Reduce Your QuickBooks File Size: Remove the Audit Trail
QuickBooks 2019 (Pro/Premier/Enterprise) adds a new feature that will help reduce your file size.
With this new feature, you now have the ability to remove just the audit trail.
REDUCING YOUR QUICKBOOKS FILE SIZE – REMOVE ONLY THE AUDIT TRAIL
You can quickly find this feature via File > Utilities > Condense Data.
Once there, you’ll see this screen:
Please note – once you click Next, QuickBooks automatically takes you into the condense/archive process. No further screens or confirmations will be made.
BE SAFE – CREATE A BACKUP FIRST!
Before beginning the condense, it’s a great idea to make a backup copy of your QuickBooks data file. That way, you’ll have a spare “just in case”. You’ll also be able to look back into the details of that file if needed at a future time.
You can easily make a one time backup via File > Backup Company > Create Local Backup. This would be on top of any automated backups your system or network may already be making for you.
If you’re looking for a very reliable and automated backup system for your QuickBooks data, I recommend Carbonite.
WHAT’S THE AUDIT TRAIL?
Just in case you weren’t aware…
QuickBooks is holding an audit trail – a set of “digital fingerprints” – with EVERY posting transaction that is entered. (Remember – purchase orders and sales orders are not posting transactions. Nor are entries into customer, vendor, or item lists).
As you can imagine, over time, this audit trail can get quite large and start to bog down the performance of QuickBooks.
You can easily view the Audit Trail report via Reports > Accountant and Taxes > Audit Trail report. Here is a sample section of the report:
In the transaction above, you can see that the value of the bill was modified from $1,000 to $1,100 and the amounts distributed to the Notes Payable account also changed.
If you are the owner or manager of your business, I encourage you to get very familiar with this report and ask a lot of questions about why transactions are being modified or deleted from your QuickBooks data.
MORE NEW FEATURES IN QUICKBOOKS ENTERPRISE 2019
Here is my video that gives you a quick overview of the other new features added into QuickBooks Enterprise 2019:
WHAT’S YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS NEW WAY TO REDUCE YOUR FILE SIZE?
I’m seeing reports of file reductions well over 30% for those who have tried this new feature. Share your experiences (good or bad) on this new feature in the comment box below – thanks!
This sounds good, but does this convert all entries to journal entries and remove the detail such as descriptions, memos, notes, etc?
The function described here is only removing the audit trail transactions – not the transactions themselves.
Based on your comment, you may be referring to the regular condense/archive (File > Utilities > Condense Data) function that converts transactions to journal entries, etc.
The condensing of the audit trail is its’ own option within the Condense menus…
I don’t use condense/archive because it removes the original transaction. We go back and look at those transactions for many reasons. I have found the condensing feature to be a real problem.
That’s the great thing about the new version of the condense – it provides an option to leave the transactions and just get rid of the hidden audit trail.
I actually used this feature 2 days ago and it worked great as my file had too much data.
What’s the best way to move data onto a new company file?
I need to create one with only current and last 2-3 years info.
Glad to hear the new feature to remove the audit trail worked well for you.
As far as moving data to a new company file, there really isn’t anything to allow for this directly in QuickBooks.
Trying to pick out just certain information/years gets very messy (i.e. think about invoice > payment > deposit and how they are all linked together).
I work with a firm that specializes in starting new QB files. If you’d like more information, just let me know.
Scott- Thanks for posting this. Gave me the confidence to run the condensing that just got rid of the audit trail. Quick Notes. I”m running QB Enterprise 2019 Manufacturing and Wholesale. We run in multi-user mode. Current File Size was 325MB prior to condensing. Condensing took less than 3 minutes to complete. New file size is 108MB. Worked great from what I can tell.
One Note- i ran an Audit Trail report for the month of November 2019 before and after the condensing. The before report is 477 pages and the after report is 162 pages. I thought i was losing the audit trail detail all together. Can you clarify what actually gets deleted when you condense?
My understanding of this feature is that is wiped out the audit trail completely as of the date you ran the utility. and then the audit trail picked up again after that.
Apparently that is not what you’re seeing here.
Are you seeing transactions in the Audit Trail report dated on or before the date you ran the utility to remove it?
What was the answers to removing the audit trail and there was still some left afterwards?
I read that if you are switching from the desktop version to the QB online version; the audit trail gets deleted as well. Is that true?
To clarify a bit – the audit trail file/report does not move over to QBO if an existing QB desktop file is being converted to QBO. The QBO audit trail picks up at that time.
Please keep in mind that as long as you have the QB desktop file, you’ll always have access to the historical audit trail report – that doesn’t go away. It just doesn’t transfer over.
Hope that makes sense…
Yes. So, in theory, if I condense the size on the QB desktop; then switch over to the online version, there will be no audit trail whatsoever?
When you go to condense the QB desktop file, QB will force you to make a backup copy of the file prior to the backup kicking off. That backup copy will still have the audit trail in it as it existed before the condense in case you need to look something up. Any backup done prior to the condense will have it as well.
If you choose the “remove audit trail” option when condensing (this is an option, not a “must do”), then the audit trail is removed from that file from that point forward.
Regardless of what option you choose during the condense of the QB desktop, the audit trail is then left behind if you take that file and convert it to QBO format. QBO starts with a clean audit trail.