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Have you ever been working in your company file only to find out that you cannot locate a transaction that you have previously entered?  Here are some steps you can follow to check and see if you can locate those missing transactions.

What Steps Must I Take to Locate Missing Transactions in QuickBooks Desktop?

You’ve gone around and asked your co-workers if they know what happened to it but no one seems to know.  Chances are you did in fact enter it into QuickBooks, but did you enter it into the correct company file?

Follow these simple steps to get back on track.

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Step 1: Check the Audit Trail

The first place we would want to check is the Audit Trail Report.  This report will show all transactions that have been entered in your company file, even those that have been deleted.  It even goes one step further and shows you any historical changes that have been made on transactions.  To open the Audit Trail Report, open the Reports menu, select Accountant & Taxes, and finally, Audit Trail.


The location of the Audit Trail Report.

From here you can customize the report like any other report you’re familiar with in QuickBooks.  Hit the Customize Report button up on the of the report page and then go to the Filters tab and add some filters to locate your transaction.  Typically, you would want to start with the Transaction Type filter and the Name filter along with the Date.  This way you can identify the person assigned to the transaction along with the correct date you’re looking for.  Now go ahead and press OK and we’ll look at what we see on the report.

You should now see several items listed on the page.  You may even see several lines listed that look like the same transaction but with slight changes.  What you’re looking for is a section in bold which will indicate that part of the transaction was changed and then saved from its previous value.  This can be greatly beneficial in locating a transaction that someone has changed or modified from its original value.


The bold section under the Date column indicates that particular line item has changed from its previous state.

You can notice one the columns that is visible is the Last Modified By column.  This shows which QuickBooks user was signed into QuickBooks when the transaction was saved.  Unfortunately, we cannot filter the report by this column, but you can export it to excel and with some filtering and searching you can get some customization.

After going through the Audit Trail report if you’re unable to locate your missing transaction you will want to move onto the next section.

Step 2: Check for Multiple Company Files

At this point, if the Audit Trail report isn’t allowing us to locate any missing information, we would want to check for the possibility that we have someone working in a different company file than everyone else.  This can sometimes happen if the company file needed to be copied off the network for one reason or another, or someone restored a backup and then neglected to open the regular company file.  Fear not, this is easy to check for.

With QuickBooks open, and signed into your company file, press the F2 key.  This will bring up the Product Information window.  This window shows quite a bit of information about your currently open company file.  What we’re looking for is the File Information part of the window about halfway down.  This will give us the file path of the file we’re currently working in.

The File Information section from the Product Information screen shows us the file location of the currently open company file.

What you will want to confirm with this file path location is that it is pointing to your company file that everyone else is working in.  You may need to check with your local IT for the correct file path that points to your server or computer that is hosting your company file.  It would be suggested to do this on each computer that everyone who works in QuickBooks currently uses to make sure everyone is on the correct file.  If everyone is in the correct file let’s keep moving on.

Step 3: A Condense Has Been Run

The last thing we will want to check for is if there has been a Condense ran recently.

A condense is a feature of QuickBooks that helps remove information prior to a cutoff date.  It is typically ran when attempting to reduce the file size of your company file or for other reasons.  To check to see if one has been ran let’s go back to the Product Information screen by pressing F2.  Along the right-hand side there will be a Condense Information section.


The Condense Information screen as you can locate on the Product Information screen.

If there is a date in there that is after the date of the transaction you’re looking for this could be an indicator that your transaction was removed because of a condense.  You may want to ask your accountant about the condense and if there was a reason it was ran before proceeding.

Step 4: Re-enter Missing Transactions

At this point after having searched the Audit Trail, checking for multiple company files, and checking for a condense having been ran, if we’re still not able to locate your missing transaction your best option would be to go ahead and re-enter it.  Having exhausted all the previous steps we have done an excellent job in being able to safely say that transaction was not entered into your company file. 

If you have exhausted all four steps, let our ProAdvisor team know about your situation. They will collaborate with you on what additional options may be available for finding them, before re-entry is necessary; and if found, they will discuss optimal methods for re-integrating them if needed.