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

Learn what to do if you've been tracking transactions in QuickBooks for a while, but didn't enter an opening balance.

When you create a new account in QuickBooks Online, you pick a day to start tracking your business transactions. You enter the balance of your real-life bank account for that day everything matches from the start. This starting point is the account's opening balance.

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

Important: Use this method if you haven't reconciled the account yet.

If you've reconciled the account in the past, or if you have questions, connect with your accountant. This can get complicated. If you don't have an accountant, we can help you find one.

New to reconcilingStart with our reconcile guide.

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

Before you create a journal entry, go to your account register. Double-check that you don't already have an opening balance. If you add a second one, you'll count transactions twice.

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

MakeIf you see an opening balance entry, don't create a journal entry. Take note of the date and amount. Use your bank records and 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

Didn't see an opening balance entry? Time to create a journal entry:

  1. Select the Create icon ⨁.
  2. Select Journal Entry.
  3. Enter a date that's before the oldest transaction already in your account. You wrote this down in Step 1. This is your opening balance date.
  4. On the first line, select the account you want to enter the opening balance for.
  5. Use your bank statements to enter the opening balance. It should be the balance for your real-life account on the opening balance date:
    • For assets (savings and checking) and expense accounts: Enter the opening balance in the Debit column.
    • For liabilities, equity, and income accounts: Enter the opening balance in the Credit column.
    • For Accounts Payable: In the Name field, select the vendors you owe money to. Enter the amount as a credit if you want to increase the balance. Or enter it as a debit if you want to lower the balance. You can create separate lines for each vendor. The total amount should equal the opening balance.
    • For Accounts Receivable: In the Name field, select the customers who owe you money. Enter the amount as a credit if you want to increase the balance. Or enter it as a debit if you want to lower the balance. You can create separate line items for each customer. The total amount should equal the opening balance.
  6. On the second line, select Opening Balance Equity in the Account column.
  7. Create
  8. Write a note in the Description field so you know what the journal entry is for.
  9. When you're ready, select Save.

Step 3: Mark the journal entry as reconciled

Even though 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 Settings ⚙and select Chart of Accounts.
  2. Find the account and select View register from the Action column.
  3. Search for the opening balance journal entry you just created. Select it to expand the view.
  4. Select the box in the checkmark column until you see an R. This reconciles the transaction.Reconcile
  5. Select Save.

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

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

On-demand assistance.

Set up a live video appointment or message your QuickBooks-certified bookkeeper whenever you need help. Learn more about QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping.

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