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How to delete an account or restore a deleted account

QuickBooks Online lets you make accounts inactive, especially those that are no longer in use. While you can’t completely delete an account already used in transactions, making it inactive ensures your transactions are intact, and your reports unchanged. You can restore inactive accounts anytime.

What happens to inactive accounts

Inactive accounts are removed from the Chart of Accounts, and other places where you can choose accounts. If the account contains transactions, they remain as part of your company data. You can find them through reports (the accounts are listed as “Inactive”).

When you make balance sheet account inactive with transactions, and the total amount of all those transactions is called "account balance." QuickBooks Online will auto-create a journal entry to zero-out that account balance. This is to maintain a balanced Balance Sheet. Making balance sheet accounts inactive with balances is not recommended, accounting wise. The accounts should be corrected to zero before making them inactive.

Transactions entered to deleted income and expense accounts can be edited or deleted when located and opened from reports.

Note: There are special and default accounts created by QuickBooks according to your company preferences. You can’t make these accounts inactive. Learn how to deal with these accounts if they’re no longer in use.

Make an account inactive

  1. Select the Gear icon at the top, then choose Chart of Accounts.
  2. Find the account you wish to delete.
  3. In the Action column, select the drop-down, then Make inactive.
  4. Select Yes to confirm.

Restore an inactive account

  1. Select the Gear icon at the top, then choose Chart of Accounts.
  2. Above the Action column, select the small gear icon, then check Include inactive.
  3. Find the account you want to make active again.
  4. Select Make active.

Error: Account used by a product or service

If you received the error "This account cannot be deleted because it is used by a product or service," you need to either change the account for the product or service, or delete the product or service (if no longer needed).

To change the account associated with a product or service:

  1. Select the Gear icon at the top, then choose Products and Services.
  2. Find the item. In the Action column, choose Edit.
  3. Change the account.
  4. To apply the change to already entered transactions, check Also update this account in historical transactions.
    Note: The option to apply a change retroactively only appears the moment users select the new/different account.