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Level 1

Retained earnings - last year's

Our QuickBooks files were corrupted and had to re-install QuickBooks.  I need to enter last years retained earnings (a negative value).  I don't know how to handle this.  Journal Entry or what.

Thank you for any help I can get on this subject.


Not applicable

Retained earnings - last year's

Great to see you here, @wicklowgal,


I can share some insights about the Retained Earnings in QuickBooks Desktop.


I want to make sure I provide you the right resolution to your concern. I only need a few more information about this. When you say your QuickBooks files got corrupted, did it wipe off all your QuickBooks transactions? Any information you can provide will help us narrow things down.


Retained earnings are your company’s accumulated and undistributed profits over the years. QuickBooks automatically transfers your annual profits, as calculated in the Profit and Loss, to the Retained Earnings Account at the end of each reporting period, where they add to the previous year’s ending balance.


If you don't have a record of last years' data, you can create journal entries to correct your books. Before doing so, I'd recommend consulting an accounting professional to get the best legal and accounting advice for your business type.


To create JE's in QuickBooks, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the Company menu.
  2. Select Make General Journal Entries.
  3. Enter the transaction date in the Date field.
  4. Enter the General Journal Entry details.
  5. Click Save & Close.

You can also check this article to know more about the process: Record a Journal Entry.


Please update me on the outcome, @wicklowgal. I am always available to help you whenever you need me. Have a great day!

Level 1

Retained earnings - last year's


I have the retained earnings value. it is a negative value and can't seem to enter journal entry so it shows as a credit.  Minus value pops to a debit.  Is there a way to download one year from a backup?  Since we don't know when the corruption happened, I don't want to re-introduce the problem by using backed up data.  Just really want to know how to enter the correct retained earning for December 17.



Retained earnings - last year's

Hello there, wicklowgal.


Thanks for keeping us posted. I want this to be taken care of.


You can try verifying and rebuilding your QuickBooks software to fix your corrupted company file.


Before you proceed with the troubleshooting, please secure a backup of your company. Once done, you can now start to verify and rebuild your QuickBooks Desktop. 

To Verify:

  1. Click File at the top menu.
  2. Go to Utilities.
  3. Select Verify.

To Rebuild:

  1. Click File at the top menu.
  2. Go to Utilities.
  3. Select Rebuild.

Here's an article that'll serve as your step by step guide in resolving common data damage on your company file: Verify and Rebuild Data in QuickBooks Desktop.


If it does the same thing, you may need to get in touch with our QuickBooks Desktop Support​ for further investigation.


Here's how you can reach them:

  1. ​Sign in to your QuickBooks Desktop company.​
  2. Select QuickBooks Help.
  3. Click Contact us.

Otherwise, you can restore a backup to compare the information through the reports.

Here's an article to learn more about restoring backup in QuickBooks: Restore a backup of your company file.


Please let me know how it goes or if I can be of additional assistance. I'm always here should you have any follow-up questions or concerns.

Level 1

Retained earnings - last year's

Thank you for your reply.  We were in regular contact for awhile with help and support.  We finally decided to re-install QuickBooks again.  Everything works fine.  I am doing yearend and need to put in retained earnings for the prior year.  It has a negative value and when I make a journal entry retained earnings become a debit instead of credit.  Doesn't want to accept negative numbers under credit.  That is my problem, not the software.  I am asking for help in putting the correct Retained earnings.

QuickBooks Team

Retained earnings - last year's

Thanks for getting back to us, wicklowgal.


Putting a negative amount under the Debit or Credit columns of the journal entry is not necessary. QuickBooks automatically recognized the numbers as a debit or credit.


For more information about retained earnings, you can find the help articles by following these steps:

  1. Go to Help located at the top.
  2. Choose QuickBooks Desktop Help.
  3. Type the keyword in the search box.

Should you have other questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us. 

Level 1

Retained earnings - last year's

Having a similar issue to what you had last year.  Might you recall how you handled getting the previous year's retained earnings into your books? Did you end up doing a journal entry? Whatever you ended up doing, did it correctly carryover (as retained earnings) into 2020?

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