Tidy up your QuickBooks lists

My QuickBooks lists are a mess

Do you have a problem finding the correct customer or vendor to assign transactions too?  Struggle to work out how much you owe or are owed because you have duplicate entries where the name is very slightly?

…or do you have multiple expense accounts for the same expense category making it hard to work out exactly what your costs are?

…or you have multiple inventory items that are duplicates of the same product that you sell making it hard to get an accurate picture of what items are selling, how many you have in stock or on order and is leading to confusion, unsatisfied customers or missed sales.

It occurs because as you have multiple staff entering data into QuickBooks and creating new accounts, customer or items.  Customers or Vendors we haven’t done business within years and unlikely to deal with again. 

Reaching your QuickBooks list limits

You may be reaching the maximum number of list items that QuickBooks permits, before reaching that you can do some tidying up of old redundant list items or duplicate lists 

List TypeMax number (Pro, Permier)Max number (Enterprise)
Chart of Accounts10,000100,000
Names (Customers, Vendors, Employees etc)14,500100,000 or more
Items (inventory, non-inventory etc)14,500100,000 of more

Now is a good time to do some housekeeping and tidy up your QuickBooks lists. 

Three ways to tidy up your lists:

Before starting any major change to QuickBooks it is always good practice to make a backup of your company file and save it in a safe place, just in case you do something you would like to reverse in the future.

Method 1: Delete unwanted names, items or accounts

The most straight forward and simple way is to delete the name, items or accounts from QuickBooks. Steps to delete are:

  1. In the list of Customers, Vendors, Accounts of Items select the list item you would like to delete
  2. Right click on the selected list item and then choose the menu to Delete.., or in the Edit drop down menu select the option to Delete
  3. If the list name or item has not been used on a transaction then QuickBooks will permit you to delete it otherwise it will alert you that it has already been used on a transaction or a balance and will prompt you to make it Inactive instead.

Method 2: Make inactive unwanted names, items or accounts

When making a name, item or account inactive in QuickBooks does not delete the name or the transactions associated but essentially hides it and means it cant be selected on transactions. You can still see it in the lists if you select the option to see All Customers or Include inactive.  Steps to make inactivate:

  1. In the list of Customers, Vendors, Accounts of Items select the list item you would like to make inactive
  2. Right click on the selected list item, name or account and select the option to Make Inactive
  3. It will then disappear from the relevant list and will not be able to be selected on transactions.

Method 3: Merge unwanted names, items or accounts

The merge feature in QuickBooks makes it easy to manage duplicate Accounts, Customer, Vendors, Employees and Items and keep the historical transactions and balances for both the list item that is being merged.  Steps to merge lists:

  1. In the list of Customers, Vendors, Accounts, Employees or Items select the list item that you want to merge into another item.
  2. Right click on the selected list item and choose the menu option to Edit
  3. In the name field edit to the name of the list item to match exactly the list item that you want to merge it into (ie make the names identical) including any parent name and click Save & Close. You will be prompted by QuickBooks that "the name is already being used and if you would like to merge them?". Click Yes and the records will be merged.

More Power! QuickBooks list tidy up using a power data utility like Zed Axis

If you have many hundreds of names, accounts or items that need to be deleted, made inactivate or merged then doing that manually one at a time in QuickBooks can be very time consuming.  That is where Zed Axis the data import and export utility for QuickBooks can save you a great deal of time.