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Intuit

What to do if you didn't enter an opening balance in QuickBooks Online

Learn how to enter an opening balance after you already created an account to track transactions in QuickBooks.

When you create a new account in QuickBooks Online, you pick a day to start tracking transactions and enter the balance for your real-life account for that day. This starting point is the opening balance.

If you forgot to enter an opening balance when you created an account, don't worry. You can go back later on and create a journal entry to record it. Then you can get back to business as usual

Important: Only Use this method if you haven't reconciled the account yet. If you've reconciled it, or if you have questions, reach out to your accountant. This can get tricky and they know how to handle the next steps.

Step 1: Make sure you don't already have an opening balance

Before you go further, check your account register. Double-check that you don't already have an opening balance:

  1. Go to the Accounting menu.
  2. Select Chart of Accounts.
  3. Find the account and select Account history from the Action column.
  4. Search for an opening balance entry. It should have Opening Balance Equity in the Payee/Account column and Opening Balance in the Memo column.

If you see an opening balance entry, don't go further. Take note of the date and amount. Use your bank statements to make sure the opening balance is correct.

If you don't see an opening balance, write down the date and amount of the oldest transaction in the account.

Step 2: Create a journal entry

If you didn't see an opening balance entry, you don't have one. You can now create a journal entry:

  1. Select + New.
  2. Select Journal entry.
  3. Enter a date that comes before the oldest transaction in the account. This will be the opening balance date.
  4. Add a note in the Description field so you know what the journal entry is for.
  5. On the first line from the Account dropdown, select the account you want to enter the opening balance for.
  6. On the second line from the Account dropdown, select Opening Balance Equity.
  7. Use your bank statements to enter the opening balance. Enter the balance of your real-life account for the date you picked as the opening balance.
  8. Enter the debits and credits based on the type of account you entered on the first line.
    • Asset (savings and checking) and expense accounts: Enter the opening balance in the Debit column on the first line. Then enter the same amount in the Credit column on the second line.
    • Liabilityequity, and income accounts: Enter the opening balance in the Credit column on the first line. Then enter the same amount in the Debit column on the second line.
    • Accounts Payable: On the first line in the Name field, select the supplier you owe money to. Enter the opening balance as a credit to increase the balance. Or enter the opening balance as a debit to decrease the balance. Then enter the same amount in the opposite column on the second line.
    • Accounts Receivable: On the first line in the Name field, select the customers who owe you money. Enter the opening balance as a debit if you want to increase the balance. Or enter the opening balance as a credit if you want to decrease the balance. Then enter the same amount in the opposite column on the second line.
  9. When you're ready, select Save.

Step 3: Mark the journal entry as reconciled

Even if you haven't reconciled the account yet, you need to reconcile the journal entry. This prevents it from showing up on a future reconciliation:

  1. Go to the Accounting menu.
  2. Select Chart of Accounts.
  3. Find the account and select Account history from the Action column.
  4. Search for the journal entry you just created. Select it to expand the view.
  5. Select the box in the tick column until you see an R. This reconciles the journal entry.
  6. When you're done, select Save.

Now you have a journal entry for your opening balance. It's reconciled so QuickBooks won't count it twice. This should balance your accounts. You can now follow the usual steps to reconcile the account.

If your accounts still aren't balanced, here's how to fix opening balance issues.

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