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Fix beginning balance issues during your first reconciliation in QuickBooks Online

Learn how to review your beginning balance.

If this is your first time reconciling an account and the beginning balance is off, don't worry. The issue is probably the opening balance. This is the account's starting point. It tells QuickBooks when you want to start tracking transactions and needs to match the balance of your real-life bank account for the day you pick.

When you correct your opening balance, you'll also fix most beginning balance issues. Here's how to fix opening and beginning balance issues so you can start reconciling.

New to reconciling? Start with our reconcile guide.

A beginning balance is the sum of all the reconciled transactions from your last reconciliation. If your last reconciliation was off, that means your beginning balance for the next reconciliation will also be off.

  • Someone entered an incorrect opening balance when you created the account in QuickBooks.
  • Someone adds transactions that are older than the opening balance and doesn't edit the original entry to reflect the change.
  • When you connect your accounts, QuickBooks enters the opening balance for you. Missing or duplicate transactions may affect the opening balance.

Step 1: Review the opening balance entry in QuickBooks

Double-check what you entered for the opening balance. Sometimes the opening balance doesn't include transactions that were still pending when you made the account.

When you create a new account in QuickBooks, you pick a day to start tracking transactions. You enter the balance of your real-life bank account for whatever day you choose. This starting point is the opening balance. We recommend setting the opening balance at the beginning of a bank statement. This makes your first reconciliation much easier.

  1. If you recently entered older transactions that come before your opening balance, here's how to reconcile them. Then continue with these steps.
  2. Select the Accounting menu, then select Chart of Accounts.
  3. Find the account on the list.
  4. Select Account history.
  5. Search for the opening balance entry. It should have “Opening Balance Equity” in the Account column.
  6. Make a note of the date and balance. If you forgot to enter an opening balance but you're already tracking transactions in the account, don't worry. Here's how to enter an opening balance manually so your accounts stay balanced.

Step 2: Compare the balance to your real-life account

  1. Sign in to your bank's website, or find your bank statement.
  2. Set your account so you can see the balance for the day you set as your opening balance date in QuickBooks.
  3. Compare the balance on your bank records to what you entered as the opening balance in QuickBooks.

If the amounts match, you entered the opening balance correctly. Move on to Step 3.

If the opening balance in QuickBooks doesn't match your bank records, edit it:

  1. Select the opening balance entry to expand the view.
  2. In the Deposit column, edit the balance so it matches your bank records.
  3. Select Save. Then select Yes if QuickBooks asks you to confirm.


Step 3: Review your account history

If you're reconciling an account for the first time, your opening balance entry will be already reconciled. No other transactions should be reconciled.

  1. Select the Accounting menu, then select Chart of Accounts.
  2. Find the account on the list.
  3. Select Account history to get more details.
  4. Scroll through the list until you find the opening balance entry. It should have an R in the tick column.
  5. Review the rest of the list. There should be a C or blank box in the tick column.
  6. If there's an R on any other transactions, select the box in the tick column. Keep selecting it until you see a C or blank box. Then select Save.

Next steps: Start reconciling again

Once you know your opening balance is correct, you can start reconciling again. If you still see a message saying your beginning balance is off, here are other things you can review.

If you’ve followed everything in our reconcile guide but still have questions, connect with your bookkeeper. They can help get your reconciliations back on track.

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