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Level 2

Anonymising Customer Data

As required under the GDPR regulations, we are required to only hold onto customer data while there is a 'good reason'.  For us, our privacy policies means that we need to do an annual clean of our customer database - anonymising older customer transactions.


With a customer list running into many thousands, this is a huge task.  I read this:


and I have to say it is utterly unbelievable that QB does not provide a better solution to this.  This is SO labour intensive to be utterly unfeasible.


Currently I have to:


Step through my customer list one a time, checking the date of the most recent transaction.  If that is before a certain date, I have to anonymise that customer's transaction history.  This entails:


- Editing the customer entry to remove all personal details, and press OK.

- Editing the customer entry a second time to rename the customer.  I had been merging these all into 'Old Customer' as previously advised by Intuit, but there comes a point where something stops this happening.  No error messages, no warnings, just refuses to allow me to press the OK button with no feedback.  I see the advice has now changed and I'm supposed to use different names (e.g. DeletedCustomer1, DeletedCustomer2, etc.), all of which makes the process even slower.


If I don't do these two steps as separate tasks, all the personal data for the customer gets retained within the individual transactions (Invoices, Sales Receipts) etc - and I cannot find any report that will let me view the Billing Address details for example, so I can't find out where there is still personal data that will need additional work to clear out.


Even if I do these steps separately, any Shipping Address remains within each transaction, so I then need to run a 'Transaction List by Customer' report, make the Shipping Address details visible, and then go into every single Invoice, Sales Order, Sales Receipt and Credit Note (at minimum) and remove the Shipping details manually.


And then, the article linked above tells me there might still be personal data lurking in the Audit Trail.  How do I find this and how do I remove this?


All of these steps take time - I spent four hours yesterday just dealing with customers whose name begins with the letter 'C'. 


Instead, it could easily be a simple database management task that QB provides.  Perhaps a couple of configuration options, and a simple button press, should be enough to do this instead of taking hundreds of hours.


Does anyone have any better ways to deal with this please?

QuickBooks Team

Anonymising Customer Data

Hi EdinkillieSport,


Thank you for your detailed post and feedback on this.


Currently, this is the correct and only way to anonymise the customer data within QuickBooks, though we appreciate this can be a time-consuming feat for those with a large customer base. We'll pass your feedback on with our developers to ensure this is heard in hopes that an alternate procedure for this can be introduced. The audit trail is an automated feature which cannot be disabled and can be accessed by going to Reports > Accountant and Taxes > Audit Trail. 


Please get back to us below if you have any further feedback or questions on this. 

Level 2

Anonymising Customer Data

Thank you for the reply.  It is what I expected, and another example of truly dreadful decisions made by the UK development arm of Intuit over a period of years.  You've been aware of this issue since the GDPR regulations were first announced many years ago now, and have continued to ignore it.  I am amazed you remain in business given the utter contempt shown for customers.  I've stuck with QB for 18 years now - we nearly moved to Sage but couldn't find the time.  Should have done it then, time for us to move elsewhere now as you are consistently and completely uninterested in actually providing what customers require.  Your management team clearly work on the principle of understanding the cost of everything and the value of nothing...  I wonder what the ICO will have to say when I report the issue with personal data being stored in your audit trail and the lack of an option to remove it.

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