I am going to try to do. I do
    want to clean up some of my categories as Kevin explained I can do. 
    This way I don't  risk losing all my current accounts, categories,
    reports, and tax indicators. Way to complicated to recreate and risk
    inaccuracies.  Each new backup will contain only last years
    transactions which is what I want..

    Just one final question:  can I batch delete the old transactions or do
    I have to do them one by one?


  23. 23 Posted by PAP on 09 Jan, 2019 01:18 PM

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    Yes, you can do a standard Windows CTRL-CLICK or SHIFT-CLICK to select multiple transactions in a register, then Right-Click and Delete.

    Two common sense things to remember!
    1)Standard double entry stuff... balances will look funky until you clean out all of the accounts. 2)Delete or set a stop date for your reminders and automatic stuff in the previous year file.

    I have a specific business accounting reason for needing the past 10 years to be saved as unique calendar years but also totally available for use. I found that a backup (or duplicate) and cleanup was safer and faster than converting and recreating. Backup and restore was dependable even years ago when the archiving functions were causing so many problems.

  24. 24 Posted by JulieH on 09 Jan, 2019 02:41 PM

    JulieH's Avatar

    Thank you again for all your excellent help  - this is why I love

    Would be easier if they had an option to do this for us but this all
    works well.

    Take care

  25. 25 Posted by PAP on 09 Jan, 2019 05:23 PM

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    I feel like I should add a footnote:

    Archiving may seem like a useful easy option to hope for, but I would actually vote against it!!

    Although my preference is to handle, save, file and store my personal finances in yearly archive where the accounts (and the file itself) are figuratively CLOSED at the end of the year (over, done file it away), it stems from being co-mingled with an Enterprise version of another product.

    That product handles employee management, payroll, purchasing, sales, inventory, depreciation, invoicing, etc. Of course income items are recorded when they are EARNED and deductions when expenses are INCURRED, so dates (not dollars), are very, very important and where things are recorded or transferred at the end of the year is too! That’s just how business, taxes (and accounting) works.

    Even programs that cost thousands of times more than Moneydance need lots of manual attention to archive accounts involving accrual, appreciation, depreciation, and interest and they are still not perfect. I suspect most of us wouldn’t want to pay for the time and headaches involved. And I personally wouldn’t want to see a costly feature that just frustrates and makes me hate an otherwise fine and affordable product.

    It may seem nice but it’s probably not important enough for many and all of us would have to pay for it to be a program feature.

    So I decided that I trust ME to do it and it only costs ME a couple of hours a year.

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