Since we specialize in accounting database consulting, we’ve seen tens of thousands of data problem cases over the years. You can boil them down to three categories:

1. Lurking data problems. In these situations, everything looks OK to the user in their daily use of QuickBooks. They can enter bills, run reports, do payroll, and backup their company without incident.

But there is a hidden data corruption problem lurking in their database. It won’t be uncovered until a process is attempted that systematically accesses their whole file; in particular, when they try to upgrade to a newer version. That’s when it fails — when QuickBooks basically touches every piece of data in the file.

Running verify and rebuild can detect many of these kinds of problems in the file. When rebuild cannot fix the corruption, most of the time the file can still be repaired.

2. Function-specific data problems. In this scenario, there is one part of QuickBooks that fails, and it fails every time you try it. For example, there was some data we repaired recently where if you accessed one particular invoice, QuickBooks would crash. (It turned out to be a problem with an “inventory loop” in the data and there would have been other ways to crash the file, but the user hadn’t encountered them).

Some people think that they can limp by in this scenario and they basically try not to provoke QuickBooks into crashing; they avoid the problem area. That is living a bit dangerously, I think. Better to either restore a backup made prior to the problem occurring (sometimes difficult to do) or else get the data repaired.

3. In-your-face data problems. These are obvious. You cannot open your file. Or you open it and as soon as you try to enter any kind of new transaction, it errors out and closes the program. Or your customer or vendor list simply vanishes.

This situation usually results in a crisis if there are no good current backups available. And this often (it seems) happens at the worst possible time — when payroll is supposed to be run, for example. Nothing like a bunch of employees coming by your desk to pick up non-existent paychecks to get your adrenaline going!

If you have a good current backup in that situation, you can restore it and go on with your business.

Have you encountered any of these three kinds of data situations?

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2 thoughts on “Understanding the Three Kinds of QuickBooks Data Problems

  1. One problem that we consistently run into, and no one in “Quickbooks Land” has been able to give us useful answer, is zero balances in AR, AP and perpetual inventory reports. That is, how do we filter these reports to eliminate account balances that are zero (0)??

    If anyone out there has been able to do this, any workable suggestion would be highly welcome.

    Thank you

  2. Bruce, you can go in to Modify Reports and play with the filters. The A/R and A/P Aging reports default to not showing zero balance accounts (the Paid Status filter is set to “Open”), so you must be referring to other reports…


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