QuickBooks: Enter opening balances for customers and vendors

The method you use to enter opening balances for customers and vendors will depend on whether the balances existed before your QuickBooks start date, or if they were acquired after the start date. Use the method that best fits your situation.

Detailed Instructions

Small-Business-Accounting-ServicesImportant: If you want to keep track of individual sales or bills that make up your customer and vendor opening balances, enter each unpaid invoice and unpaid bill instead of entering a total balance for each customer and vendor. The unpaid transactions will result in open balances for customers and vendors, and those balances will collectively result in A/R and A/P opening balances

For balances that existed before your start date, and that fall within this fiscal year:

  1. When you add customer and vendor names to your lists, the Opening Balance field is at the top of each new entry record. When creating a new list name, enter an opening balance amount with an As Of date equal to your start date.
    • The Opening Balance and As Of fields are only available when you first create the new customer or vendor record. These opening balance entries track to Uncategorized Income (customers) or Uncategorized Expense (vendors).
    • Alternatively, you can create an Opening Balance item and use this in invoices and bills to create opening balances for customers and vendors. The benefit here is that you can determine which account(s) you want these entries to rack to.

      Important: If you plan to set up jobs for your customers, do not enter an opening balance for the customer name. Instead, enter opening balances for the individual jobs. The customer name will reflect the total balance for all its jobs.

  2. When you enter opening balances for your customers and vendors, you are building the accounts receivable (A/R) and accounts payable (A/P) opening balances, respectively. If the customers or vendors have had activity since your start date, enter the additional transactions individually so that you have detailed financial information from your start date forward.
    • Note: If a customer or vendor was created without an opening balance, you can still enter an opening balance transaction for them using the standard QuickBooks forms and your company start date. Please see the information below about balances acquired after your start date.

For balances acquired from your start date through today:

Use the standard QuickBooks forms to enter individual transactions that have occurred since your start date. This ensures that your A/R and A/P accounts, along with your income and expense accounts, are accurate and up-to-date. The following transactions types should be entered with the standard QuickBooks forms:

  • Invoices and sales receipts (with sales tax, if appropriate)
  • Customer returns
  • Customer payments
  • Deposits
  • Sales tax payments
  • Vendor bills
  • Vendor credits
  • Bill payments

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