Does your QuickBooks have ghosts?! I’m not talking about real ghosts—just those little annoying issues that creep in and cause you to have a bit of frustration. I’ve been an Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor for many years and these little “glitches” have become more frequent as the QB’s software became larger, more sophisticated and more database driven. Often, they are no more than merely annoying; other times they can jeopardize your work and even your QB’s file.
For instance this last week we received a request because the reports could not be exported to excel files. The week before, we were called because the software had a major glitch while upgrading to a new version—the data was scrambled and non-recoverable from the file. These calls are not being made from new, inexperienced users of the software, but accounting professionals who are familiar with the software and are stymied with these little problems.
This article gives you a bit of insights and perspective; and encourages you to call us before the annoyances become serious issues. Regardless, make a mental note to go create a backup TODAY! You will be glad that you did.
Spring-Clean Your QuickBooks Company File
There are a lot of clues that indicate trouble with your QuickBooks company file. Is it time for a check-up and tune-up? After this winter, you’ll probably hear few complaints about things like puddles in the street, summer heat and spring cleaning. Most people are eager to throw open the doors and windows, and attack the dirt that the season left behind, both inside and outside of the house. It’s not hard to see when your home or your office needs cleaning, however QuickBooks company file errors are harder to detect, but they’re there, including:
Inability to execute specific processes, like upgrading
Occasional program crashes
Missing data (accounts, names, etc.)
Refusal to complete transactions, and
Mistakes in reports.
If some transactions won’t go through when you click one of the Save buttons
QuickBooks shuts down with error messages
Your bank reconciliation closes without saving
Call for Help
The best thing you can do if you notice problems like this cropping up in QuickBooks – especially if you’re experiencing multiple ones – is to contact us. We understand the file structure of QuickBooks company data, and we have access to tools that you don’t. We can analyze your file and take steps to correct the problem(s).
One of the reasons QuickBooks files get corrupt is simply because they grow too big. That’s either a sign of your company’s success or of a lack of periodic maintenance that you can do yourself. QuickBooks contains some built-in tools that you can run occasionally to minimize your file size.
One thing you can do on your own is to rid QuickBooks of old, unneeded data. The software contains a Condense Data utility that can do this automatically. But just because QuickBooks offers a tool doesn’t mean that you should use it on your own. KEEP READING….
A Risky Utility
The program’s documentation for this utility contains a list of warnings and preparation steps a mile long. We recommend that you don’t use this tool. Same goes for Verify Data and Rebuild Data in the Utilities menu. If you lose a significant amount of company data, you can also lose your company. It’s happened to numerous businesses.
Instead, start practicing good preventive medicine to keep your QuickBooks company file healthy. Once a month or so, perhaps at the same time you reconcile your bank accounts, do a manual check of your major Lists.
Run the Account Listing report (Lists | Chart of Accounts | Reports | Account Listing). Are all of your bank accounts still active? Do you see accounts that you no longer used or which duplicate each other? Don’t try to “fix” the Chart of Accounts on your own. Let us help.
Be very careful here, but if there are Customers and Vendors that have been off your radar for a long time, make them inactive- once you’re sure your interaction with them is history. Same goes for Items and Jobs. Go through the other lists in this menu with a critical but conservative eye. If there’s any doubt, leave them there.
A Few Alternatives
There are other options. Your copy of QuickBooks may be misbehaving because it’s unable to handle the depth and complexity of your company. It may be time to upgrade. If you’re using QuickBooks Pro, move up to Premier. And if Premier isn’t cutting it anymore, consider QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions. There’s cost involved, of course, but you may already be losing money by losing time because of your version’s limitations. All editions of QuickBooks look and work similarly, so your learning curve will be minimal.
Also, try to minimize the number of open windows that are active in QuickBooks. That will improve your performance. And what about your hardware? Is it getting a little old? At least consider adding memory, but PCs are cheap these days. If you’re having problems with many of your applications, it may be time for an upgrade.
We’ve suggested many times here that you contact us for help with your spring cleanup. While that may seem self-serving, remember that it takes us a lot less time and money to take preventive steps with your QuickBooks company file than to troubleshoot a broken one.