Is How Long I Use the Same QuickBooks Data File a Sign or Reason I Need a New One?
There’s more than one approach to how long you use the same QuickBooks data file. You can create a new file each fiscal year, or whenever you upgrade QuickBooks Desktop. Other users prefer using the same file as long as possible. Which approach works best depends on your preferences, and the way your business uses QuickBooks. While entering a lower volume of transactions into QuickBooks helps you use the same file longer, there are possible situations where you need a new QuickBooks data file.
What Five Signs, Symptoms or Reasons Tell Me I Need a New QuickBooks Data File?
1. General QuickBooks data bloat/size
If your file has been in use for a long time; or you consistently entered a very high volume of transactions, you may notice your QuickBooks becomes more sluggish; reports take longer to generate; or it’s just more difficult to find the information you need with so much data to wade through. Secondly, the odds of data becoming damaged increase if there’s a lot of background clutter, so to speak.
If your file is becoming too large and cumbersome to use effectively, it may be time to consider a new data file. The simplest solution is to start a new file with lists, balances, and open Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable transactions at the beginning of your fiscal year. You can still use your old QuickBooks data file to look up historical information, but don’t have to deal with its slowness daily. Depending on the complexity of your transactions, it’s sometimes feasible to bring the last year or two of transaction data over, for easier reporting, but this will increase the time and costs to migrate overall data.
2. Slow QuickBooks Desktop performance, despite exceeding system requirements
In many ways, this goes together with the file size and age issues mentioned above. While adding more RAM, faster processors and networking technology accounts for larger or more heavily used QuickBooks data files, these resources poured into your QuickBooks ecosystem may or may not alleviate the issues any more effectively. At worse, they might make it cost-prohibitive to upgrade systems further. At this point, it will make the most sense to start a fresh file.
In some cases, you may find it best to use a two-part approach:
- Moving your file, as-is, to a hosted environment to alleviate potential system issues in the short term.
- Create a new file at the beginning of the next fiscal year, to round out this solution
3. Major list cleanup
Even if your file’s not particularly large in terms of data size, you may find yourself getting frustrated if you still have large lists. Lists you want to attend to include your item, customer, vendor, or account lists. Longer lists take longer to load; become harder to glance through; and eventually exceed hard list limits in QuickBooks, depending on your version.
Inactivating unused list elements with the Add/Edit Multiple feature helps your list browsing ease, but it can be time-consuming if there are hundreds or thousands to inactivate. Further, inactive elements still count towards list limits. When this happens, it may not be a viable solution.
In these cases, starting a new file with list elements you need going forward can be a great way to clean the slate - making bookkeeping smoother down the road. This situation usually works best with just lists and their balances in the new file. It is possible to bring over a period of transactions, but they may require list elements you weren’t planning on bringing into the new file. This potentially undoes much of your list trimming - as more items, customers, vendors, etc. used on those transactions must be added back in to import them.
4. Major financial changes for your business
There are some major changes for your business likely being easier to track, if you start with a fresh company file. For example: if your business acquires or merges with another business. Major overhauls to they way you track taxes, income, or expenses might fall in here as well. Some are smaller, such as if you’ll begin using some of QuickBooks’ more advanced features like Enhanced Inventory Receiving, Multiple Currencies, or First In First Out (FIFO) Costing.
Even some lesser changes, such as deciding to use non-inventory items, instead of inventory parts; and turning inventory sites on or off might warrant a fresh file if you're unsure your existing data is accurate and neat. The last thing you need, when incorporating a new feature, is for old data issues to cause unneeded trouble with it.
While many of these examples don’t require new files, if they’re on your horizon, they're still factors to consider. The security of knowing you’re making a big change to your bookkeeping with verified, cleaned up data can go a long way to smoothing otherwise rough transitions.
5. Significant and/or recurring data damage
If you’re regularly having problems with your balance sheet, or other reports; or see other issues: list elements, error messages, or missing data, you may be dealing with data damage. You may already know you can confirm it using the verify utility in QuickBooks. After that, you can rebuild the file to address data damage found. If it’s coming up again and again, it’s possible the file is damaged on a deeper level than the rebuild utility can resolve. There are also other issues, such as encryption problems. They can be raised as red flags, as soon as you see them - since they can’t be fully fixed in the damaged file.
For data damage happening frequently, or severe in nature, creating a new file is the likely solution. Whether you bring transactions to the new file, or just lists and balances, likely depends on the type of damage. Sometimes, there are solutions to stabilize the old file as a reference archive, but nothing more. In effect, you’ll use your old file to look up historic information, entering all new information into the new file. Those aren’t the only reasons to consider a new QuickBooks file, but are the most common signs showing it may be worth discussing.
What Can I Do to Keep Using the Same QuickBooks Data File as Long as Possible?
You may benefit from a conversation about cloud solutions for your business. Many users hosting their data on local networks, or single computers, find custom cloud solutions avoid file problem inducing environmental factors. They also give more flexibility in how to, and where to, run business. Don't hesitate to consult with our product specialists, to learn more about cloud hosting and other topics helping QuickBooks company file sustainability.
What Else Can Be Done to Improve My QuickBooks Data File or QuickBooks Desktop?
Our product specialists and financial consultants ensure you’re not doing more work than needed for everything to run smoothly. They help with recommending and implementing a variety of software connecting with QuickBooks to make your life easier, including: AvaTax for sales tax; Fishbowl for Inventory Management; solutions for automated expense entry, and many more.
Whether you’re seeing one or more of these signs that you may need a new QuickBooks data file, or you’d just like to get a fresh start in QuickBooks, confident that you’re doing things in the best way for your business, reach out for your new QuickBooks file consultation today. Let us find the solutions to empower your business success.
Looking for more QuickBooks guidance? We're hosting a Two-Day Seminar/Webinar on QuickBooks Desktop - on the 3rd and 4th of October 2019. It will take place at our Learning Center, and online! Space IS Limited; get your spot while spots remain.