How Can a Balance Sheet be Out of Balance?

 In Post, QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Enterprise, QuickBooks Reports, QuickBooks Tips and Training

Balance sheets generated in QuickBooks (or any other accounting software) should be in balance, right?

Then why is it that more and more people are telling me that theirs don’t balance?

BALANCE SHEETS THAT DON’T BALANCE?

I’ll put this disclaimer in right up front – my expertise is not in understanding the plumbing and database structure that makes QuickBooks tick. (NOTE: if you are an expert and can offer our readers insights on this issue, feel free to do so!)

However, it sure seems odd to me that QuickBooks runs into trouble getting a basic financial report to balance.

Even worse, folks are telling me that the problem seems to be ongoing, regardless of what fixes they attempt to make.

THE MIND-NUMBING STEPS TO FIX BALANCE SHEETS THAT ARE OUT OF BALANCE

The QuickBooks support team suggests this list of fixes when your balance sheet gets wonky.

Have you walked through them to try and resolve this problem for your business?

My guess is that you’ve been ready to put a hammer through your screen shortly after you begin this troubleshooting process.

DID YOU KNOW THIS MAY BE A RECURRING PROBLEM?

A link within the support article above indicates that QuickBooks balance sheets that are not in balance may actually be a recurring problem.

A scary theme that seems prominent in these support articles is “data damage”.

Data damage usually means shipping your QuickBooks data file to the “Intuit Data Services” team for them to examine it and see if a fix is possible.

Did I mention that any transactions you add while they have your file will have to be added again once you get the repaired file back?

Sometimes, they have the file for a short period of time. Others, not so short (as in multiple days). Imagine having to add back multiple days worth of transactions  to your file… NOTE: Do you have experience, good or bad, with the Intuit Data Services team? If so, please post them in the comments box.

INTERESTING WORKAROUND FOR THE OUT OF BALANCE SITUATION?

My friends over at The Intuitive Accountant have proposed this workaround for your out of balance report situation.

Does this solution work for you? If so, that’s great!

If not, are you using any other workarounds for this problem that you care to share?

COULD IT BE – THE QUICKBOOKS DATABASE IS JUST NOT AS SOLID AS IT SHOULD BE?

Just thinking out loud here for a second…

  • The support articles indicate that this problem may be recurring (and a number of my clients will attest to that!)
  • The support article explicitly states that a fix may not be immediately available :
  •  This problem has been called out for several years now, and is definitely not new to some of my clients either

Can’t help but wonder if the underlying database of QuickBooks needs some pretty major help at this point?

I’ve tried to find reports of other accounting software bumping into the same issue, but came up empty. They may be out there somewhere – not sure.

FRUSTRATED USER COMMUNITY

I don’t know what the ultimate solution to this ongoing problem is. That’s above my pay grade.

However, I do know that this problem is causing a great deal of frustration within the QuickBooks community.

Here’s hoping that a permanent fix appears sooner rather than later…of course, Intuit may likely suggest that you move to QBO where this problem has not been reported. But that’s a story for another time…

 

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Showing 4 comments
  • Gary Hayman
    Reply

    We have not had this problem although there have been a few times our BS has been out of balance. This has typically been resolved by running the Verify utility and rebuild (if necessary). We are on Enterprise Platinum.

    We have taken to running the Verify utility and rebuild (if necessary) every week to make sure our data is (hopefully) clean.

    Perhaps this is why we are not having a problem with our BS not being balanced. Or maybe we are lucky – not sure!

    • Scott Gregory
      Reply

      Hi Gary:

      Thanks for the insights on this issue as it relates to your business.

      Glad to hear that this situation has been manageable for you.

      Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to mess around with verify and rebuild at all?

      Scott Gregory

  • Barbara
    Reply

    Last week, I had this problem. It turned up when a client (I am a ProAdvisor) wanted to run cash basis reports. A balance sheet in Accrual Basis is not out of balance. Only a Cash Basis Balance Sheet is out of balance. I started by running a Summary Balance Sheet for “All” time periods by year. I found that it went out of balance many years prior. So I started on the first out of balance year and ran the Summary report by month. Then started with the first month out of balance and rand the report by week and then the first week out balance, I ran it by day to discover the first day out of balance. When I searched for the amount out of balance, I found the transaction that caused it. It was a journal entry that recorded the payment to a customer with a credit balance . First I did a backup and then I created an image of the transaction. Then I deleted it and recreated it. Discovered that put the balance sheet back in balance. However, if I applied the payment to the credit memo, it went back out of balance. So I recreated it and did not apply it and it stays in balance. The customer’s account shows a zero balance but if you run an Open Balance report it shows the Credit Memo and the unapplied credit payment. I do not how to resolve this and Tech Support couldn’t help me.

  • Scott Gregory
    Reply

    Hi Barbara:

    I don’t have an answer for you on this – if tech support can’t resolve this question about their own software, that’s not good.

    My hunch is you will have to live with either – the entries showing on the open invoice report or the out of balance problem. I don’t see them getting this resolved for you.

    Scott Gregory

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