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Enter and manage opening balances in QuickBooks Online

by Intuit Updated 3 weeks ago

Learn how to enter and manage an opening balance for bank, credit card, and other types of accounts.

To keep accurate financial records, you need to have an organised and accurate chart of accounts. An important part of this is to make sure any accounts that affect your Balance Sheet have an opening balance. This gives you a record of where the account started from.

We’ll help you understand the reason accounts have opening balances and show you how to enter and manage them.

Learn why opening balances are important

Your accounts in QuickBooks need to match the real-life bank and credit card accounts you're tracking. When you create a new account in QuickBooks, you pick a day to start tracking transactions. Then, you enter the balance of your real-life bank account for whatever day you choose. This amount and start date set the account's opening balance.

Pick an easy date to start your opening balance. If you just opened a new account at your bank, use the day you opened the account. If you've had the account for a while, start your opening balance on the same day as the beginning of your next bank statement. Whatever date you choose, use your bank statement to get the account's balance for that day.

Tip: QuickBooks tracks all of your opening balances for all of your accounts in an Opening Balance Equity account. This makes it easy to go back and look at what you entered later on.

Enter an opening balance

If you connect your bank and credit card accounts, QuickBooks automatically downloads your historical transactions up to a certain date. It totals them up and enters the opening balance and date for you. If you don't plan to connect your account, you can manually enter the opening balance. Here’s how: 

  1. Go to Settings ⚙ and select Chart of accounts (Take me there).
  2. Select New, then set up your account.
  3. In the Opening balance field, add the balance reflecting your bank or credit card account.
    Tip: Make sure you know the amount for your opening balance.
  4. Select the date you want to start tracking your finances in the As of field.
    Note: You can put a description in the Description field to add information about this account. 
  5. Select Save.

You can now start tracking new transactions in QuickBooks that come after the opening balance date. If you skipped opening an opening balance and have already been tracking transactions, here’s how to enter an opening balance later on.

Edit an opening balance

If you need to add transactions that are older than the opening balance, you need to edit the start date and balance. This sets a new starting point and prevents QuickBooks from counting transactions twice.

  1. Go to Settings Settings gear icon. and select Chart of accounts (Take me there)
  2. Locate the account and select Account history.
  3. Find the opening balance entry.
    Tip: Sort the date column to show the oldest entries first. 
  4. Select the opening balance entry.
  5. Edit the date, then the amount. If needed, select Edit to make your changes. 
  6. Select Save

If you're trying to edit an opening balance when reconciling an account in QuickBooks Online with your bank or credit card statement, see fix an opening balance to match a bank statement.

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