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Fix beginning balance issues in QuickBooks Desktop

SOLVEDby QuickBooksQuickBooks Enterprise Suite16Updated July 28, 2021

When you open the Begin Reconciliation window then select an account to reconcile, the Beginning Balance is zero or incorrect. This may be due to one of the following reasons:

  • No balance or an incorrect balance was entered when the account was set up.
  • Previously cleared and reconciled transactions were voided, deleted, or modified.
  • The file was converted from a different version of QuickBooks.
  • Possible data damage.

To correct a zero balance

Recreate the opening balance

If it is your first time reconciling the account, you can recreate the opening balance but this option is not available in the Begin Reconciliation window. However, you can create a journal entry then do a mini-reconciliation to correct it.

  1. Create a journal entry using the correct date and amount you want to see in the Begin Reconciliation window.
    1. Go to the Company menu, then select Make General Journal Entries.
    2. Change the date to the correct statement date of your beginning balance.
    3. On the first line, select the appropriate account from the Account drop-down.
    4. Enter the correct opening balance in the Debit column.
    5. On the second line, select Opening Balance Equity.
    6. Select Save.
  2. Do a mini-reconciliation to correct the Beginning Balance in the Begin Reconciliation window.
    1. Go to the Banking menu, then select Reconcile.
    2. Select the appropriate account from the Account drop-down.
    3. Enter the statement date and ending balance that match your Journal Entry.
    4. Select Continue.
    5. In the Deposits and Other Credits section, select the corresponding Journal Entry.
      Note: The amount shown for the Difference should now be zero.
    6. Select Reconcile Now.

To fix an incorrect balance

Correct edited, deleted, or cleared transactions

To find the transactions causing the discrepancy, run any of these reports:

Reconcile Discrepancy report

  1. Go to the Reports menu, then select Banking, then Reconciliation Discrepancy.
  2. Choose the appropriate Account, then select OK. You now have a list of transactions that were changed since the last reconciliation. Use this report to identify the transaction/s causing the issue.
  3. If you find a discrepancy, note the transaction date and the Entered/Last Modified, which will tell you when the change occurred.

Audit Trail report

  1. Go to the Reports menu, then select Banking, then Previous Reconciliation.
  2. Select the appropriate account being reconciled.
  3. Select the most recent statement date. Choose Transactions cleared at the time of reconciliation. (Report is displayed as a PDF file) then Display.
  4. Note the statement and the reconciliation creation date.
  5. Go to the Reports menu, then select Accountant & Taxes, then Audit Trail.
  6. Set the Account filter to the account being reconciled.
    1. Select Customize Report.
    2. Go to the Filters tab, then choose Account from the filters.
    3. From the Account drop-down, select the appropriate account.
  7. Go to the Display tab. Set the Date filter with the From field blank and the To date set to the statement date.
  8. Select OK.
  9. Set the Entered/Modified filter with the From date set to the previous reconciliation creation date from the PDF, and the To field as today's date.
  10. See if any of the transactions in the report can account for the discrepancy.

Previous Reconciliation report

Note: If you are using QuickBooks Desktop Pro, you can only access the last reconciliation report. To keep a copy of the other reports, you can save a PDF copy on your hard drive. See view previous bank reconciliation reports to learn more.
  1. Go to the Reports menu, then select Banking, then Previous Reconciliation.
  2. Select the appropriate Account and Statement Ending Date. Select Display.
  3. Compare this report to past statements from your financial institution.

To correct the discrepancy, you may need to re-enter or edit the transactions. You can also try one of the following options:

Undo a previous reconciliation and redo it

  1. Back up the QuickBooks company file.
  2. In the Begin Reconciliation window, select Undo Last Reconciliation.
  3. When prompted, select Continue then OK.
  4. Close and reopen the Begin Reconciliation window.

Ignore the discrepancy and let QuickBooks enter an offsetting adjustment

Although you didn’t get a zero difference, select Enter Adjustment to complete the reconciliation process. QuickBooks will automatically enter a Journal Entry under a special expense account called Reconciliation Discrepancies. You can check and edit it as needed by going to your Chart of Accounts.

If you need to locate the Journal Entry, you can:

  • Use the Find feature:
    1. Go to the Edit menu, then select Find.
    2. Go to the Advanced tab, then choose Memo from the filters.
    3. Type Balance Adjustment, then select Find. Any balance adjustment will be displayed.
  • View the Previous Reconciliation report.
    1. Go to the Reports menu, then select Banking, then Previous Reconciliation.
    2. If a balance adjustment was made, you will see a General Journal Entry at the top of the report under the Cleared Transactions section.

Contact your bank about a banking error

Contact your bank if the discrepancy is caused by a banking error that appears when you download or import transactions. For proper assistance when contacting your bank, ask for a bank representative familiar with QuickBooks Bank Feeds and account activation.

Understand limitations when converting from other versions of QuickBooks

Since reconciliation works quite differently in QuickBooks Desktop for Mac and QuickBooks Online, some transactions may get unreconciled which affects your opening balance.

Fix possible data damage

Occasionally, your data file may be damaged or corrupted. To fix the problem, you can try these basic data damage troubleshooting steps on your company file.

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