Is your QuickBooks Online account a mess?
When you think of QuickBooks Online for your small business, it may feel like…
Each transaction, customer, vendor, deposit, credit, account, product, service, tax, payroll, inventory… are noodles in a big bowl. Many of the noodles have become error noodles, and they are wrapped around other error noodles and stuck, or maybe they’re wrapped around non-error noodles and it’s hard to know the difference!
You know your business. So, you tried to pull the error noodles apart, to separate them and fix the error. But the error noodles persistently stick to other error or non-error noodles and you can’t tell the difference or sort it out.
It feels hopeless. And you’re probably thinking, QuickBooks Online is supposed to be easy!
Now there’s the additional stress that 2020 is approaching! You’d like nothing better than to start fresh, to have a new set of books. To be ready for the New Year with a stress-free QuickBooks Online Experience.
Can you start over in QuickBooks Online and fix these errors once and for all?
Yes! Just keep reading and I’ll walk you through this simple (but occasionally time consuming) process!!
The first thing to do is decide when you would like your start date to be. If you choose January 1 to start, does your bank start their new period that day too? If so, it’s easy.
If January 1 falls in between the period dictated by your bank, you will have an opening adjustment during the first month of reconciling. But don’t worry. We’ll come back to that a bit later and CPA’s and tax accountants understand why this happens and can easily make the necessary adjustments during next year’s tax season. Don’t worry. Relax, we got this!
Next you want to decide if the QBO subscription you have been using meets your needs. Do you need additional bookkeeping capabilities? Do you have capabilities in your OLD QBO data file that you don’t need? Now’s a good time to decide what subscription level is best and make the change necessary.
Did you know you can purchase QBO for considerably less when signing up through a Certified QBO Pro Advisor? A subscription through an Advisor is very helpful when you have questions or need coaching on how to properly record transactions. Advisors get subscription discounts for their clients to save you money off the retail price.
Check out the various QBO subscription levels. When you’ve decided which level is best, open a NEW QuickBooks Online subscription (data file).
Now that you have a start date and a NEW QBO data file up and ready, you’re ready to begin building your new accounting system, but without that spaghetti mess!
- Within your OLD QuickBooks data file, from the Gear Icon, export all Reports into Excel. Verify the date range by the drop down on the left side. If you’ve been filing your taxes and believe they do not need amendment, it’s not necessary to export for a long-time frame; probably the most you will need is the previous year.
The available Reports are: General ledger, Profit and loss, Balance sheet, Trial balance, and Journal. You probably will not want to export these reports to your NEW QuickBooks data file. But you will want to have them for your records for when you eventually deactivate the OLD data file. You won’t want to upload these from Excel to your NEW QBO data file because you don’t want to contaminate your NEW data file with erroneous information. That’s why you’re creating a NEW data file to begin with! So just save those Excel reports somewhere safe where you can find them again for taxes or for historical records.
- Within your OLD QBO data file, export all available lists to Excel. The available Lists are: Customers, Employees, and Vendors. This information will not contain transactions such as customer invoices or Vendor payments; But rather, these lists of information you will use in your NEW QBO data file to save you time in entering information.Once the lists are exported to Excel, delete outdated information from each Excel file such as vendors you no longer use or customers who you do not plan to sell to again. But as you modify your Excel lists, keep the formatting the same so it will be easy to import into your NEW QBO data file when you’re ready.
- Print out a Chart of Account (COA) list from your OLD QBO data file. To download to Excel is tricky. But here’s how: Go to the Gear Icon and select All Lists. Then select Chart of Accounts. Next select “Run Report” by the button in the top right. On the following screen you will see where you can download to Excel. Now you can see if there are accounts which you would like to rename or restructure or you no longer need. Remember to simplify your COA as much as possible but keep the formatting the same in Excel rows and columns.
- From the Gear Icon, go to Products and Services and export into an Excel file. Are there Products or Services which you would like to rename or restructure? Are there Products or Services which you no longer need or which can be organized better? Now’s a good time to do this while it’s in an easy to read format in Excel. But remember again, keep the column and row format the same so it uploads correctly in your new QBO data file when you’re ready.
Now you have all the information you need to make the transition to a NEW QBO data as easy as possible and you have a backup of all your pertinent company data.
Next is the upload to your NEW data file!
Within your NEW QBO data file:
- At the Gear Icon, select Import Data. Use your stored Excel files to one at a time. Import: Clients, then Vendors, then Products and Services.
- Next import the Chart of Accounts from your Excel file.
- Notice we did not import or link Bank Data! That comes soon! But not yet!
Open your OLD QBO data file in a different browser from what you normally use. For example, if your NEW QBO data file is open in Google Chrome, open the OLD QBO data file in Internet Explorer. And write this down on a sticky note in front of you. That way you’ll not get the two data files confused as you enter other information. And that part is next:
Within the OLD QBO data file (in a different browser), load a list of all open invoices. This is where the tedious part comes in as you must re-create in the NEW QBO data file, each open invoice. Manually enter the information of each open invoice into the NEW QBO data file exactly as it appears in the OLD QBO data file. Be especially certain of the dates so you’re A/P list is accurate. This seems like a lot and it may be, but at least the current customer information is already loaded!
Do the same with payables. Open the OLD QBO data file (in a different browser), and load a list of all payables. Then enter each vendor bill with the appropriate due date.
You’re on the home stretch! The final step in creating a NEW QBO data file is to connect all bank and credit cards. As I mentioned before the important thing to make this a simple step, is use your start date as the date with the bank. Then stick to that date. Any transactions that may populate BEFORE that start date must be excluded. As mentioned before, this will make the first reconciliation a little skewed if your designated start date is different than the bank period start date. This may cause you to have to make a reconciliation adjustment the first-time reconciling. But this is easily explained and CPA’s understand this slight hiccup.
When the bank and credit cards are connected you are ready to go!
You now have an updated Client list, Vendor list, Products and Services list, Chart of Accounts, current Accounts Payable, current Accounts Receivable, and current and correct bank/credit card information from the chosen start date.
If that all seemed easy for you and you breezed through it, congrats! You have a NEW QBO data file without the errors of the OLD! No QuickBooks Online mess!
If this process seems daunting and you simply don’t have time to do it without headache and frustration, call me! I have the knowledge to zip through this process. Your rebuild job will get done accurately and smoothly and you can rest assured a QuickBooks Pro is on it!
Whatever you do, I recommend you keep the OLD QBO data file live until you ask your CPA if they are content with the Reports you have saved in Excel format to file your next round of taxes. If not, they may advise you keep the OLD QBO file live until tax filings are complete.
If they are satisfied with the Reports from the OLD QBO data file, you may still want to keep the OLD QBO data file live for 30 or 60 days simply for reference regarding invoices or bills. But after a reasonable period of time and when you’re ready, you can kill the OLD QBO data file subscription and enjoy life with the NEW QBO data file!
Keep in mind it may be very helpful (and cheaper in the long run!) going forward to have a Certified QuickBooks Pro help you with your new data file to keep it running smoothly. You don’t want to repeat the same mistakes you made with the OLD QBO data file and find yourself again in this same place rebuilding your books at year end 2020. Certified QuickBooks Pros like myself can design a plan to consistently help you without breaking your budget, and you’ll have the peace of mind knowing your small business accounting is in order throughout the whole year.