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Restructuring our Customer List

I provide IT support for an HVAC contractor that has been using QuickBooks since 2007.  During that time they have added over 13,000 customers and jobs to the Customer List, occasionally taking the Customer:Job relationship to the full five levels permitted.  The Customer List has become a confusing morass of different structures.  For example, many customers are repeated, such as when a customer owns multiple rental properties.  Many commercial clients need to be restructured to reflect the way those clients do business (e.g. different divisions).


About 50% of our customers are considered inactive, with no transactions in five years.


We would like to do a reset, setting up a new company within QuickBooks Enterprise, carrying over all of the company to the new file and performing a condense to eliminate all transactions for the 2007-2019 period.  The old company file would then be utilized purely for historical data, while the new company file would cover 2020 and beyond.


The one exception to the creation of the new company file is the Customer List.  We would like to export the list from the old company, apply the needed structural changes to the list off-line and delete all the inactive customers, then import the slimmed down Customer List into the new company.  We would also need to relink the transactions for any renamed customers.


I am unable to find procedures within QuickBooks to allow us to perform this “Create a new company using everything except Customer List” procedure.


Can you direct me to the proper steps to take? Is there a better solution than I have outlined to allow us to restructure a significant number of customers and jobs without having to make these changes manually?

1 Comment 1

Restructuring our Customer List

Thanks for coming here with us, photofreshusa.


I'll be laying a few options on how you'd like to handle this situation. When you decide to create a new company file and start fresh, you'll want to consider the using the Condense Company Data option or create a new file from scratch.


The Condense Company Data deletes all your transactions except your lists. This process makes the data file smaller by summarizing old closed, detailed transactions.


Before deciding to condense your company file, here are the things you need to check:

  • You have a large data file.
  • You are nearing a list limit.
  • You have upgraded all your hardware.
  • Your accountant and your technical support have discussed other options and are willing to proceed with Condensing.

All of this information and more is also available in our guide on how to use the Condense Data utility in QuickBooks Desktop. Instructions varies depending on your version of QuickBooks. 


For the Customer List, you'll want to merge those Customer:Job list that has several old jobs underneath Customers as well as those inactive Customers to whom you no longer sell. Once you merge them, customers and jobs lose their identity. Be sure you have an archive copy with their individual history.


Here's how:


  1. Select Customer menu, choose Customer Center.
  2. Take note or copy the name of the customer that would like to keep.
  3. Right-click the name of the customer that you would like to merge, then select Edit Customer: Job.
  4. Replace the customer name with the one you took note of or copied, then select OK.
  5. A prompt will appear, select Yes to proceed with the merge.


Here's an article to learn more about merging customers including accounts and vendors: Merge Accounts, Customers, and Vendors.


If you want to create a new file from scratch, you can follow the instructions below:


  1. In the old file, go to File, then select New Company. Follow the wizard that appears.
  2. In the old file, export your lists. Open the files and clean them up by deleting inactive or no longer needed list entries. See Export or import IIF files for steps to export your lists.
  3. Import the cleaned files into the new file. See IIF Overview: import kit, sample files and headers.
  4. Set up the opening balances. Go to the QuickBooks App Store to find utilities that will do this for you.

For  more information about managing your data in QuickBooks Desktop, kindly check out the link. 


If there's anything I can help you with, feel free to drop me a reply below. Hope you have a good one.

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